Guest Post: Quick Travel Photography Tips by Jennifer Wooten

I am excited to introduce Guest Posts! I want to include other voices within the blog. It will give the blog more depth and more interest. If you are a photographer working in South Asia or photographer of South Asian decent, art historian or curator dealing with the photography of South Asia and would like to write a guest post email me at

photo by Betsy Williamson

Photo by Betsy Williamson

Photo by Betsy Williamson

I was surprised when Betsy asked me to write a blog post for her which focuses on travel photography tips.  The invitation to be a guest writer came several days before my visit with her and Meropi in India was to come to an end.  How could I say, “No”?  I’m one of those mother’s that has never denied my kids much of anything.  LOL! Also, I consider myself one of Betsy’s biggest supporters when it comes to her life’s endeavors.

The focus of this post on travel photography tips is draw from my photography experiences on my first trip to India.  I haven’t had camera in hand and done much shooting over the past year or so.  Perhaps I wasn’t the most prepared for taking photos while visiting Betsy in India.  In the end, I returned home with photos that I will treasure for many years to come.  The quality and sharpness of the images vary, but Betsy has encouraged me to not be so critical of my work. They represent time spend exploring southern India and Betsy’s home town, Udaipur.

Tip One:  Hand it over…

Photo by Meropi Mitrou

Photo by Meropi Mitrou

Photo by Meropi Mitrou

No, I’m not speaking of robbing a bank!  I’m talking about the willingness to hand your camera over to someone else so they can capture shoots you might not otherwise have to document your travels.  One evening, Betsy, Meropi, their friend, Evthokia, and I went to a museum, Bagore ki Haveli, an old Haveli on the waterfront of Lake Pichola, for an evening of entertainment.  The event included folk dances and cultural performances that represent various areas of the state of Rajasthan.  I, like most those attending, sat on the ground on slightly elevated concrete risers in a courtyard environment.  Needless to say, we sat a number of rows back from the stage and I was looking between the heads of those in front me to enjoy the performances and try to take a few photos.  Meropi was sitting with her back to a tree with the ability to stand against it without being a distraction to those seated behind her (tiny frame that she has).  At one point, I handed her my camera and asked that she that a few shots for me.   It turned out to be a smart move on my part.  I was able to give my full attention to enjoying the performances and came home with awesome photos to document the evening.  Thank you, Meropi!

On another occasion, I handed my camera over to Betsy asking that she take photos for me.  This time, there was no way I could have captured the photos she took.  I was the subject of the photos this time (at least my left thumb was).  Betsy had promised to take me to her favorite silk painter’s shop in old Udaipur.  Much to my surprise the artist offered to paint my thumb nail before I ever stepped foot inside the door.  How could I say, “No”?  He had me sit on a very low stool amid his paints and paint brushes on the steps of his shop.  After asking about my favorite color, he proceeded to paint my nail purple.  Within ten minutes he had painted a beautiful peacock with its fanned tail feather across my thumb nail.  In case you don’t know, the peacock is the national bird of India.  What a priceless experience (and there are photos to share and bring back memories thanks to Betsy though the paint was quick to chip off my nail)!

Tip Two: From the hip…

One of my favorite ways to shoot street photography is shooting from the hip.  It’s a great way to capture images of people in a more inconspicuous way, shoot images from a different perspective and produce unpredictable outcome (unless you’ve master the art of shooting from the hip).  I don’t know why, but some of these images turn out to be my favs.

Tip Three:  Have fun…

Sometimes we can take our photography too serious and not serious enough at other times.  When it comes to travel photography we all have a different approach.  Most of all, I tried not to be the happy snapper but to “be happy” and have fun shooting while in India not being my own worst critic.  After all, I was on vacation, but at the same time, I wanted to document the trip as if I knew I might not ever have an opportunity to return in the future.  Photographically, I had the most fun taking photos out of the bus window on our ride between Mamallapuram and Pondicherry.  With the camera set on Shutter Priority, 1/800, I shoot away.  The outcomes were pleasing and I’ll always be reminded of how much fun I had when I view them.

Truth be known, I had fun taking all the photos.  I do have a thing for reflections, things that make me laugh, and Indians who want their photo taken by the American blonde and the list could go on and on.

While the travel photography tips may be perceived as standouts, I hope I have given a few ideas that will add value to the next travel photos you take.

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By |2018-10-11T13:35:41-05:00May 5th, 2017|guest post|0 Comments

About the Author:

Betsy Williamson is an assistant professor of art in the state of New Mexico. Before coming to New Mexico for this job she was an adjunct professor throughout Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, teaching photography and art appreciation. Between September 2015 and May 2017, she took a break from teaching to pursue art, research and life in India. Now she is back to teaching and part-timing it in India.

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