Advice for Capturing Moments that Tell YOUR Travel Story
Be a People Watcher
Once you've developed skill to observe people, without direct stares, you'll multiply your opportunities to capture candid moments. Develop your ability to "people watch" by visiting popular locations, such as festivals, train stations, markets and the like. Such places are the easiest to observe people on the move, without standing out as a voyeur. These kinds of localities are great for getting the "hang" of people watching, without being obvious. It is here that you'll become more focused to the nuances of gestures and body language and how they might bring "moments" and emotions to the photos you capture.
Choose a spot and stay there. Soon you'll become "part of the furniture" and go unnoticed. This is when the candid photos begin. This technique requires time and patience for the situation to happen - and for you to capture telling and compelling photographs. Not all locations are the same, of course. If you're one of three people at a sidewalk cafe, chances are your "invisibility" will take a while. The more crowded and fluid the situation becomes, the better your chances are of capturing such images in shorter time. Try to blend in with those around you. Stay away from bright, flashy clothes and a big camera bag. Be quiet and discreet. One camera, one lens will do. And be sure to have your camera / smartphone on the ready - on the chair next to you or in your hand and on your lap. Your aim is to capture that peak "moment" of a situation you've had your eye on.
With camera autofocus systems being what they are today, there's no one who can focus quicker, manually. Let your camera doe the work and place all your attention to the scene and subject. Multi-focus points work well for capturing the subject at the peak moment of action, but if you're using just one focal point centred in your viewfinder, don't forget to recompose your shot before squeezing the shutter button. Centred subjects are much less dynamic and interesting than those positioned slightly off-centre or moved to a "rule-of-thirds" location.
Anticipate What Will Happen Next
If you think about it, there is a range of activities wherein you can pretty much know just what will happen next. Sporting events are like this, people shopping at an outdoor market, festival observances - just everyday life in general contains its share of interactions and unique moments of occurrence. Watch carefully for a while, "learn" the game or situation and have your camera ready when the repeated action happens once again. "Click" You've captured it!
Divide Yourself for More
There's a fine line between being part of a situation and simultaneously removed enough from it to anticipate moments and capture them at their peak. If you are the centre of attention, you won't be getting those moments. Instead, another photographer might be capturing them of you! So the aim is to be involved, but not to the point where all eyes are on you. It's a dance of sort, where you enter conversations and leave them again and where you learn just when to pull back to get the shot. It takes practice and the more you do it, the more intuitive this "dance" becomes.
Whether you have travel plans for Europe, Asia - wherever in the world, the more comfortable and skilled you become with handling your camera and capturing "moments" with it, the more successful you will become as a "seasoned" travel photographer. Get out and practice before you go - photographing in local parks, focusing on people talking, playing games. Go to markets and festivals where people are in a busy or festive mood. Be ready for the hand exchange of goods and payment and capture that "moment." The more you've done it on home turf, the sooner you'll be applying your expertise with confidence - over there.
Better yet - why not enroll first on The Compelling Image online photography course - "Travel Photography with Brenda Tharp," for a hands-on and interactive skill-building experience, before you go. The Compelling Image - the online photography school that will inspire and equip you to your very best - with a camera.