Tips for Travel Photography: How to Find the Best Photo Spots in any Place You Visit

Finding the Best Spots for Photography Where Ever You may Go!

When you look at travel blogs or magazines, do you ever wonder how the bloggers, writers and photographers find spectacular locations to photograph? It may be partly trial and error or perhaps they have visited the city or town more than once. However, here I have provided some helpful tips for travel photography, specifically for finding great photo locations where ever you find yourself!

Taj Mahal framed by tree, Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India

The Taj Mahal framed by a tree.

1. Most obvious, go where others have gone

I know it may be corny, but traveling to certain overly photographed and highly popular locations can lead to some of your best photographs. For starters, you know the spot is photogenic. However, once you are their try to photograph the area or monument from an angle you have not seen before. Or point your camera at a subject in the area that you have not seen in photographs.

Google Image Search for Taj Mahal.

2. Do web research before you go

Before headed to your chosen destination do google, flickr, pinterest and youtube searches for the places you plan to visit. See if bloggers, photographers and youtubers give specific neighborhoods, streets or place names to their photographs which will give you insight into which areas of town to visit. If you have access to an email address send them and email and ask. More than likely they will be flattered that you enjoyed their photos enough you wanted more information. The worst thing that can happen is they can just not respond.

3. On the flip side, explore areas of Town you have not seen in the photographs of others

While following in others footsteps is a good place to start, once you are on your own two feet, it is good to explore new places. Once you are comfortable in a new place, explore areas not mentioned by bloggers or guide books. An amazing photo opportunity can be found around almost any corner. Local neighborhoods often go unexplored by travelers, check them out. You may find a beautiful shrine or kids playing ball.

This fold out map has a great country map but also has good maps of Delhi and Mumbai.

4. Get a Good Map of the City, if Possible

Maps can save you time, energy and hassle. If you can get a map of where you are visiting do. This will keep you from getting lost and will help you keep your confidence up as you explore the city. Sometimes all you need to make a great photograph is the confidence to point your camera and push the shutter release!

5. Ask the Locals

As you know most of my travels take place in South Asia. It does not matter where I am people genuinely want to help and share their cultures and lives. If someone seems like they are open to talking or if a local speaks to you first, ask them where they think are the best places for making photographs in their city. Locals are the ones with all the knowledge, not just about food, but the most photogenic places in town!

Me and fellow traveler Stella, who I meet in Udaipur, 2015.

6. Ask other Travelers you Meet

When you meet a fellow traveler, they may have been in town longer than you. Ask them where their favorite places in town are. Perhaps they have discovered a gem. They may also want to take a little day photography adventure with you. Photographing with others can lead you to see things in a new way and at the very least, you make a new friend.

I took this photograph from atop the clock tower in Jodhpur.

7. Go up High, Get down Low

While you are out exploring take advantage of any rooftops you are able to get on. Look out, look down and get a new angle on the streets. Also, do not be afraid to get low to the ground. Looking up or having an ants perspective (as we say) can lead to interesting new views and compositions. However, if you are going to lay on the ground, be careful, do not lay down in the middle of the street and watch out for animals.

8. Walk instead of taking Motorized Transport

We have all been there, zipping down the street in a taxi and you see something you would love to photograph. Once at your destination you have no idea how to get back to where you wanted to make the picture. A moment lost. If you have the time an energy to walk where you are going, travel by your feet. This way you do not speed past any photo moment.

My friend Brad and I took a day trip to Kumbhalgarh. The driver stop at a spot he thought was good for photos. The photo on the right is a scene from the spot. The photo on the left is a group photo of the couple we traveled with, myself and Brad.

9. Take a Day Trip

If you take an organized day trip out of the city you are visiting, your driver will know great spots for making photos. If the group is small, you can also ask the driver to stop and they probably will. In the same vain, hire a tour guide when visiting specific sites. They can point out interesting details or areas that usually go unnoticed by visitors.

A detail of a pile of colorfully patterned blankets in Udaipur.

10. Take in and Capture the Details

While traveling, we often get overwhelmed by the newness of where we are. Take time, go as slowly as possible and notice the details. Some of the best photographs are of architectural details, peeling posters, or the smile of an elderly man. Take in these moments, they inform your journey just as much as the large monuments and spectacular landscapes.

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By |2018-10-10T12:56:06-05:00December 27th, 2017|Travel Photography Tips|1 Comment

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.

One Comment

  1. Jennifer December 29, 2017 at 7:35 pm - Reply

    Nice blog post! I’ll have to remember to “Ask the Locals” next time I travel!

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