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You bought your new camera, you took a couple classes at your local Henry’s, and now you understand all the rules and the settings, and you’re ready to take some awesome travel shots.  Before you pack your filters and your gorillapod, here are a few tips to take along:

Get High – Get Low:

Make sure your pictures are not all taken from eye-level…climb a tree, lay on the ground, do something to get a more interesting angle.

Taken on a sunrise hike in Nepal - the subject was about to leap off a cliff and on to the ledge below (about 4 feet down).  From my angle though, it looks far more dangerous
Taken on a sunrise hike in Nepal – the subject was about to leap off a cliff and on to the ledge below (about 4 feet down). From my angle though, it looks far more dangerous
While taking pictures of a Muay Thai fight in Chaing Mai, Thailand - I got low and zoomed in on the face of this young man watching the fight from ringside
While taking pictures of a Muay Thai fight in Chaing Mai, Thailand – I got low and zoomed in on the face of this young man watching the fight from ringside
The best way to capture the feel of the famous Jemaa El Fna in Marrakech, is to get up high.  This picture was taken while eating dinner on an upstairs restaurant patio.
The best way to capture the feel of the famous Jemaa El Fna in Marrakech, is to get up high. This picture was taken while eating dinner on an upstairs restaurant patio.

Capture Daily Like of the Locals:

A great way to get a feel of the local culture is to grab some shots of normal daily life.

Vendors getting ready for the market to open - New Delhi, India
Vendors getting ready for the market to open – New Delhi, India
Locals shopping for food in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Locals shopping for food in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Local fishermen outside the Mohammed V Mosque in Casablanca, Morocco
Local fishermen outside the Mohammed V Mosque in Casablanca, Morocco

Don’t be Afraid to go Black and White:

Experiment.  Sometimes when you stare at a picture and wonder why it doesn’t grab you, it’s often because it’s too busy – there’s too much to look at.  Sometimes colour is just distracting.  Try it out in black and white – if it’s right, you’ll know it.

The detail in the architecture competed with the Eiffel Tower in the background.  Turning the picture black and white helps the viewer to see more detail
The architecture competed with the Eiffel Tower in the background. Turning the picture black and white helps the viewer to see more detail
Turning this classic police car black and white made it more authentic.  This was taken on Route 66 in California.
Turning this classic police car black and white made it more authentic. This was taken on Route 66 in California.
Antelope Canyon, near Page Arizona - making this black and white almost turns a flat photo into a sculpture
Antelope Canyon, near Page Arizona – making this black and white almost turns a flat photo into a sculpture

Fill the Frame:

Sometimes you don’t need context.  Be brave and fill the entire frame with your subject.

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, taken at sunrise.  There's nothing more to say.
Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, taken at sunrise. There’s nothing more to say.
spices in Fez Medina, Morocco.
spices in Fez Medina, Morocco.
Fish market in Essaouira, Morocco.
Fish market in Essaouira, Morocco.

Ask the Locals if you can Take Their Picture:

Ask a traveler what he/she remembers most about their favourite place, and they will always mention the people.  Why not make the people part of your memories?  I’m rarely turned down when I ask a local to smile for my camera.

This young lady had the most infectious smile - we met at the Taj Mahal in India
This young lady had the most infectious smile – we met at the Taj Mahal in India
A fisherman on the pier in San Francisco
A fisherman on the pier in San Francisco
A street musician in Athens Greece
A street musician in Athens Greece

So the next time you travel somewhere new, get high-get low, let the locals be your muse, and don’t be afraid to play in post.