Travel photography with a different perspective | Tech US News


Travel photography is perhaps one of the broadest genres of photography due to the fact that it overlaps with almost all others. It covers a wide range of shooting styles and shooting scenarios to fulfill a simple goal, which is to illustrate and tell stories about a place. Because a particular place is always made up of several intersecting dimensions, there is no single approach or style that encapsulates travel photography.

Following a normal tendency to generalize and oversimplify, there are several definitions of travel photography that start from common iconic photographs that unofficially represent the genre. These photographs and others like them have shaped how people typically perceive travel photography. Travel portraits and environmental portraits are perhaps the most popular because of how they begin to tell stories about the people and culture of a particular place. Street and documentary photographs talk about how people interact with their surroundings, whether rural or urban, and illustrate activities that embody and represent their culture. Landscape photography is also commonly labeled as travel photography due to the obvious fact that most landscape photographers travel quite a distance in order to shoot. It’s also noteworthy that many people tend to confuse travel photography as a nicer term for vacation photos, typical of what we tend to see on social media.

The essence of travel photography

Considering all of the above examples, most of which are valid, travel photography is obviously much bigger and broader as a genre than most people realize. The wrong definition of travel photography oversimplifies it to just taking photos while traveling, which (in my opinion) doesn’t do justice to the impact of travel photography in educating people about culture, history, and even social issues and environmental

The true essence of travel photography is in the ability of a photograph (or a set of photographs) to tell stories, document and even immortalize the culture and history of a place and the people who inhabit it. Whether you are photographing the most remote island inhabited by isolated people, or a city driven by commerce and innovation, the place, its people and how they interact will always have an infinite amount of stories to tell.

Personalize your travel photography

Given how broad travel photography can be, there are several reasons why your approach should have a personal touch. This is especially true when doing travel photography as a hobby or if you are given significant artistic freedom on assignment. Most of the time we travel with little time to see and experience everything about a place, so our output will also be limited. How much we are able to cover so many aspects of a place depends on our own strengths and limitations, as well as our personal interests and biases. If you normally lean towards taking portraits or capturing candid moments, your advantage will be within the same approach. Some photographers tend to stick to photographing landmarks and landmarks as that is what interests them among the multitude of subjects within the location. As with other photography jobs, it’s a good idea to start with aspects of the task where you can perform best.

For me in particular, since I prefer shooting landscapes and photographing architecture professionally, the focus of my exploration of a particular city is the same. I recently took a quick trip to Singapore, which I’ve visited quite a few times in the past. Hoping to explore the city more than just looking for cityscape views, I spent quite a few days wandering around architectural photography. This was fueled by the satisfaction that Singapore’s buildings have been built around smart urban planning that makes it surprisingly easy to photograph without having to deal with clutter or obstacles.

Relevance of architecture in travel photography

Following the objectives of travel photography, there is much that photographing the architecture of a place contributes to illustrating and telling stories about its people, culture and history as a whole. Usually, even in the most well-developed and even futuristic cities, you will still be able to find preserved architecture from past generations that is relevant to the history of the place. Most of the time you can easily find old “remnant” architecture in government buildings such as city halls, post offices or other related structures. Some places in the world also do a good job of preserving the traditional architecture of their residential spaces and have turned those houses into functional showcases. These structures offer a good mix of the architectural history of the place and reflect the most modern use of this type of space.

Depending on where you are visiting, you may also find a number of modern buildings that represent the state of development of a place. While Singapore is particularly known for its rapid development and innovation, the abundance of this newer building definitely varies depending on where you are. In most cases, a good way to photograph the relevance of architecture in the culture of a place, as well as to give a good view of how drastically the place has changed in terms of modernization, is to photograph the old and the new together. The juxtaposition of structures, buildings, or other visual elements in photos that represent two or more different periods in time is a great way to characterize the place and tell stories about it.

An approach to exploring architecture while traveling

If you’re someone who likes to simply walk around a place with camera in hand, this approach to travel photography may be familiar to you. Most often, a “photo walk” when traveling is done using standard zoom or zoom lenses. However, hoping to photograph the architecture and how people interact with these significant structures, I walked with a wide-angle shift lens. Hoping to be mobile and able to adjust to available slots, I mounted the Laowa 15mm f/4.5 shift lens on my Sony a7 IV. Although I was quite equipped for a cityscape shot later in the day, a nimble but flexible approach is to use the fast exposure to maximize what I can do afterwards with the raw files. I either shot single frame sequences with the lens shifted to get the right perspective and scale, or I shot multiple bracket exposures while moving the lens to shoot shift pans. This non-ideal process for photographing architecture follows an ideal approach to photography while traveling.

Travel photography is often much bigger and much broader than most people realize. A place is composed of so many different factors formed by people, places, activities, creations and the interaction of each and every one of them. Being flexible with your travel photography means being able to take the approach that best suits your interests and strengths. Your goal is to tell stories, and the most crucial step in doing so is finding what interests you so that you understand the story you intend to tell.


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