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Travel Photography

© 2003 Max Lent

The first question to ask yourself about travel photography is what is the purpose of your trip? If you are a typical vacationer traveling for enjoyment and relaxation, photography should be an afterthought. I hate to break this to you, but most of your friends and relatives are not in the least bit interested in your photographs. Although they may feign interest out of respect or politeness, they would rather be pulling weeds than looking at your photographs and hearing your abbreviated narrative associated with each photo. If your friends and relatives are literate or watch television, they have already seen better photographs of wherever you have been in books, magazines, on television, and in movies. If they have ever received photo postcards from wherever you have been, they have seen better images than you will take. If your vacation is for having fun take the smallest camera available and photograph whenever you are moved to do so, but donít force the rest of us to view the photographs when you return.

Except for the occasional group photo or record shot of you standing in front of a shrine there is little need for you to photograph at all. Nearly every vacation location on the planet sells picture books, photo postcards, or actual photographs. Often these images are less expensive than the cost of film and processing. And, even less expensive if you factor in the cost of a camera and associated accessories.

It is highly unlikely that you will sell the photographs you take on your trip unless you are professional photographer. Even if you are a professional photographer the chances are not all that great. Taking professional travel photographs is a slow painstaking process. Someone traveling to fourteen cities in ten days is not likely to capture the exceptional travel photograph of anything they see. Professional photographs of the interiors of museums and churches require releases, permission, and payment. Most of the time permission is not granted.

It is possible that you could have the best of your photographs printed, matted, framed, and exhibited in your doctorís office or branch library. The expense of your exhibit could exceed that of your trip without expectation of a sale, but the ego satisfaction could be worth the price.

If after reading these caveats you are still bent on photographing while on vacation there are some things you can do to make your self-assignment a little easier. The second question is what are you going to do with your photographs on your return? The type of equipment you should purchase will depend on your answer to this question.

If your objective is to create a photo album of snapshots, your equipment needs are minimal. Purchase the smallest pocketable camera you are comfortable using. Olympus makes wonderful little cameras that can be carried in a manís pocket or womanís purse. An ideal pocket camera will have the following features:

  • Autofocus

  • Built in automatic flash

  • Zoom lens

  • Water-resistant

  • Have no optics exposed when it they are not in use

 

 


 
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