photography is mind over matter

sonepur mela india by steve daveyWorld-renowned photographer Steve Davey knows about everything from making use of ambient light to choosing the right zoom lens, but ask what it really takes to take great photos and he’ll tell you it’s all in your head…

“The single most effective piece of camera equipment that you can take with you on your travels is your mind. If you want to take great travel pictures, you have to think! Snap away with little or no thought or creativity, and you will be lucky to come back with anything other than simple record shots.

The first thing you need to do is simply be interested. Interested in the world. Interested in people. Interested in new things, old thing, things that work and things that don’t.

Ask yourself the simple question: what is it about your subject that makes you want to photograph it. Once you work out your motivation, this will help you know how to take your photograph.

Think about what you want to have in the picture and how different things work together. One of the most powerful things that you can do with your photography is to control your background. Whether you are shooting a portrait or an object, experiment with altering your angle to have a different background. Choose something that is significant to your subject in some way, and says something about it.

When you are taking photographs, try to get in close to the action. If you use a wideangle lens, and get in close, you can shoot dynamic images. This will also have the advantage that it will be hard for anyone else to get in your way! Being close to the action will not just lead to more interesting images, it will also give you a more intimate and engaged experience.

If you can’t get close to the action then try to get up high. I am not talking about smoking suspicious chillums with Indian sadhus, but look for a high vantage point to shoot down on your subject. This unique viewpoint can almost always create an interesting shot. It is also a great way to accentuate crowds and get a great overview of a city or festival.

Travel photography isn’t all hard work though. Travelling with a camera can actually enhance your travel experience, helping you to get far more out of your trip. It will give you the perfect excuse to walk up to interesting people and talk to them. It will give you the perfect motivation to get up for sunrise, climb every hill to photograph the view and explore every city or festival that you can.”

sonepur mela india by steve davey

Steve Davey is the author of the Footprint Guide to Travel Photography, crystallising the knowledge picked up on over twenty years taking pictures on the road. He has launched his own range of travel photography tours – with all land arrangements provided by Intrepid Travel.

Forthcoming trips include Impressions of Nepal in October and Impressions of Laos & Vietnam in November/December, 2012.

Photos: © Steve Davey

About the author

Sue Elliot - Like many of us, Sue contracted a serious travel bug at an early age. She's visited over 90 countries in search of a cure, but her wanderlust just seems to get worse. Thankfully at Intrepid Travel she's amongst people who understand the affliction and since 1998 Sue has enjoyed being our blog and newsletter editor. Here you'll find helpful travel advice and inspiring tales from Sue and other Intrepid travellers.

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Photography is the main supportive materiel of any online offline business. I am running a resort a website, photography is making a deep impact for my online business. Pure Photos can attract more people and business. Thanks for having such a wonderful post. Also find that your website is a good library for all travel lovers from around the world.'
Christian Friborg / Reply

Capture great moments. Collect memories. And look back to it every now and then!'

Great post. I truly believe what you say because whatever you want the picture all comes in your head. It may take time to take perfect shots consistently but if you have the focus then it will happen in no time. Thank you for sharing!

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