10 reasons why you should always take photos on your vacation, even if you're not into street or travel photography at all


Hello to everyone, who is reading this!:) We're living in mid summer right now and many are off to their summer vacations and/or are yet planning one alone or with their families, and I wanted to talk about one topic, which has been going through my mind lately, as I just came from my trips to Spain and Russia myself, where I always pack 3 things no matter what happens - and these are my dresses and shoes ..and my cameras. And while this could have been odd for me before, as I am not the one, who is into taking too many snapshots during travels, as I want to see it with my eyes and not worry about taking that superb shot I could later share on Instagram or let it all "die" on a hard drive in my photo archives, yet I believe that even if you're like me and want to have those beautiful memories without a necessary need to capture them for yourself or social media, even if you're not into street and travel photography and you're just willing to enjoy your trip and leave your camera at work for even once, but if taking your camera with you wouldn't hurt, these are the things I have listed here that could possibly change your mind:) Or maybe just give you some inspiration and something to think about. Please, have a look:)


My "10 reasons why you should always take photos on your vacation, even if you're not into street or travel photography at all":

1) The first one is obvious. You might not come back to that specific place ever again, so use your eyes to not just capture the beauty around you and store it in your mind while enjoying the moment, but take a few shots to have a photographic document to illustrate the atmosphere of it, too, because, trust me, you will regret it, if you just saw something extraordinary and didn't take your shot, while it was right there in front of you. I know you are not at work, but going to new places, where you might not travel to ever again without your camera or a willing to at least take several photos there is sad. And while somebody would say that living the moment is the most important thing and sometimes cameras aren't the best idea, as it could be inappropriate to shoot in some specific locations and/or you are missing real life, while looking through your viewfinder, you can still combine those two quite well - especially, if you will carry your camera with you in any way and being able to shoot some images during your trip won't really hurt you.

2) And, speaking about totally the opposite, creating memories is one of the main reasons why people are willing to capture their moments of life in the first place. You might live it with your whole heart, enjoy your trip without a need to rearrange your real focus, but it is always nice to look through the gallery of photos after you just came back home, seeing the same places all over again and connecting these moments you've felt while there with the photos you managed to capture. And if you were taking portraits of your family too during your walks to some remarkable locations, I can guarantee they will be happy to get back to beautiful professional photos instead of just their phone images, and you could also print the photos to be placed in a family photo album later on, so you could always get back to them all over again and continue to discuss these happy memories with your loved ones, as if you were still there after many years have passed.

3) Despite the fact that most photographers don't really like most typical and overcrowded tourist locations and would rather go to wander around the city all alone and search for real life, avoiding the cliche landmarks and such - both as a tourist and in their photos, there is still a market for them. If you are traveling with other people and you are destined to visit famous places sometimes at a rush hour, looking at museums located along the main city streets while walking around and taking those tourist shots of typical locations with typical angles is not so bad after all, as you will get some pretty easy and great shots and might want to sell these images to the stock agencies or your local travel agency and so on. These photos are always needed by them and it could be a nice easy way to combine travel and work, while walking to your next "typical" tourist location:)

4) Constantly changing locations is my number 4 here, because if you are living and working in one place and stay there for most of your time, it is really hard to get creative and find new interesting places, where to shoot something different and new, and in worst case scenarios you just get so used to them, that you don't even want to try to search for anything new, because you have some of "to go" places you already know so well and that will work for you time after time (in other words, it is safe and boring). Traveling to different cities or city areas each day instead or even just walking around on a new street opens so many possibilities of taking pictures of totally unfamiliar area to you and it is so interesting to discover what is hiding behind the corner without truly knowing the outcome and gives a real chance to make that spontaneous shoot (and unpredictable bunch of pictures shot with a fresh eye as a result). As if you walk same path all over again, it is quite unlikely for something extraordinary to happen, unless you are standing there every day or there is some happening, so use your chance to take pictures along the way no matter where you are going and don't be afraid to let it surprise you instead. Best pictures we take are never planned and life never waits for nobody. Go get it!

5) It is a good practice. Logically coming from the previous one: when you don't really know what is coming or going to happen and have to constantly adapt to the weather and fast location changes, all you really have with yourself at each moment is your eyes, your camera and your hands to capture the beauty (..and, of course, few spare lenses and cameras, that you probably can't switch too fast, or even carry with you, because you are either limited by maximum weight resrictions on your plane or just don't want to carry everything with you, because you still remember it's your vacation), so this way with your minimal gear you are getting yourself back to the basics, where nothing should be distracting you from the main idea of what photography really is - shadows and lights, focusing on your subject and creating captures filled with emotions and that are being originally born by what your eyes can see and what is then delivered from within your beautiful and unique soul. Styling and accessories can enhance the final picture, but the truth is somewhere in the original frame. This practice is also a good test for any "photo emergency" situations as  I call them, where professional photographer has to finish each shoot no matter what and what kind of and how many the tools are and it helps you to detach yourself from any additional things that we, of course, need in order to produce best possible result, however going minimal and doing the best you can should be in the core of this process, so you control the gear and only know how and for what to use it and are not being controlled by it.

6) After mentioning the weather in number 5, I must also point out to the vivid & delicious colours, good lighting & a lot of sun usually seen in the most hot and southern countries, where you can sometimes enjoy some really amazing and smooth natural light of a very good quality through the whole day - sometimes shorter and sometimes too harsh sun lit for e.g. outdoor portrait shots, but it all will vary based on geological location of your destination and where the sun position, humidity, the existing month of your travel as well as time of the day will all have its effect on the obvious outcome - your photography, and if you're planning to go to the North in winter or shoot on a extremely hot over 40°C degrees beach, you must always consider this when thinking of your main shooting light (and the lack of it). However, most of us choose to travel to much warmer places during summers to escape in there (and escape studio photography only and finally get to shoot outdoors), therefore I am mostly talking about that beautiful silky sunlight and places filled with these amazingly strong and perfect colours, exotic locations, that are, of course, exotic to you. I once did my comparison between my editorial/fashion shoot using only natural light I did in Spain and then compared it to what I did in Finland and Russia, Saint-Petersburg, using same method and guess which photographic sunlight I loved so much more?

7) Back to the street photography question - I must say, that even without considering yourself as a pro street photographer, each time when you are taking pictures on a crowded street, you are still documenting life at its finest and these photos will stay as part of history of that day (apologize, if this sounds too serious, but it's true, unless you never meant to try to take decent shots) and specific place, even if it's only for one viewer - you, and knowing that is enough information for you to try to make the best out of it and think of it as of doing something truly important, because that's what you are and your sight may one day become truly iconic with practice and dedication to your work. You may be just taking photos of people passing by, on their way to their jobs or during their time off, alone or with friends and their loved ones, you may never even publish them or show as part of your own portfolio, but you and your camera were there, and I think there is no good street photography without literally going out on a street and trying to find something meaningful in every possible scene. Remembering the masters, finding something special about the ordinary, seeking great and interesting compositions of what one can see and sometimes just taking pictures with your intuition is all you need.

8) ..And shooting daily life is very easy for a "tourist" photographer. Going on vacation won't probably let you stand alone in the empty city in anyway, unless you are heading on an island for some serious relax and in order to avoid other humans while there, therefore you will always be surrounded by life and will see real local atmosphere every single day, even if it's truly not what you are willing to shoot during your trip. This doesn't at all mean that you have to become a photo journalist all of a sudden, if, let's say, you prefer to be shooting landscapes or still-life as your main hobby or a job, however this regular local life all around you, truly captivating for a usual curious tourist with a fresh childish sight, will hopefully give you a new perspective on how you view those regular things that are regular to you, yet different to them, and could make you learn how to find the singularity in what might look like ordinary at first glance. It could be a facade of some old building that caught your eye or the way the sky matches the colors of the sea - only you decide what will make a great shot, but the most important thing is that through walking in the middle of random foreign city street full of life, while trying to capture what matters to you and matches your style and complements your sight, you will learn to see the beauty of things that awaken your soul.

9) As vacations usually progress and vary between tourists, who just want to sleep on the beach or go to visit all local sights instead of it, and depend on many other factors like company, season and the budget, also photography during your trip will probably look very disorganized and memory cards containing portraits, cityscapes and some animal photos in addition to lots of street and documentary shots can make your head go round after coming back home and getting your hands on backup and the editing. Of course, taking pictures here and there during vacation can seem really odd to some extent and unlikely will make it into your main portfolio (especially if you are a portrait/studio photographer or work with fashion and still-life and so on, or you just want to focus on simply one thing and don't want to spend your time on anything else than that), however these random shots can really help you later, when you will suddenly need to illustrate your own blog or some magazine articles with this theme related photos, or will come up with a brand new idea for something needing the exact images you took (- trust me, it always happens). If not for this reason, but you will definitely regret going to that island or a trip and not taking any shots (or not enough shots, which is usually my case) while there, while having a camera with you. Taking a picture is far way better than not taking any of them, and who knows, maybe your shot you just took will manage to succeed in some future photo competition or your artistic photo will take place in some famous exhibition etc. and you will then thank yourself for not being lazy and trying to take the most out of your trip, trying to shoot images that could be interesting, especially if you shoot digital and can focus on deleting anything that didn't work out later (film photographers will now probably kill me for saying this and I know it doesn't sound very good or right, when we go back to the idea of photography), but your excuse is your holiday time (and not enough time to stop and make it perfect for each frame, when you're on the rush to eat, entertain family, fight with that GPS and watch out for the possible thieves waiting for a weak moment all at once), so don't make pressure on yourself and if you want to take a picture of that monkey, because it looks cute and you're there, just do it! Don't be too tied to your professional image and allow yourself to play:)

10) And more about the courage, which is my favourite point here - trying new genres (e.g. street photography or travel/landscape etc.) is a really great thing. Without any doubt or kidding it could actually be your serious career change (in case if you really like it) - you never know. So many average photographers specializing in something could possibly try something totally opposite and suddenly realize that their talent lies in these shots (or even in some new profession). And also without ever trying, how can you really know that something could become so special to you? Something you never thought of or even considered. The point here is to keep trying and never think there is nothing to learn

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..So, here are my top 10. Are there any other points you could share? Maybe I have missed something, but, all overall, I think, that taking photos on vacation for a photographer is a question of taste, because most colleagues that I know always carry their cameras with them - even on a walk back home, because it's a lifestyle to us. I don't go to these extremes, however I enjoy taking all kinds of pictures on my vacation and I like having lots of variations in genres and styles, so there is always something new - to edit and to try. I can't say, whether vacation shots are of some "serious" portfolio material quality, because they were taken more carelessly and casually than our regular work, but if you can create a body of work or a series from them, that would be strong and illustrate your passion and style, then why not? But I'll leave this for another discussion. Now I'll get back to sleep:) Yours 💜, Veronica Lounge / Photographer & Editor of Lounge & Lifestyle


Veronica Lounge

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