Well, it’s not easy! I travel for limited amount of time at once and I can’t spend my whole trip looking for the perfect picture. My wife would kill me! When on vacations, we pack a lot to visit as we know that we won’t be back to that region/country for a while. I found that the best way to come back with decent original pictures comes from a few tips that I use for my vacations:
1. Do your homework
While I let my wife plan for the visits, before we leave, i do my homework. I ask her for where we are going to be and when, how many days we have in each place, the things we want to do etc. Based on that information, I look online (flickr is a great resource) for pictures of these places. I make a file with small versions of the pictures and a few notes about where it was taken and if possible time of the day (that you can find in the EXIF info). Also, when there are photos that I think are really worth taking I show them to my wife if we weren’t planning to go there. Most of the time when it is feasible, the picture sells the location and the change in plans.
2. Talk to other travelers
Depending on how you travel, you might get to meet more or less travelers (during transportation, at the hotel, restaurant, bar, or on location). They are often on the same track as you and many of them carry cameras. Start chatting with them, tell them about your plans for tomorrow, the day after and if they have been to where you are heading to, talk about your pictures, compliment them about their camera and in a shorter time than you would have thought, you will be reviewing their pictures. Ask them about the pictures that you like, when/where they took it, get some specifics, even take notes and say that you would love a shot like this, you will definitely do it tomorrow … You will end up with new friends and many ideas for your own pictures once there. Offer them a beer for the great advice (your photography is worth it and will thank you).
3. Wake up early
Wake up early and reserve the sunrise and sunset times for pictures, these are great hours and just after sunrise, do some scouting for other spots.
4. Don’t forget about people
If you are not traveling alone, some of my best pictures were when i asked my wife to be a subject, even at a distance. If you are traveling alone, you probably have made friends already and talked about your photography, depending on your companion, ask them whether they could pause for you or better setup the photo for them and have them just press the button.
All in all, use these tips for your next vacation and your photography will thank you. If you are lucky enough and are traveling to New York, Citifari offers photo tours of NYC. We take you and show you the best spots for pictures and help you to get the most out of your camera settings for these shots. Check our tours at www.citifari.com!
Note: This blog post was written by guest blogger Sam Levy. Sam has a degree in engineering and a passion for photography. He was an early adopter of digital photography and his photography is regularly featured in the largest medias (CNN, New York Times, …) and exhibited in galleries in Soho and in the City.