What to do on your next photographic tour , part 2
have your camera ready for anything
Travel photography is one of the most rewarding hobbies in the world, but it presents quite a few challenges both photographically speaking, and generally so. If you want to make your photo tour perfect, here’s part II of my tips on how.
Be aware of the actual infrastructure and capacity of the place you’re visiting.
There are quite a few places in the world which are photographically unparalleled but not as comfortable or advanced as one might hope. Mongolia, for instance is in my opinion one of the most underrated place for travel photography, as anything from Naadam to the Eagle Festival are beyond beautiful. But as I tell travelers on my Mongolia and Naadam Photo Tour, your expectations should be reasonable for the destination. Running water doesn’t have the pressure or quantity it does in the West, often times transportation is spotty, mix ups and language barriers happen, or electricity is faulty for a day.
This is part of the challenge and also just part of the reality for a travel photographer. The point is always that you will have a good adventure and walk away with even better photos, even if you aren’t 100% comfortable 100% of the time.
Plan to get off the beaten path.
Even with the best camera, the best lens, the best technique, you won’t take great photos if your subject matter is flat or inauthentic. To fill out the story you want to tell, you need to get away from major tourist centers and out into the parts where real people are living their real lives. On my Mongolia Photo Tour for example, we of course see the capital, Ulaanbaatar, but if you want to see the real Mongolia you have to get out into the rural areas where the goat and sheep herds are tending flocks and living in their ger camps.
This is also why, even if you decide to construct your own tour with a single guide that you want to specify your needs with that guide. Many times a standard tour or a single guide will not think you want that level of authenticity, and will try to keep you in ‘comfortable’ zones – but comfort zones don’t make for great photography.
Walk into your tour with an open mind.
You might have a specific, iconic idea of what you want to see and what you’re going to find on your tour. And you might find it, or, you might not. But if you focus on the iconic thing and you don’t find it, disappointment might lead you to miss a great opportunity you never would have thought to look for. Anywhere you go, if you follow point two and have your camera ready for anything, you’ll find something worth photographing. Don’t let a fixed idea overshadow what might be the opportunity you actually want to take.