People have been taking travel and vacation pictures ever since more portable and less expensive cameras became accessible to the general public. Those early vacation slideshows were not always greeted with enthusiasm by those who’d been buttonholed to watch them. In fact, you’ve probably seen a cartoon or two about the dreaded vacation slideshow. Well, things have changed tremendously since those early days, and today’s slideshows can be both entertaining and dramatic.
The first thing to know about taking pictures on your next vacation is that they should tell a story. They should be about more than “…and here we are at the Grand Canyon; and here we are at… .” You want to capture the variety and details of your trip from beginning to end.
You might start your story with the vacation preparation—maybe some photos of the family gathered to look at maps and guide books or a shot of packing with the inevitable overloaded suitcase. This could be a good time to add some humor to your photography.
While you’re traveling you want to look for the details that will bring back memories of the adventure long after you’ve returned home. Think about the questions that you’ll get from friends about your trip. How was the weather; what was the food like; did you meet any interesting people? The beauty of photography is that you’ll be able to show people the answers to those questions. These kinds of photos will help family and friends to get a better sense of what your travel experience was like.
To accomplish all this takes a little planning. Think about the different types of photos you’ll want to shoot. To keep it interesting you’ll need variety, both in types of images and shapes—don’t forget to take some verticals. Map out the kinds of photos you’ll need to take to be able to tell your story.
These shots are called establishing shots in the movie business. They show the whole scene and help give the viewer a sense of place. A NIKKOR wide-angle lens is perfect for this type of image.
Capturing some details or close-ups of the things you see will add a lot to your storytelling. Use your NIKKOR macro lens or a NIKKOR zoom to get in close on your subject whether it’s architecture, a marketplace, flowers and nature or even plates of food at a local restaurant.
Just as good writing has transitions, so to does a story told with photos. They help to move the viewer from one location or event to the next. Think about what these transition shots might be. Perhaps a train station, an airport, a tour bus or maybe just a pile of luggage waiting to be loaded in a taxi.
Don’t forget to take pictures of people during your travels, not just the people you’re traveling with, but those you meet along the way as well. They add interest to your photos, especially if their culture and clothing are very different from your own.
It’s always good form to ask permission to take someone’s picture, especially when you’re visiting a different culture where you might not know what is acceptable and what isn’t. Not everyone likes having their picture taken, and while most people will say yes to a photo, if they say no you have to respect that. When language is an issue, smiling and a little pantomime of picture taking will usually get your point across.
If you do a little planning ahead of time and concentrate on telling your travel story you’ll not only make your slideshows more interesting, but you’ll also come away with better photos.
Now You Know