We already showed you a few ideas to make the most of your vacation and enjoy some time off. But there is so much to discuss regarding vacations that we felt the need to return to the topic. Lately, a lot has been happening around photography vacations. There are specialized photographers one can hire to record their vacation memories. You can find destinations where people crowd to have a flying-dress photo session. There are places marketed as the best locations for photography tours. A new industry appeared overnight. And sometimes (OK, most of the time), more does not mean better. So how can a photographer enjoy a quiet and pleasant vacation without feeling frustrated by the tones of vacation photos taken around them? Here are our tips for a perfect photographer vacation.
The tourism industry has many ideas, offers, and amazing opportunities just for you. Landscapes, landmarks, and activities promise you a stunning vacation and keep you busy all the time. The first piece of advice we give you is to stay away from the mainstream of travel advertising. Don’t go where everyone goes or avoid visiting in the season. Instead, go where your heart wants to go, even if it means visiting the countryside ten miles from your home city. If your heart aches to see a popular beach or metropolis, go when no one thinks of going (e.g., winter on the beach can be incredibly beautiful, spring in Sweden may show you a different face of the Nordic country, etc.).
Time of the Day
Especially in popular travel locations, there is a flow of tourists you can easily spot. Usually, they don’t have early morning starts and begin to wander around by 9 am – 10 am. By noon, all cafes and restaurants are full. Most people take a break after lunch and restart activities late in the afternoon. Work your schedule around the flow. For example, wake up early and enjoy the views by yourself, taking stunning pictures of the sunrise and empty cities. Or choose to delay your lunch (by packing sandwiches, for example) and go to the main tourist places when everyone else is in a restaurant or doing their siesta.
As a photographer, you already know that the best perspective over a place is not necessarily the closest one. For example, the best view of the Eiffel Tower is not from nearby but from miles away from the Montparnasse Tour. Put some distance between yourself and the main attraction points. See the Amalfi coast from the sea, photograph the pyramids before arriving near them, enjoy the beach from the highest belvedere point, and so on.
Most tourists head for the places they’ve heard of, do the recommended activities, and try local life as they’ve read about it in magazines. It’s not wrong to say that most people don’t live like they are portrayed in travel magazines. You won’t see all French men wearing berets, all Italians eating pizza, and all Germans drinking beer. Not all Americans are cowboys, and not all Scandinavian people know how to ski. So when you visit a new place, try to be open and read the room. Enter small stores and eat in small restaurants. Observe the locals’ attitudes and habits and show interest in whatever they say. Don’t ask for the best places to see or activities to do. People don’t like to be labeled and take pride in being different.
A photographer on vacation is an observer of places, customs, and human behaviors. You don’t need a camera for this, nor do you have to take photos. All you have to do is avoid the mainstream, show up at the right time, and learn to listen to your heart and gut. Experience the world as it is and not as you would like. Look neither for the most beautiful parts nor the ugliest or the most controversial. Look for the truth.