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How To Get More Than Just Snapshots From Your Travel Photography

Are your travel photographs usually just snapshots of interesting places you visited?

Would you like your travel photographs to show more than just beautiful views?

I have come to think of holiday photographs as more than just a memory to show family and friends. Like street photography, they tell a story of a time and a place, and of the people who were present in that time and place!

This photo is more than just an image of a travelling companion: it also aims to tell a story, to include a number of elements that speak of the place being visited.

When I look back at my previous travel photographs I can place them into two categories. Category one is the holiday snapshots, lots of them, of people and places, smiling faces, various poses, simply taken to look back on some day and say, 'remember when...?'

Then there is category two. Far fewer in number, they are the photographs that tell a story of a moment in time, a moment when the elements lined up to create a narrative that can still be read in those images today.

These are the type of shots I want to take more of in the future. I want to experience amazing moments, and if I capture just a small fraction of these moments on camera I will be very happy.

I happened to look out from a restaurant in Assisi and saw this beautiful sunset. I grabbed the camera and just managed to get this image. A few moments later and the opportunity would have been lost to me forever.

In telling stories I like to take photographs of moments in time, particularly moments that are fleeting. Famous buildings have been immortalised by cameras everywhere but they remain basically the same for each photographer. This scene of a late afternoon gondola ride in Venice is a once off. These people and these objects are very unlikely to be together in exactly the same way again.
Some places deserve to be immortalised in a picture. It's important to have some device at hand to seize the moment.
It's always fascinating to capture an aspect of the cultural heritage of a country when visiting.

On my recent visit to Auschwitz I was struck by the important place which photography played in recording the horrors of that time and place; scenes showing the raw emotions on faces of men, women and children depicting the sheer hardship and misery endured by thousands of people. Through these photographic exhibitions, displaying countless horrific images, a vivid and heartbreaking picture is evoked for visitors of today. It felt right just to let these photographs tell the story without taking additional photos as a tourist.

This picture tells its own story. My eye is drawn to the setting sun which seems to bathe everything in a pink glow.

Having a camera phone at hand ensured the capture of this image, the World War 1 trenches outside Ypres, where the reminder of that terrible bloodshed co-exists today with the spontaneity of nature.

Travel presents numerous opportunities to practise photography rather than simply take snapshots. If you start with a vision, an idea of the story you want to tell with your photography, your travel images will have a purpose and meaning as well as provide memories of the places you have visited.


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