Make the most of every moment
Even the keen travel photographer has to work hard to make the most out of a trip abroad. If you are juggling photography with a holiday then you will have to be even more efficient with your shooting time, and the old cliché about researching before you leave is all the more important.
Before your trip, look into the sort of places and things that are distinctive about your destination, but crucially look for the sort of things that really interest you. You should be aware of practicalities though, and what you can actually expect to be able to achieve.
There are certain things that are easy to get out and photograph on holiday. If you are staying at a beach, for example, then there are often fishermen nearby and thriving local markets selling seafood. Take a short walk down the beach at the right time, and you might be able to photograph fish being landed, sold and even laid out to dry!
Even in your hotel there might be great photo opportunities. Spend a little bit more and get a hotel with a good view. I have taken great shots from hotel rooms, and even the hotel bar. As a guest, you are more likely to be able to bag a table with a great view, and nothing is better than shooting cityscapes in the blue hour, from a great
alfresco bar, whilst sipping cocktails. Even the most photo-phobic partner would enjoy being a part of that!
There are, quite literally, potentially great pictures everywhere, if you only look for them. Eat in a quality local restaurant and photograph the food. Go on some interesting excursions and take shots of those. This might be the iconic sights of a country, ancient ruins or even expensive shopping streets. You can even shoot pictures from a family sightseeing cruise or a cable car.
Simple beach life can be an intriguing and sometimes quirky subject: just look at the work of Martin Parr! Try hard not to simply take the obvious shots, though. Imagine that you are walking down the beach with a friend; look for things that you would deem interesting enough to point out to them, and then photograph those. This is the key to creating meaningful and personal pictures.
Markets are always happy hunting grounds for pictures. Not only can you photograph piles of enticing local produce, but they are a fantastic place to find interesting faces and people to photograph. If you manage just an hour in a local market, then you should be able to come away with a couple of dozen great shots. If you also bring back a few ripe mangoes then you can also be a hero to your family!
Everyone loves sunsets, and there are plenty of opportunities for atmospheric sunset shots on holiday. Make sure to try to get a sense of place, though, by trying to silhouette something iconic about your destination against the setting sun. Don’t just point your camera at the sun though; one of the great things about sunsets is how they bathe the world in glorious golden
light. Whether at sunrise or sunset, always look out for things that are lit by the setting sun, and not just the sun itself.
If all else fails, then photograph other tourists. Wherever you go on holiday, you are likely to encounter them. They will often be strangely dressed, doing odd things, taking selfies in inappropriate places or crowding locals for pictures. This makes them the perfect subjects for an interesting and sometimes ironic image themselves!
LEFT Shooting in silhouette at sunset makes for iconic images that are free from the distractions that can commonly clutter up touristy areas
RIGHT Markets can be a photographic gold mine, not only for the rows of photogenic produce, but the characters that populate them too
RIGHT People going about their everyday duties can make fascinating subjects, such as these fisherman drying their catch on a beach
ABOVE Take advantage of local excursions to get you to places you otherwise wouldn’t – you may even find your mode of transport to be a suitable subject!