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Take Better Travel Photos by Using a Shot List

Updated on July 26, 2019
LuisEGonzalez profile image

I enjoy photography and have been doing so professionally and independently for over 30 years.

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CC0 Public Domain | Source | Source
CC0 Public Domain
CC0 Public Domain | Source

If you are lucky enough to be able to travel abroad a few times or better yet at least once per year and if you like taking photographs then perhaps making a shot list can enhance the experience and will more than likely let you capture a better array of views of the location.

In other words by having a shot list and sticking to it as much as you can you can end with much better photos.

First research the destination and look at as many images of it as you can with especial interest on the typical tourist destination.

For example if the destination features nice water scenes then add hem to your shot list but also add other water featuring locations that are not on the tourist brochure.

Even better if you can have manmade and natural occurring views of a similar subject, i.e scenes where water is present.

A good starting point is to show how water is used and wher it comes from; a pipe, a fountain, river or by bucket. | Source
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Public Domain | Source | Source

Second, if you are going to capture images featuring people then include all ages; adult, old and young, male and female.

Well dressed and in typical fashions, people at work, enjoying themselves and playing. Paint a whole picture for your viewers to get to experience what life is like at your chosen destination.

If photographing food then also include images of its preparation, its presentation and close ups to identify what the dish contains. Go for nice locations and less formal ones as well.

Street vendors and street cafes offer great venues for these types of shots.

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CC0 Public Domain | Source
CC0 Public Domain
CC0 Public Domain | Source

Don't forget to include shots of the architecture. Have some new construction, old construction, typical ones and modern ones as well. Include details so you just don't end up with pictures of the exteriors only.

Try new perspectives like low shots and close ups to make the presentation that much more interesting.

Include transportation methods especially if they are typical for the location like the street taxis or auto rickshaws of India, also known as tuk-tuks and the rickshaws at Old Hong Kong.

Include shots of movement in land and by sea like the Chinese type sailing boats and their quite intriguing mast/sail combinations.

Make sure to have a collection of shots featuring public and private means of transportation too. | Source | Source
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CC0 Public Domain | Source

Don't forget to show how commerce is done with especial interest in street bazaars or markets.

I have found these to be central points where daily life revolves and the variety of not only merchandise but plenty of almost everything is limitless.

The food selections are almost never ending as well but the interesting array of people that frequent and work there make for a photo adventure of its own.

Don't limit yourself to only daytime shots. Add some night shots to show a different view plus it can also show how nightlife functions there.

Make sure to include scenes of the landscapes. Wide views should be included but so should close ups to show more in depth details. | Source | Source
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CC0 Public Domain | Source

Of course if your place of travel features some icons like the Taj Mahal in India or the ruins in Greece or Rome, then by all means include them too.

However to separate yourself and your shots from the everyday ones taken of these icons use different and exciting perspectives and angles.

Try taking shots that you normally do not see in a postcard. The idea is to make a thoroughly photographed subject appear in a new "light". This is where your creativity will come in to play.

Since you are in a new place make it a point whenever you can to show images of the wildlife like the armies of rhesus macaque monkeys that make New Delhi their basecamp or the common Bovidae.

Do be careful. Many of these city dwelling wild creatures can carry disease so just watch how the locals interact with them.

Since you are doing wildlife also include some native flora. There are many species that only flourish at specific locations and your travels offer you a chance of seeing new specimens.

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When making a presentation of you travel portfolio for your friends or even for a commercial interest, select a few of the best from each category.

Do not overwhelm a viewer by showing a large number of flowers, or wildlife, or people.

Limit each selection to about three or four from one category and move on to the next.

This list is not exclusive. Make your own and keep in mind your limitations such as time, gear and accessibility to any one area. | Source

© 2016 Luis E Gonzalez


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