How to improve your travel photography
1. Shoot Often
Something that I feel is a must when aspiring to create great photography is shooting as often as you can. After all, photography is 99% failure and 1% success. It was Gary Winogrand whom first installed the notion in me that to create something great you have to put in as much time as possible. Winogrand himself was a prolific American photographer who at the time of his death in 1984 left behind 300,000 unedited images, which is astounding considering he only worked with film photography. The best way to sum up this point would be "Click Click Click".
2. Immerse yourself in the environment
In any creative practice it is essential to immerse yourself fully in order to make something beautiful. With photography, one of the best ways I've found to do that is to read books. Non fiction books about the place you're photographing or fiction books set in that space, offer a fantastic insight into how life in that area is lived. You can also look at local art, eat local food and listen to local music. All these things make you feel more connected to that place and the people who live there. This blends in nicely with my next point....
3. Befriend the locals
Whenever staying somewhere new I always try to make friends as quickly as I can. Connecting with people is one of the key things that attracts me to photography and the two go hand in hand. The better you know a person the more likely they are to be comfortable with you photographing them or their home. I'll never forget when I was staying in Cape Town, I went to explore Bo-Kaap (a spectacular colourful neighborhood) and chanced across some local children. We talked for for a while and eventually I began taking photographs. Some of the shots I took that day are my favorites from South Africa and I owe it all to the connection of friendship.
4. Climb high to take your landscape shots to the next level
The fishing is best where the fewest go and the best landscape photographs are found up high. Whether you're on a mountain top or at the tip of a skyscraper, a powerful landscape photograph needs depth and interesting content, both can be found when you're hundreds of feet above everything. This new perspective is one that allows you create memories as well as stunning photographs.
5. Transend the norm by focusing on tones
When creating black & white photography it is vital to focus on the grey tones between each end of the spectrum. Doing this will allow you to capture a moment that Transcends the norm. A good way to do this is to focus on things that are naturally grey, black or white. I find that skin, fur and feathers are fantastic at creating these grey tones that really bring a black & white photograph to life.
6. Always keep your creative eye open
You never know where the next great photograph will come from, it could appear; in a window, by a temple or just in plain sight. This relates to our first point of always shooting as much as you can and being ready to catch the unexpected moment that lurks within everyday life. This is particularly relevant when photographing on the street or when exploring new places. You never know where your next phenomenal picture will come from so keep you your eyes open and your lens cap off!
7. Focus on colour
Something I've noticed a lot of when travelling is the abundance of colourful; buildings, streets and people. Any of these make for the ideal subject matter when you're out and about on your latest adventure. However, capturing a great colour photograph does take some creative flair, we see the world in colour so to create a great colourful photograph try to avoid the obvious. Two photographers who have mastered the art of capturing colour photographs are Alex Webb and Steve McCurry. I'd highly recommend looking at their work for inspiration.
8. Mix it up by adding movement
Movement is an element that can add depth & meaning to your photographs and almost Transend the static moment. However, adding movement to photographs is an art in itself and is something that requires the patience to find the correct shutter speed. I have found that when I add movement to my images it allows them to tell a story solely by themselves. Now you may want to use a tripod to get the rest of the image crisp but you can still get fantastic results using your hands.
9. Say Yes to new things
Whether it's a brand-new adventure or trying out a new piece of photographic equipment. Saying Yes to your life and trying out new things will push you past your comfort zone and inspire you continually. It is the thrill of the next river boat trip or saving up to buy a new lens that will keep your focus on creating new great new travel photography. This will also get other creatives excited to see what you will create next and can open up a multitude of new opportunities for you.
10. Never be satisfied
Our final point is a reminder to never let that creative flame die out. Once you've started to find joy in travel photography it's important to; stay up to date with the most recent photographers, create new work and to always strive to capture another moment. Photography for me, is a way to express how I see the world and share it with others. It's something I grew to love as a boy and is something I will continue to chase as a man. So, with these parting words, I encourage you to go out and create some beautiful photographs.