People go on vacation and take pictures. It’s what you do. It’s simply what vacationers do when they travel to exotic, never before seen places. Photography is an amazing phenomenon that we take for granted in the 21st century. The way we are able to harness a memory by simply capturing a blend of light and color with a machine is truly amazing.
However, there are instances when this miracle of capturing light, falls short of our desires and expectations. Follow me on a short magic carpet ride through some tips that I have gathered in my travels around the world.
Traveling and shooting photos go hand in hand. Not only does it compliment your Hawaiian shirt and fanny pack, but it immediately pegs you as a tourist.
No. 1, accept the fact that you’re a tourist and embrace it with grace and intelligence. If someone throws you a skeptical eye, keep snapping on, but be smart and hold yourself with a certain level of discretion. You’re not going to buy the traditional garments of every nation to blend in, so you might as well avoid the headache trying enjoy documenting your experience. However there are some exceptions, which leads me to tip No. 2.
This point segues to my next tip. It’s a simple one. Several years ago, I was on the beautiful island of Sicily, Italy taking photos around a rustic, dust filled neighborhood. On the corner were two men drinking coffee. Not thinking anything bad of the calm situation. I snapped a quick photo of one of the men who happened to be looking my way just as I took the photo. Instantly he got up and walked toward me. A bit startled, I quickly erased the photo before he arrived. When he approached me I saw he was holding out his hand, he wanted money for the photo. I explained that it was gone and that he had nothing to fear. Nonetheless, he watched me intently as I scrolled through every single photo I had on the camera. Tip No. 3, if you get caught taking a photo of someone you shouldn’t be, erase it or give the subject of the photograph what they want in order for them to be happy.
Tip No. 4, pay attention to your surroundings. Look everywhere from every angle, you never know what could be waiting for you in the distance just a few feet away you. Timing is crucial. A moment in time is lost forever if you are not actively looking for it. This goes for foreground and background as well. Understand the dynamics of your depth of field and move to the best spot within your environment. By positioning yourself at just the right place, you can truly have your picture follow speak a thousand words.
Tip No. 5, call a friend’s name at the right moment for a dynamic candid. People look their best when they are doing something that they love or truly inspires someone. See your friend staring out over a beautiful landscape? Get your camera ready, call their name and snap the photo before they realize what just happened. I find that catching people with their guard down produces some of the most engaging photos. Often, people lost in thought seem to stare right into the camera with such intensity that I feel as though they can see my very soul. The feeling is contagious, yet hard to pull off consistently. Keep practicing, who knows what you will find within the eyes of someone you thought you knew.
When traveling, be respectful and mindful of where you are to the best of your ability. Enjoy your privilege as a photographer; heft that clunky camera around with pride. Use this machine wisely, knowing that not everyone can have the same opportunity as you to document the beauty of life. Keep on snappin’.
*All photos taken by Trevor Raven Foster, All rights reserved*
Written by Trevor Foster, Videographer/Photographer