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Ah, summer! When life is sweet and vacations are (hopefully) a plenty. Whether you’re going for a short jaunt to a nearby locale or traveling for an extended stay abroad, you want to make pictures that show the region in the richest, most interesting way.
“You are what you eat and read.” ― Maya Corrigan
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Corey Rich on why photographers need to embrace discomfort.
But how do you do that? New York Institute of Photography’s (NYIP) online travel photography course can teach you how to take better photos of the people and places you encounter on any trip. Here are some tips to get you started:
1) Travel lightly and stay organized. Bring only the gear you need: a camera, lenses and portable lighting. Make sure you have more than enough memory cards (you may also want to consider a portable SSD to transfer your files to at the end of each day) or rolls of film so you can shoot freely. And use a bag that is lightweight and has plenty of compartments for you to use so you can stay organized as you photograph.
2) Know how to use your equipment. If you’ve got some new gear, test it ahead of time so you’re not fumbling with settings on location.
3) Research the place you’re visiting. Before you touch down, map out the points of interest you’d like to visit. But don’t feel pressured to stick to a schedule—serendipity is your friend. Strike up conversations when you can to learn about places you might not have found in your initial research.
4) Assess how much exposure locals have to cameras. Look around. Be curious. But approach people slowly if you’re unsure. Photograph objects and travel mates while at times also turning the camera on strangers. Move around a lot, so no one feels particularly singled out by your camera.
5) Treat your subjects with respect. Be upfront about your intentions, and don’t photograph people who don’t want to be photographed. Also, make good on your word: if you said you would send your subjects photos, do so. Being forthcoming and honest is a mark of professionalism.
6) Make formal portraits first and candid pictures after. If you want to make fly-on-the-wall images, it can be helpful first to ask someone if you can take his or her picture (doing so nonverbally, with body language, when there is a language barrier) and at some point, after taking those pictures, make candid images of them. Chances are people who give their okay once don’t mind when you photograph them again.
For photographers interested in learning more about travel photography and taking their skills to the next level, the New York Institute of Photography is a perfect next step. Their online photography classes teach students the skills needed to advance a hobby or start a new career. Learn online, anywhere in the world, and at your own pace with their fully accredited training programs.
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