Photo Tips: Always Be Curious
My mother taught me one of the most important photo tips I could ever want to know as a professional travel photographer..she taught me to be curious. It was instilled in me at an early age to have and develop the insatiable desire to constantly be learning, and so till this day I’m always on the lookout for new and interesting subjects to see and photograph. When we were kids she’d take us for walks in the woods near our house outside of Chicago, and as we went along she’d point out the tiny veins in the colorful fall leaves on the ground, or the interesting details of the caterpillars and other insects, the varieties of bark on the trees, and so many other interesting things.
This invaluable skill is something that I’ve tried to pass along to the participants of my photo tours and classes, and I love to see them getting in close on a subject to bring out the interesting details that abound, surely because they want to share what they’ve seen with the people enjoying their photography.
On vacation, especially in Mexico, she’d point out the fine details of the hardware and chipping paint on the doors and windows we’d encounter, those things that most people would simply walk by. Needless to say this inspired me to have this same curiosity, only I wanted to photograph it and share it with others in that medium.
Essentially these were photo walks before the term went mainstream, and well before there were digital cameras (I don’t remember even having a camera with us on these walks).
My feeling is that curiosity is the best skill that one can learn when out in the field. Having an interest in the odd, the interesting, the bold, the beautiful, the not-so-beautiful, things that contrast, colors that pop, these are all wonderful subjects to capture with a camera, and if you don’t notice them in the first place, how can you possibly photograph them?
I’m always trying to emphasize in my classes and on my photo walking tours, that getting the big, overall, establishing shots is great, but then focus in on the medium and detail shots that make up the whole. This is what will separate your portfolio from the pack.
Would you consider yourself someone who has mastered the ABCs of photography?
Join me for a photo tour of The Heart of Spain in September 2013.
See link for more info and to register.
Ralph Velasco is an Orange County-based photography instructor, international photo tour guide and author who frequently speaks on the topic of travel photography.
He’s an award-winning blogger and creator of the My Shot Lists for Travel app for iPhone.