We’re just going to jump right in and say that there are some things that we wish travel photographers would just stop doing. Don’t get us wrong, we all need to work on our craft and improve our skills. However, sometimes it is a good idea to challenge ourselves and step outside of our comfy little boxes! We appreciate that everyone has their own way of doing things, so take our words with a grain of salt because to each his/her own. Travel photographers, even us, fall into some ruts and forget to innovate now and again.
Here are the top 5 things that we wish travel photographers would STOP doing:
1. Stop stressing over location scouting
Unless you are a paid location scout, it is okay to give it a break and go with the flow. Explore the area you are traveling, shoot what you come across, don’t plan a thing, and see where the spirit moves you! Travel photographers can get caught up spending hours, and even days, scouting for the “perfect” location when they are missing what is before their very eyes. Having a mental checklist of what you want to shoot is acceptable but we challenge you to run a quick Google image search and be on your way!
2. Stop worrying about gear
We know that many travel photographers pack lots of gear in their bags, including flashes, reflectors etc. We challenge you to head out one day and shoot with just your camera and your favorite lenses! Better still, we challenge you to head into town and shoot and edit photos with just your smartphone and simple editing apps. Save your back and stretch your creative soul by taking travel photos without worrying about a giant backpack full of gear.
3. Stop using a tripod for everything
This goes along with our previous point referring to gear but we thought it deserved its own point. Travel photographers: we totally get that there are some things you need to use tripods for [long-exposure shots of the northern lights!], however, we have seen far too many people using them at times when your own two hands would totally suffice.
Don’t burden yourself with the extra weight and bulk of a tripod [even “travel” ones are decent sized], especially when you are shooting outdoors in the bright sun. We challenge you to practice your steady arm and shoot your photography/video manually while leaving the tripod for that light trails shoot you are planning.
4. Stop shooting for others
We will be the first to admit that there are some pretty epic travel photographers out there. Even if these top photo gurus are shooting for big-name companies [GoPro etc.], they all started shooting for themselves. Stop shooting what your mom [sorry mom!], local magazine, friends, or online critics thing you should be shooting and focus on what inspires you. is it your job to shoot photos for others? Congrats! That is fantastic! You should still take time out and refuel your creative juices with your own spin on travel photography. Create something new and inspire yourself!
5. Stop making it all about the money
We get it. You need money to do important life things like eat and travel. Many travel photographers fall into the “it’s all about money” trap which has the potential to stifle their creative vision. If you just focus on the cash, you may be monetarily rich, but your growth as an artist may be stifled. We want you to be able to pay the bills, but we want you to stop sacrificing your art in order to do so. As travel photographers, we challenge you to put your art and creative vision first, above everything else, and put making money second.
That being said, we want to leave you with one of our favorite quotes:
Amateurs worry about equipment. Professionals worry about money. Masters worry about light. I just take pictures…
— Vernon Trent
Do you agree/disagree with us? What do you think WE should stop doing as travel photographers? Let us know in the comments!