Have you ever felt like you’ve taken too many photos on a trip or have been too focused on getting the perfect shot to enjoy the moment? Professional travel photographer Sharon Matthews-Stevens recently told me that on average she only uses about 10 per cent of the photos she shoots and as a budding amateur photographer, I typically use far less.
“The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see.”
-Gilbert K. Chesterton
To help you truly immerse yourself in your next trip, here are my top seven ways to take epic photos without ever touching a camera.
1. Hire local photographer
In a recent post, I talked about making a huge mistake on a trip to Costa Rica with my wife. I took hundreds of photos of plants, animals and the scenery, but only a small handful of photos of the two of us. I needed Flytographer. Operating in more than 175 cities around the world, Flytographer connects local photographers with travellers. Their team is trained to discreetly capture candid photos, while sharing insider tips about their hometowns. Flytographer helps travellers capture stunning vacation photos as they make their own memories.
2. Pick up postcards
Want a perfect picture of a historic site or national treasure? Pick up a postcard! They’re cheap, available in virtually every gift shop and feature stunning photos. The next time you find yourself in front of a crowded monument and feel the urge to snap a hundred photos, dig your hands into your pocket, pull out some change and support a local business by buying a few postcards.
3. Travel with a photographer
Okay, this is admittedly a little more work, but if you want a break from snapping photos, travel with someone who’s into photography. Take turns being on “photography duty” and make sure to snap lots of photos of each other!
4. Surveillance photography
There are thousands of security and webcams broadcasting live feeds around the world right now. Jens Sundheim, an artist based in Dortmund, Germany, has become an expert in surveillance photography. Beginning in 2001, Jens made it his mission photograph himself on hundreds of security cameras around the world. When he arrived at his destination, he’d phone a friend at home and have them take a screen shot of his security camera appearance. If you’re interested in getting travel photos from a unique perspective, give Jens’ technique a try.
5. Hashtag your adventure
Can you spot someone with a smartphone? Ask them to take your photo and post it on Twitter or Instagram with a unique hashtag for your trip. You may have done this at weddings or special events, but why not while travelling? It’s a great way to chat with new people while taking original photos.
6. Spook your trip!
Candid photos are often the best photos, which is why photos from haunted houses and rollercoasters are so fun to take and share. Stow your baggage and camera gear and take delight in the fright.
— Visit Niagara (@Visit_Niagara) March 15, 2016
7. Narrative Clip
Just clip and go. With Narrative Clip, you can capture unexpected moments without any bulky camera gear or effort. This tiny camera can be clipped on to your shirt or bag and takes eight megapixel photos every 30 seconds. No fuss. No muss. Photos can then be accessed on the Narrative smartphone app.
The next time you’re visiting a new city or exotic town, try to be a little bit less of a tourist and more of a traveller by putting away your camera and taking in your surroundings.