About Me

My photo

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

Monday, September 8, 2008

What to photograph - choose your subjects wisely.

A comment I often hear about beautiful photographs, particularly travel pics, is that the places themselves are so beautiful that anybody could take a nice picture of it.

While this point of view certainly has a valid point - some places are so beautiful they almost photograph themselves - it totally ignores the vital part the photographer plays in choosing their subject.

A truly great photographer can take an inspiring photograph whether in downtown nowhere or somewhere exotic, but their ability to place themselves in the right place at the right time to get a truly exceptional image is what sets them apart from a happy snapper.

It's the work and effort involved in finding something interesting to photograph, and then actually getting out there and doing it that goes unseen.

Sure the Himalayan kingdom of Nepal is stunning but I guarantee that if you go there at the wrong time of year you'll be disappointed with your pictures. Go there during the dry season when haze covers the world and you won't see any mountains. Go there during the monsoon and you won't be able to get in to find the tigers at Chitwan National Park. Visit at a time of year when there aren't any festivals happening (I know, pretty hard to do in Nepal) and you won't get any festival photos. Don't get out of your hotel before 10 and you'll never get any shots of the morning markets. You get the picture.

The ability to know what you want to photograph, to research that subject and understand from what angle you want to capture it, and then to go out and do it is a very underestimated skill in travel photography.

Yes some places are so beautiful that chances are if you went there you could come away with some nice pictures, but to consistently get great images of stunning subjects in beautiful light you have to work hard before you go.

Serendipity can be a wonderful thing but if you rely on just good luck alone you will constantly be disappointed with what you didn't see. Take the time to really think about what you want to photograph. You won't be able to photograph everything but if you make yourself a list before you go and then work out when and where you want to go you'll increase the number of fantastic photos that you come back with.

No comments: