Travel Photography with our tutor Ben Quinton
The desire to photograph travel, to document a trip or a holiday, is one of the main reasons that we see students first come along to our London Digital Photography Courses. In this article Photoion tutor and professional photographer Ben Quinton gives his notes and advice on travel photography.
I’ve been lucky enough to have done a few travel stories now for different magazines. Many people think it’s the easiest job ever, but it isn’t always that way.
About a year ago I was sent to Croatia, Slovenia and Italy to shoot a story for Monocle on the Mediterranean coastline, with a specific focus on Slovenia’s since it is the shortest in Europe at about 43km. I had a phone call one morning, and it quickly became apparent that there was pretty much no real brief, just that we’d be doing a road trip up the coast and they wanted it to look that way.
Great! Well actually it made me panic a little. The great thing about getting a strong brief is you know exactly what shots you need to get, and you can work through them like some kind of photographic to do list. No brief for me meant more room for getting it wrong and coming back with the wrong kind of images. I thought to myself, “Never mind, the writer will know what the story is!” Well he didn’t, we both had rough ideas, and we were largely going to decide on the story as we went along.
A day into the trip we realised that the story should be looking at the economic importance of the Slovenian coastline, home to one of the Adriatic’s largest and busiest cargo ports, but also important due the fishing and tourism industries. This was a relief and gave me something to work around. I started to think up things to photograph based around that subject – tourists, fishermen, ports, ships, markets etc. In the end we managed to get all the shots we needed, all thanks to the tick list.
A common misconception is that people think that travel photography consists of lost of lovely landscapes and no people. People in photographs sell magazines, but they also bring life to the landscapes. When you go on holiday what makes it so special? Often or not its the people, the food, the music in the evenings. With summer fast approaching I’ve put some tips below for travel photography and throughout this blog you will find some of the shots from my story.
– Try to think about photographing the locals, some candid shots but also some portraits, always remember to ask though!
– What is it that helps create the atmosphere of where you’re staying? Maybe it’s the market or the local taverna where some of the local men sit all day? These places often make for great photographs?
– A good excuse to have a nice meal is to photograph it. Now unless you want a cold meal, the key is to prepare for these shots. Find a nice wall or something near where you’re sitting, get you settings right and then when the meal comes out take a few snaps then tuck in!
– Tourists, often infinitely more fun to photograph than the sites themselves. Think about how you can included them in your landscapes. Including people often allows the viewer to imagine themselves there themselves.
– Details; one element often missed. Maybe photograph those beautiful flowers left in your hotel room, or some fresh fish straight from the harbour, or that ice cold beer with the sun setting behind it?
– Get up early. If you’re on holiday with the wife or family and during the day your busy out with them, getting up early can give you some time to yourself to go out and take pictures. Also you get to make the most of the beautiful morning light.
– Lastly, make a book. Now it’s easier and cheaper than ever to turn your holiday snaps into a lovely book. Print on demand companies like Blurb let you download their software for free. The results are often stunning, and its a much nicer way to remember an amazing holiday than just sticking them on Facebook.
So there you have it, some excellent advice from Ben to get you started with mastering the art of travel photography. If you would like to learn more about this or any aspect of photography then we have a wide range of beginner, advanced and specialised photography courses available. Please click HERE to view our courses.