What Type of Photography Will I Do When Travelling?
Updated: May 16
Main shopping area, Vila Real de Santo Antonio, Portugal
In a short time I hope to return to a family apartment in south-eastern Portugal.
I will be based in Vila Real de Santo Antonio, a traditional Portuguese fishing town built on the banks of the Guadiana river and overlooking the Spanish town of Ayamonte, which is a mere 10-15 minutes ferry ride away.
The town resembles Lisbon in many ways and is an ideal location for people watching, taking long, leisurely strolls and stopping to browse at the many small shops and market stalls.
I hope to visit Ayamonte as well as some of the neighbouring Portuguese towns such as Monte Gordo and Tavira along with the picturesque villages of Castro Marim and Cacela Vehla.
I travelled here last year without my camera, and relied on my phone camera for images. This year I hope to bring my small Olympus OM-D EM 10 Mark ii and two lenses as well as using my phone camera for backup.
The question I am asking myself is – what type of photography will I primarily be doing?
I will certainly take some tourist pictures of areas that I am visiting for the first time. These will be kept as memories or for showing to family and friends (if they’re interested!) but they won’t be part of my photography journey.
It is to continue to enhance my photography journey that I am considering the question,
What type of photography will I be doing?
1. STREET PHOTOGRAPHY
The narrow streets of Vila Real and surrounding towns are ideal for doing street photography; for capturing daily life as it happens around me and picking up on some of those intimate scenes involving local people.
Street markets, people going about their daily routine, human interactions, interesting or unusual activities, even eye-catching outfits will all be worth watching out for, as well as capturing people illuminated in pockets of light between buildings.
Street photography is a genre I really enjoy doing and the ability to visit several different places and observe daily living with my camera will present many new photographic opportunities.
In addition, street photography is not so much about technical perfection as about capturing what is true and real, and that is something that appeals to me.
Last year I took a short stroll each morning to this local shop to buy fresh bread, slices of juicy melon and oranges. It is a favourite place for local residents. I think this photo tells a story of a regular morning in this location
2. URBAN LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY
In my view this is a slightly different genre to street photography in that it allows me to include buildings and landscape features that represent the area that I am visiting and which is different from the area in which I live and where I normally photograph.
Urban landscape photography can include wide urban vistas, taken from a high vantage point, or intimate images of architectural features common to the region.
It can include busy streets or crowded markets, or feature an interesting building bathed in sunlight.
It can encompass the unique shapes, colours, patterns and textures which give a flavour of the local architectural style or it can be an image from a low perspective using the interesting cobbled streets or tiled paving as foreground interest.
The main square in Vila Real
3. GENERAL LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY
This region of Portugal is rural as well as urban and has beautiful coastal areas where there are many opportunities for general landscape photography, and Vial Real has a great marina with lots of one of my favourite photography subjects, boats!
There will again be a variety of options including wide angle shots of seascapes, riverside scenes and buildings in the context of their landscape.
There will also be intimate landscape shots to be found in many locations, as well as opportunities for some abstract images, and I relish the chance to explore and discover something different.
Vila Real marina
4. DOCUMENTARY TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY
Documentary travel photography may well be a combination of the above genres of photography.
Essentially, this is different from travel snapshots in that it is an attempt to document or tell the story of the location through images. However, it isn’t confined to any particular genre and, in a sense, anything that helps to tell the story and capture the essence of the place is acceptable in documentary travel photography.
Traditional style church in Ayamonte, Spain. I think the inclusion of a person descending the steps might have improved the image.
I recently wrote a post called 7 Tips for Documentary Travel Photography which you might like to read. Photos included are from a previous trip to Vila Real de San Antonio.
5. NIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY
Night photography is not something I have done a lot of, mainly because my entry-level camera is not really up to the task. However, since I now have a Google Pixel 7 Pro phone camera, with dedicated night mode, I am eager to see what I can shoot after dark.
I am looking forward to this photographic adventure and the images I bring home, and while I will mainly focus on the types of photography mentioned above, I will also give myself permission to capture anything else that catches my eye!