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Travel Photographs

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September 2010
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A good set of travel photographs of the place you visited will help you market your travel article. Travel photos will also assist in communicating your story, and can make it more entertaining. As well, a photograph can often tell the reader what words cannot. In this article, I will discuss the following aspects of travel photographs:

  • Types of cameras you can purchase
  • Types of picture formats
  • How to take travel photos
  • What to types of photographs to shoot
  • How to protect your digital photos
  • Submitting photos for publication
  • Tips for taking travel photos

Types of Cameras to Use

There are two types of digital cameras you can purchase: a point and shoot and a digital SLR. If you are a novice, purchase the point-and-shoot digital camera, as it is easy to use. Basically, to take a photography, all you need to do is select a subject, focus the camera, and snap the photograph. After taking the photo, you can view it on the LCD screen. If you don’t like the  photo, you can delete it. Otherwise, the picture will be stored on the memory card of the camera. Most point-and-shoot digital cameras can take good photographs, which can be enlarged to a size of 8” x 10”. A good point-and shoot-camera also has many creative features such as taking close-up, action photos, or landscape.

For a travel writer who is serious about taking good photos, the best type of camera is a digital SLR. It allows you to do everything that a point-and-shoot camera can do. But it also allows you to control the shutter, aperture, and exposure—three elements that will enable you to take creative photos. Another feature of the digital SLR is that you can interchange lens. You can use a macro to take close-up shots, a standard lens to take standard photos, and a zoom lens to take shots in the distance.

Ideally, you should buy both types of cameras. If one breaks, you can use the other as back up.

File Formats

Before submitting your travel photos, clarify with the editor whether to send them as slides, photos, negatives, film, or digital files. Presently, most photographs are saved, stored, and sent as digital files. The most common types of digital pictures formats are JPEG, TIFF, and RAW.

How to Take Travel Photos

There are many guidelines for taking memorable travel articles. If you are keenly interested in becoming an expert travel photographer, you ought to enrol in a travel photography course. It can teach you all you need to know. In this section, I will touch on only a few important guidelines.

First, before you take the photo, think about what you want to shoot, be sure to have a main point of focus or focal point. Secondly, fill the frame with the subject. You can do this by moving closer or by zooming in on the subject. Thirdly, eliminate mergers. These are distractions in the background. For instance, be sure that a branch is not protruding from a person’s head in the background. A good rule is to shoot photos of people where there is a plain background. Another suggestion is to change the angle of the camera for different shots. For landscape photos, you will often shoot vertically. For people, you will often take the picture horizontally. Finally, take photos of the same subject from different locations. For each new location, you will get a different perspective.

What Types of Photos to Shoot

With a digital camera, you can take a myriad of photos, without having to run out of film. Furthermore, you can view the picture after you take it. If you don’t like the photo, you can delete it and take another. The first suggestion about shooting travel photos is to take lots of them. The second suggestion is to take pictures that relate to your travel story. Another suggestion is to take photos that capture the mood of the destination, the people, the history, the architecture, and the setting. If you travel to a remote location or place that is difficult to travel to, be sure to also take lots of photographs. Finally, for each location you visit on your trip, be sure to take photos of the people, scenery, and mood of the place. The more photos you take, the better chance you will have of taking a memorable picture. Furthermore, the photographs will help you remember your trip. And my remembering vivid details, you can write a better travel article.

Protecting your Photographs from Damage

It is not sufficient to store your photographs on the memory card of your camera. If the camera is lost or stolen, you cannot replace your photographs. So for protection and safe keeping, back up your files on to the hard drive of your laptop computer. As well, store your files on a flash drive in case your laptop is lost, stolen, damaged. Finally, make note of the names of each digital file so that you know where it is stored

Submitting Travel Photos

Before submitting your photos for publication, be sure to find out what types of photographs you can submit. You need to know whether to submit black and white, colour, slides, photos on CD, negatives, prints, or digital files.

As well, don’t send large digital files of photos by email to the editor, because it will take too long to send by them over the Internet. As well, you might annoy the editor for slowing down his/her email access.

If you are serious about taking good travel photos to compliment your travel writing, you should build a website and display your photos there

Tips for Taking Travel Photos

  1. Learn how to use the features of your digital camera. To do this, read the manual for the camera and practise taking photos.
  2. Take a course on digital photography. You can find good courses on photography at a community college or university near you.
  3. Learn to see creatively. In other words, use the rule of thirds, change the angle of view, fill the frame, frame your shot, choose a focal point
  4. Shoot lots of pictures. Unlike a film camera, you can take photos with your digital camera, and then delete them if they are not appealing.
  5. Take photos that tell a story. Focus on the people, place, culture, history, scenery, and mood of the destination.
  6. Purchase a point-and-shoot digital camera and a good digital SLR camera with a 18mm-200mm lens. If you camera breaks, you have a backup. Moreover, the digital SLR allows you to take photos creatively.
  7. Store your digital photos on the hard drive of your laptop and on a flash drive. If you camera is lost, stolen, or damaged, you still have copies of your photos.


In the next post, I will discuss how to conduct research before going on your trip.


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