10 rules for the best travel photos

A picture is worth a thousand words, that is the oft repeated phrase. This might sound redundant or to some extent a cliché, but it is still very true in many cases. However, inasmuch as a single photograph tells a story at a glance, there is much more to it than just the beautiful image captured.

Photography brings out commonalities between different cultures and societies. Whether you are a professional photographer or not you should always take the best photographs during your travels. For this to be possible here are 10 rules for the best travel photos.

In-depth research - Before departing to your destination, you should know everything about that place. Read widely about your destination so as to have a profound knowledge of the area. In the digital world of today, this is very simple especially with the different social media sites available. Local newspapers will also provide you with valuable information about the place. For instance, if your aim is to get some great landscape art shots, you’ll need a bit of information about the surrounds to find the best spot to shoot.

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Gain Insight and Understanding - Go deep to gain insight and understanding about the place before even taking a single shot. This will only be achieved if you properly plan your trip and also by focusing on one or a few places at a time. This will help you get beyond or avoid surface images.

Respect and build a relationship with the subject - If you want to take compelling and real photographs of people then there is only one way to achieve this. This is by being authentic and sensitive to the people that you are photographing. Show the people the respect they deserve and talk to them so as to establish a relationship with them.

Understand your equipment - Holding all other factors constant your equipment are the single most important factor that will affect the quality of the photographs you take. Since you are on travel, you might not be able to carry all the necessary equipment but a good camera is always enough for the job. However, make sure you understand it and know how to use it correctly.

Keep tabs on the people you photograph - As a photographer, you should have the necessary information concerning your photo subject. To do this, it will be important to keep good notes. No matter how good your memory is, you will probably forget some details especially when you have a lot to remember from the trip.

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Dress Appropriately - Your choice of attire should not only conform to the norms or culture of the people hosting you but should also be comfortable for that particular environment. For example, if you are planning if your day will involve some mountain climbing then you should dress appropriately for mountain climbing.

Respect the hierarchy - Every society has a hierarchy and as a photographer you should comply with this. Before interacting with a particular community, it is important to meet and get to know the local leaders.

Never let your guard down - There are many genuine people in the world who will always receive you with open arms. However, there are also those that live by bringing harm to others. It is due to the existence of this small group of people that you should always be on the lookout during your travels.

Remember to send back some photos - As a kind gesture or a show of appreciation, you should always send some photos back to your subject. Your subjects are not paid participants (usually), and as they offered you the chance to document them in a photograph for free the least you can do is to share some photos with them.

Remember to have a good time - You should not carry your camera at all times, and instead you should also try to enjoy yourself. There is always something fun to do no matter what part of the world you are traveling to.

All in all your photos should tell the story of the people you are photographing; their culture, environment and lifestyle. Always take the pictures with all the emotions attached to the subject and with an open heart and mind.