Photography didn’t interest me until we started our travel blog. I blame my own laziness for my lack of interest. I preferred observing, getting lost in my thoughts, and writing about our experiences in the comfort of our apartment. I was extremely lucky that my significant other/travel partner took an avid interest in photography. Our combination clicked and I always had a fantastic collection of pictures for the blog. His photographs also served as memory pointers for our trips. So far, so good. Well, things changed when we moved to Seoul, and I started exploring on my own. I couldn’t be lazy anymore or bark out orders. I needed to do the hard work myself. And, believe me, travel photography can be pretty rough for a lazy soul!

Now, if you’re looking for advice from an expert, might I warn you, this post will disappoint. This post doesn’t aim to educate you. It doesn’t have a technical know-how of shutter speed, lens correction, exposure time, raw images, and other photography jargon that you’d expect from a post like this. I assume the internet is flooded with ample material on the topic and I am no match for it. If you’re a professional photographer, you might have rightly guessed by now, this post would be a waste of your time. But, if you’re a newbie, like me, struggling to learn the tricks of travel photography, and are a little lazy to get lost in technical jargon: hang on. I think my observations might prove to be beneficial.

Fortunately, we’ve met some interesting kinds of travel photographers on our travel journey. It’s not always about the lens you know. It’s who’s behind it. And what they see  — when they’re looking into the lens. Essentially, a photograph is a capture of  a temporary moment in time or a photographer’s perception of what lies before the lens. Blink and you might just miss that moment!

After careful observation and trailing photographers for a reasonable amount of time, I think I might have hit the jackpot. These are the 10 qualities that every aspiring travel photographer must aim for. It won’t be easy. But remember: success favours the hardy.

1. Learn to perfect your balance.

2. Be patient for time to take its course.

3.  Be prepared to work with diverse subject material.

4. Willingly put your life in seemingly innocuous, but obviously dangerous situations.

5. Perfect the art of finding quiet corners — away from the herd.

6. Learn to step on toes if required.

7. Be prepared to risk expensive material for a shot.

8. Always be prepared for anything.

9. Resist the urge to be enamoured by nature and focus on the shot instead.

10. Keep up with the times and learn to take that ‘travel selfie’.


Posted by:twobrownfeet

Writer-Photographer Duo. Now in Seoul.

17 replies on “Learning the Tricks of Travel Photography

  1. All excellent advice. I also am not a pro, but increasingly I won’t muscle in to get ‘that view’. If it’s as famous as all that, there’ll be a postcard, or a view on the internet. And selfies? Nah. Never. But putting your personal spin on your travels, that’s what counts, and you do it so we’ll. Thanks.

    1. True. I’m lucky to have Basil do all the hard work when it comes to photography. I’m more laid-back and complacent. I’d rather enjoy ‘that view’ in silence. We weren’t into selfies either. And then we shifted to ‘selfieland’! Honestly, we’re terrible selfie clickers! But our family loves seeing us all silly and goofy on our trips. 🙂 So we reserve candid shots for them!

  2. And another one – practice makes perfect! It takes a lot of trial and error to gain experience in taking good photos…we may be newbies now but not if we take the opportunity to practice and constantly try to improve on our skills…;)

  3. Fun to read, Cheryl! I have no technical skills either, but I love to play with photography as part of my blog. I do draw the line at selfies, though – just can’t do it! Was it you or someone else who said they take photos of people taking selfies? That might be the only way I’d enjoy those people!

    1. We’re pretty similar! I shoot on instinct and just for the blog. 🙂 I think it could have been one of my posts you’re referring to. I do enjoy clicking pictures of travellers clicking selfies. 🙂 I wasn’t a selfie person and we’re extremely bad at clicking selfies. That changed since we moved here. We started clicking funny selfies for our family since we don’t see them for months/years! 🙂

  4. Great post. Very down-to-earth tips that photography sites don’t tell you about – especially if you’re a beginner. My favourite is “Learn to Perfect Your Balance”. I can truly identify with this little piece of advice. I remember that one time when I was doing a sunrise shoot on sloping wet, sand that had become exposed during low tide. While trying to shoot low and squatting precariously to get my eye on the view finder, one foot sunk into the sand. I completely lost my balance and I fell over backwards. My whole butt was wet. It was a most unbecoming sight. Luckily no one noticed as they were too engrossed in capturing the sunrise. 🙂

    1. haha..Helen, your travel stories never fail to amaze me! 🙂 I’ve had many awkward moments too. I completely get what you say. Hope you’re doing well. It’s always good to hear from you! 🙂

  5. That’s great that you are getting more into taking photos when you travel, and I see you’ve picked up a few key lessons already. People say “put your camera away and enjoy the moment,” but some people get enjoyment from taking photos! There’s always so much to learn, too.

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