When travelling, slow down and take time to look – with the intensity of an artist!
The camera can capture what is in front of you, but it takes your intervention to capture how you feel about it. And that is where post-processing comes in. Whether it is just putting on a filter in instagram, or doing more advanced processing in photoshop or lightroom, your processing will reflect how you feel about a place. But how will you know how you feel, if you don’t stop for a moment and take time to form an opinion?
One way to learn how to see in a new way is to consider how the scene would look as a drawing. Look at the relationship between objects, and consider the shape formed by the spaces between them. Artists call these ‘negative shapes’. By taking the time to look at a scene as a drawing, you will see far more than if you had just lifted the camera and pressed the shutter button.
Consider this view of St Martin in the Fields in London. Stripped of colour and reduced to a few tones, its relationship to the landscape becomes more apparent. The distraction of the red buses and colourful tourists fades, and the classical styled church asserts its sense of permanence and history.
It is worth spending time in galleries to get a sense of composition – the concepts behind composition in art apply equally to photography – and especially to travel photography. Use drawing techniques to appreciate the sense of design around you – wherever you are, someone designed that building, or that streetscape.
Take a small sketchbook and try to sketch the scene in front of you – then photograph it, and you will find that you have made a memorable image, taking in the subtleties that will live with you long after your trip has finished.