Let’s see, what am I forgetting? Packing is not my favorite thing to do in the whole world, but traveling may be. Of course camera gear is the second priority right after underwear and socks. I love photographing almost everything, but travel photography is probably the most enjoyable, especially when it’s a new destination. So I tolerate the packing chore to make sure I am ready to explore a new world.
Mark Twain once said, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” And I might add photograph all those places you explore! Twenty years from now you can revisit your travels through your photographs. So be sure your travel photos reflect all you experienced . . . the culture, food, sights, people, transportation, and landscape.
I find that having a photo shot list is just as important as packing your underwear and tooth brush. Over the years of traveling many places I routinely add things to my shot list I keep on my cell phone notepad. While traveling I review my shot list almost every day to make sure I am capturing all the things that will make that remarkable slideshow when I get home and “twenty years from now”.
Here’s my Travel Shot List. I share it with the hope that you too will develop a shot list for your most remarkable travel experiences.
My Travel Photography Shot List (Don’t go home without these shots):
- Cityscapes, City Streets – Capture those high vantage points, and low angles looking up. Capture those special scenes day and night.
- Landmarks – from a different vantage point. Put a design element in your foreground. Don’t take the photo you have seen a million times.
- Markets, shopping
- Signs, boarding gate sign, city name signs, street signs, businesses, points of interest, trail heads – a great way to remember the what, where, and when of your travels. Makes fantastic intro images in your slideshow.
- Mail Boxes, Doors, Gates, windows, arches, fences
- Landscapes and natural surroundings.
- Flora and Fauna.
- National Flags
- Architecture, Skylines, churches, homes, bridges, transportation
- Lodging accommodations, gardens, rooms, and views from your room.
- People, including maitre d’, food servers, lodging proprietors, street vendors, native dress
- Restaurants, cafes, bakeries, gelato stores – inside and out. – look for unique colors and features.
- Food and Drinks – use natural light if possible
- Menus – especially hand written ones. Great way to remember where you had the fabulous lunch.
- Family members enjoying the experience! Make an effort to compose your surroundings. And use your fill flash for those backlit scenes.
Of course you can certainly refine your own shot list, detailing all the sights you have on your itinerary. There are also apps available for many popular destinations you can add to your phone. Whatever you decide, creating your own shot list will help you capture the whole picture of your most remarkable journey. When you return, pick your favorite 30 – 50 photos and make that slideshow you will enjoy showing your friends and revisiting “twenty years from now”. You won’t be disappointed.
May you always have safe travels and may the remarkable photos be yours.