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I'm a Cairns, far north Queensland, Australia professional photographer specialising in travel, editorial and environmental portraiture.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Travelling with munchkins

Like anybody who has ever heard the words 'congratulations it's a boy (or girl!), my life changed dramatically when these two little fellows came along.

Now you may think that little kids would be a major impediment to professional travel photography. Admittedly there are times when I have to leave them at home and get down to work but a lot of times I can take them with me and they become really important photographic subjects.

The difference with photographing your children in a travel style, as opposed to just snapping them is this. They have to be placed in a context that shows where you are. The image above was taken on a famous train in Hokkaido, Japan. The train goes to a local zoo and every carriage has seats that are giant fluffy animals. Bears in one, penguins another and this one has monkeys. It's pretty hard to get people you've never met to agree to you photographing their kids but your own little terrors are happy to ham it up for the camera.

Without an explanation it would probably just be a snap, but when it accompanies a travel article on the train and zoo then it becomes a travel photograph that illustrates foreigners having a holiday in Japan.

When you don't intend to write an article or caption to go along with the picture then you can do something like this.

Kids in kimonos screams Japan. Blonde hair says that they're not locals. The two combined make a travel photograph - albeit in a more family-snap style. If you can capture an image that immediately tells people where you've been on holiday then the picture is successful as a travel image. Of course all the usual rules of composition and style apply but including your own family in the frame will add a new dimension to your travel photo presentations.

Just remember though, they might not always be willing subjects...

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