Unusual holiday photo ideas
This post has some ideas of how to look beyond the usual clichés when you are travelling away from home. Anyone can turn up at a well-known viewpoint and bag a shot. But once you’ve done that, how can you inject a bit of interest into your holiday shots?
The key to interesting travel or holiday shots is to think like a storyteller. How will you tell the story of your visit? Will you photograph it as if you were working for a glossy brochure, only showing the best parts? Will you try and inject some humour, as if you were shooting for a friend stuck at home? Do you want to take a social responsibility angle, and document the effects of tourism? Are you recording family memories for a holiday album?
Shoot the journey
Getting there is half the fun. Document your transport and the time you spend hanging around waiting.
Document the food
You don’t need to make a song and dance about creating the perfect Instagram shot of your lunch, but food is integral to the identity of a place so find time to remember it.
Find the light
It doesn’t matter what your are shooting if you have epic light.
Speak to the people who live there
Put yourself in the shoes of the locals. Imagine your home town is a popular holiday destination, or a place Instagrammers want to visit. How would you feel if people jump off a bus, shoot intrusive images without speaking to you, and then disappear? Speak to people before you take their photo if it’s a close up or a portrait. Ask permission. Be honest about what you will do with the shots. If someone says “No”, then respect that. Don’t pester them.
I think crowd shots, or shots in public places are different, and you maybe don’t need to speak to everyone. But educate yourself about local culture, and if you are asked to stop shooting, do it immediately and without complaining.
I was at a camera club presentation recently and was very upset by the advice given on seeking consent by a visiting photographer (an FRPS). He said, “You can tell when ‘no’ means ‘yes’. Just keep asking.” Please. Don’t do this.
Follow No White Saviors on Instagram to educate yourself on how to be a responsible visitor. In particular, if you wouldn’t shoot a child without asking in your own country, the same rules apply in the country that is hosting you. Never forget you are a guest. This screenshot is from @chopsticksandcheese:
Shoot the details
Get in close and find the details. These are especially great if you are planning on printing a photo book. They break up the narrative a bit. Instead of having view after view after view, you can change the pace and add variety.
Don’t forget the uncomfortable bits, or the bad weather
These are the bits you often prefer not to document, but they are what makes your trip unique: the day you got soaked, or you had the wrong shoes, or the wrong money, or the wrong directions.
Can you photograph all your senses?
This is a trickier one, but try and capture how a place smelled, or how it sounded.
Change your viewpoint
Adult head height is not the only place from which to take a photograph. Try sitting down on a kerb somewhere (safely) and shooting from floor level. Or find a rooftop restaurant or viewing point and shoot from up high.
Keep your eyes open
Be in the moment, and be ready to shoot whatever catches your eye. It’s your journey with your camera - bring back some unique memories.
Free beginner’s photography workshop
My flagship workshop, A Year With My Camera, is free via email. Join here and get started today: