Video: Travel Photography Tips - Shoot with a Purpose

Video: Travel Photography Tips – Shoot with a Purpose

The challenge with travel photography is that you may not get back to a location again anytime soon. So many photographers try and squeeze out as many photos as possible. The issue is lack of attention to detail and having any intentions or purpose before shooting.

What do you want your image to show?

Waiting for the right gesture, or even right subject to enter your scene is critical.

In this image shot in Trinidad, Cuba I found some amazing light skimming across the cobblestone streets. But it lacked something.

By waiting for a subject, the couple, to enter the scene it is more of a complete story.

In this video, photographer (and author of our Travel Photography Guide) Mitchell Kanashkevich gives you some great examples of how to shoot lots of images but end up with better results than just rapid-fire shooting.

Note: if you enjoy Mitchell’s style check out his best selling Travel Photography eBook.

The key points mentioned in the video are:

  • It’s not about shooting as many images as possible, but to shoot as many as possible with a purpose and intent.
  • Don’t settle for one or two shots from each scene. Get out of the mindset of needing to get the perfect shot in as few frames as possible. It’s not a contest.
  • Don’t spray and pray. Have an idea of what you want to capture.
  • Explore different framings and camera settings.
  • See how the light changes from different angles.
  • Experiment with different perspectives.

Another example

Here you can see some shots I took of two men deep in conversation in Cienfuegos, Cuba. But it still wasn’t quite what I wanted. The first (upper left) was too busy. The second (right) was more focused on the med but lacked context of the busy street scene. The third (lower left) shot from across is getting closer. 

Finally with the addition of the cyclist I had the shot I had envisioned. It shows context, has layers of activity, and interest. To me, it really speaks about daily life in a Cuban city. 

Do you photograph with purpose? Slow down and think about each frame you shoot. Be intentional.

And come home with great photos!

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Darlene Hildebrandt is an educator who teaches aspiring amateurs and hobbyists how to improve their skills through free articles on her website Digital Photo Mentor, online photography classes, and travel tours to exotic places like Peru, Thailand, India, Cuba, Morocco, Bhutan, Vietnam and more. To help you improve and learn she has two email mini-courses. Sign up for her free beginner OR portrait photography email mini-course here. Or get both, no charge!