There are a lot of things I love in this world: good food, gorgeous sunsets, the feeling of waking up after a great night’s sleep… But there’s one thing that I love more than anything else: travel photography.
I love to travel, point blank. But there’s something about holding the viewfinder up to my eye and capturing everything that I see that makes travel all the more exciting. When I take pictures during my travels, I feel whole. I seriously do.
And while I don’t think it’s 100% possible to put into words everything it is about travel photography that I find so fulfilling, I’m going to try to do my best. Because there’s a magic in travel photography that I think everyone should experience at least once in their life.
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1. I get to revisit my best memories time and time again
I don’t know about you, but there are few memories out there that measure up to the memories I make while traveling (well, besides major life events like graduating and the first time that Daniel and I kissed 😉 ).
But let’s be real: I have a s*** memory.
I suck at names, I never manage to remember everything I have to do unless I write it down, and even my biggest life events have foggy details. But when I look at a photo I took years ago, the whole scene comes rushing back. I’m able to remember the sights, the sounds, the smells-absolutely everything. Right down to the conversation I was having with my travel buddy (if I had a travel buddy, that is).
Taking the time to capture the moment when I’m in it means that I can relive that moment again and again. And I love that.
2. I actually become more aware of my surroundings
A lot of people argue that taking too many photographs means you’re not living in the moment or truly experiencing what you’re doing. I call bulls***.
In fact, when I’m focused on taking great photos of my travels, I’m more in tune with my surroundings than at any other time.
Why? Because I’m always on the lookout for something that no one else has seen before. I’m looking up at the tops of buildings, down at the sidewalk below me, and all around, my eye fine-tuned and ready to snap whatever unique thing it is that I see next.
I can’t let my mind wander for fear of missing out on a great shot. I’m always pushed to do new things, turn down streets I never would have before.
Photography doesn’t stop me from living in the moment. Far from it. It makes me live in the moment.
3. Everyone has a different perspective
Sometimes I get discouraged, thinking that there are so many pictures out there that there’s no way what I’m doing will be unique. But that’s not true. Everyone has a unique perspective. A unique take on the world and their surroundings. And that shows through in their photography.
Everyone has a different way of photographing things. Different compositions, different things they want to include, different editing techniques. And we’re all there at different times, meaning we’re all capturing a unique moment in time that will never happen again.
A few weeks ago I was in Trento, Italy attending a travel blogging conference, and there were about 15 of us who went on a photography workshop with Tom Archer. We all stood taking photos of the same castle on the same lake for several hours. But not a single one of us took the same photo. And seeing the results of that photoshoot on people’s Instagrams and blogs these past few weeks has been so. cool. Who knew that there were so many different ways to capture one scene?
Yes, there are a gazillion pictures of the Eiffel Tower out there. But they are a gazillion unique pictures of the Eiffel Tower, each one capturing what the photographer was thinking and seeing at that exact moment. Isn’t that pretty freaking beautiful?
I don’t know if you guys knew this or not, but… I really love to travel. Like, I’m straight up obsessed. To me, there is nothing better than jumping on a plane (or a train, or a boat, or a car, or any other form of transportation you can dream up…) and exploring somewhere new. Getting to know the ins and outs of that place. Having my mind blown by the beauty of the world and the kindness of people over and over and over again.
It’s an experience I think everyone should be able to have at least once in their life. But so many people who have the privilege to do so don’t take advantage of it.
I want to use my photos to inspire people to travel, no matter what the cost. I want to show them what they’re missing out on.
And here’s the crazy thing: it works.
It might be a small sample size, but I’ve had several friends tell me that it was my blog, and particularly my photos, that inspired them to travel more.
Who would have thought a single photo could have that kind of influence?
5. It costs me nothing
Travel costs a lot of money. And we all know I don’t have it in my budget to get super fancy with souvenirs. Or the room in my 40L backpack.
Taking a camera along costs me nothing (besides, you know, the cost of the camera and the weight on my back), and adds no extra bulk to my backpack as I go along. I like collecting postcards, too, but as my photography skills have developed I’ve gotten pretty lax on this. The photos on postcards just don’t feel like mine do. They don’t convey those unique experiences that I had.
Photos that I take during my travels both convey those personal experiences and don’t cost me an extra euro (so I can then go and spend that euro on a street waffle or some other delicious treat).
There are so many reasons that I love travel photography. So many reasons that it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. These are just a few of them. The others can’t be put into words.
Now tell me: do you take photos of your travels? Does travel photography fill you with the same kind of joy that it does me? Drop me a comment below!
P.S. Don’t forget to grab your FREE photography tips cheatsheet!