It’s always good to go chasing that greener grass on the other side. Sure, you could stay home, but how much more fun it is to explore! There are obvious ways you can learn and grow by photographing locally, but equally, there are a lot of good reasons to throw off that comfort blanket and go for something new, new destinations.
To differing degrees we all have a drive and desire to see the unknown, below are the reasons this desire will enhance your photography. Take time to read this and factor them in when you plan your next trip away to photograph some new destinations.
#1 – Photographing new destinations provides a burst of creativity
Going somewhere new is a great way to kick-start your creativity, or perhaps build on an existing project that you’re already doing. That something new can inspire you into a new project, you could turn them into a set for a gallery. There are any number of themes you could try out from architecture, food, or people.
- Try photographing the people in your new locale, a project like Humans of New York can be adapted to wherever you are now.
- Combine existing image with a whole new set on a similar theme. Have you photographed churches in the UK? The style will be very different in other parts of Europe, and even more so if you find a church in Asia.
- Get into some street photography by searching out a local market.
#2 – It’s a test of your photography skills
Going somewhere new is a great test of your photography skills. How can you apply what you’ve learned at home to the new destination? If your eye has become sharpened through practicing at home, it will show when you travel somewhere new.
The point about a new location is it will seek out your weakness, you’re not familiar with the new place so you need to be familiar with your camera. Are you ready for the low light photos at a night festival that you will be photographing? You have one chance to get it right, are you ready for that?
Take the time to find out settings of similar photos to those you plan to take and practice in similar conditions before the event. Then when you arrive to photograph in a new destination you can test those skills, and gauge your level.
#3 – Getting the hero photo
There are places that you may travel to for specific photos that are unique and amazing. You simply can’t replicate the big city feel of Tokyo, Shanghai or Dubai when it comes to cityscapes. Equally, going to Angkor Wat in Cambodia or Bagan in Myanmar is light years ahead of visiting a small temple in your local town.
When you travel to these places, the aim is to get the big booming landscape, the photo you’ll hang on your wall or is the opening two-page spread to a magazine article. So what do you need to do to get those photos?
- Do your research. To photograph a new destination you need to google the place you’re visiting. Even better, visit photography sharing sites like 500px and Flickr to look at the best photos from the place you intend to visit.
- Add you own unique spin. You may choose to use the same angle you’ve seen from other photographers, but if you can find your own unique style of photography it will stand out more.
- Make sure it’s big! Detail photos won’t cut it, you need a wide-angle lens that captures the whole scene. This often means accessing a high vantage point to capture a big photo.
#4 – Escape the comfort blanket
Going somewhere new means you won’t have a nice comfortable fall-back photo to take, the one you know how to frame. This will force you to think about what you want to portray with your image, and in turn, it will help you grow as a photographer.
If you’re going from a busy city to the great outdoors or vice versa, then you will need to train your eye for that new environment to get the most out of it. Perhaps you don’t do street photography, but the night market is so vibrant you need to document it.
#5 – The best location for your photography style
The chances are you know the style of photography you like best. You practice this style a lot in your home neighborhood. Unless you’re lucky, chances are there is a better location to take those photos. We are all looking to take photos that get a “wow” reaction, going to a wow location is a good way to achieve that.
Once again, decide which is your strongest photography style, and then visit the best place for that type of photo.
- Cityscapes. The bigger the better here so visiting cities like New York, Hong Kong, or London are your best bets. There are many new cities that are growing, Shenzhen near Hong Kong is said to have some amazing architecture.
- Culture. Visiting places during their festival works well for this. The Yeeping lantern release in Thailand is a photographers dream. Many people aspire to visit India during Holi, or Venice during Carnival.
- Nature. There are reasons that places like Iceland draw so many tourists, the nature is wild. If you enjoy photographing nature there isn’t a better place to go.
Now there are many places not mentioned in the above lists. The point is getting these photos means you need to travel there.
#6 – Plan to be there when it’s unique!
Planning ahead is advised in all forms of photographic endeavor. The chances are you know when is the best time to photograph your local area. But to photograph a new destination at its best, research is needed.
Is this place best photographed in the morning or the evening? Which is the best season to visit? Are there flowers that bloom, or will there be snow on the mountain? The best photo opportunities can come during a festival, so when will that be? You can really improve the odds of getting great photos by being in a place at the right time.
You need to take a vacation!
Do you need an excuse to go on vacation? Of course, you do, and to photograph a new destination is as good an excuse as any!
We’d love to hear about your experiences of visiting somewhere new, so please share in the comments below. What type of photography do you enjoy, and where is your dream destination to practice that? Has a trip abroad ever kick started a project for you? How about going to a new place this weekend? It doesn’t have to be far from your area. Getting out with the camera and exploring is a great feeling, so let’s see your results!