Travel Photography: Applying Your Personal Perspective and Recipe

Why do we take photographs when we’re on holiday?

Because we would like to have a record of everything we did while we were away. And travel photography should be the way in which we go about recording our travels so that we can revisit and share our experiences time and time again. And really enjoy each revisit!

travel sunset

Why do we tend to find other people’s travel photographs boring? If we’re honest we probably find our own travel photographs a bit boring. Hence, we possibly only look at them once and so don’t get full value from our holidays. Is it because they’re just a confused jumble of images in vague chronological sequence?

travel photo collage

Have a look at your old holiday pictures; try to be very objective. Try to take away your emotive memories. Ask yourself, “Did I really do justice to everything I experienced?”

You really want to try to capture images that are your images that incorporate your feelings when you were there—not just postcard clones. You may as well just buy postcards; be different!

For example, take this image…


but also this one…

crowded boat

Take this image…

boring tourist photo

…but also this one…

water spray

…and so on.

You’re trying to freeze a slice of life as you see it, wherever you are. You will remember the challenge and the enjoyment of capturing these images each time you see them.

Using all of these you want to put together a travel show—fun to do and fun to watch when it is finished. You should be using your photography to add to the actual enjoyment of your holiday. Not just taking random images but having a set concept to follow.

travel photo collection

In effect, you’re putting together a recipe with a whole range of different ingredients which you are going to blend into a tasteful dish!

travel food photography

Remember your recipe is going to be made up of slices of life as you see them on your holiday. A sample checklist could look like this:

  • Everyday living: markets, artists, buskers, shop windows, food, people, and so on.
  • List places: where, scale, when, details, reflections, places, roofs, at night, oddments, etc.

Keeping these in mind as you travel you build up your store of ingredients by taking images that fit these categories which you then sort as you build your travel show.

This sounds like effort but it can really add greatly to your actual enjoyment of your holiday and lead to you seeing much more of your surroundings as you travel.

Your list is not a straightjacket; you will see more so you will capture special images.




dog in a boat

And on your list of people and places we have markets—always wonderful, colorful places.


colorful travel photos

red and white umbrellas

And one can always include images of artists of all types.

man sketching

artist at work

Buskers can make fascinating images. There are so many people doing so many things. It’s always only fair to make a donation.


public square

man walking

These few examples will give you a good idea of the concept which you will adapt to your own personal interests. A blend of these images plus whatever other categories you include can make for a really fascinating travel show.

In future articles, I will cover subjects such as location pointers, scale, details, and reflections.

About the Author:
Roger Lee is a Johannesburg based photographic trainer and cruise ship speaker on smartphone photography. He runs the “Enjoy Your Camera” course, and his in-depth ebooks for people who don’t want to drown in detail are at His new smartphone photography ebook is at

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