Avoid taking just another set of boring snapshots when you go traveling by including people in your photos. People provide a focal point for the viewer and give your photographs a sense of scale. Use your family, friends, other travelers and local people to liven up your travel shots.
There are different groups of people that you can include in your travel photos to make them more attractive. The first are your friends and family that you are traveling with. The second are other travelers and crowds of tourists going to the same places as you. Lastly you have local people going about the daily business.
The easiest people to include in your photos are your friends and family. They are often willing models and want to have great photos of their trip to keep as reminders. Friends and family are also willing to spend time helping to get the perfect shot. Treat each excursion like a documentary and try to photograph every stage of the trip from hailing a taxi to having a drink afterwards. Many people focus only on the famous landmarks and miss out the small details of traveling that often make the best photographs.
Don’t forget do take silly travel photographs as these can be the most memorable reminders of a trip. Use perspective distortion to show your kids leaning on a monument or photograph them refusing to eat strange local food.
Travel photos of friends and family are not only useful as souvenirs. Magazines and travel websites are crying out for images that show people enjoying themselves in famous places. They want images that their clients can imagine taking themselves. Photos of your family and friends enjoying themselves at a destination make it easier for others to imagine going there.
If you are traveling alone or have a shy family then you can always photograph other travelers. Never worry if you arrive at an attraction and it is full of tourists. Treat the bustle as an opportunity to document the crowds. Try and photograph the contrasts between modern tourists and ancient ruins or works of art. Get above the crowds and photograph the patterns that they form as they walk around. Try shooting for low down to show points of interest through a mass of legs. If everybody is photographing something don’t just copy them and take an identical photo. Instead get a far more interesting shot of the crowd all pointing their cameras at the same thing.
Including local people in your travel photos makes your shots feel authentic especially if you can capture moments of everyday life. You should always ask for permission before photographing locals as many people don’t like having their photo taken. Busy public markets and festivals are excellent places to photograph locals. Everyone feel less shy and more willing to smile in a busy public place.
Including people in your photographs of landmarks and monuments gives them a sense of scale. You only truly appreciate the size of the Eiffel Tower in a photo when you see the tiny people queuing at the bottom. The eye is instinctively drawn to figures in a photograph even if they are very small. A landscape including faraway farms and villages is far more interesting if there are people working in the fields.
Including people in your travel photographs is a simple way of making them memorable and original. Use your family and friends as models and document your travels as if you were a reporter. Your travel snaps will be all the better for it.