If you are passionate about travel photography like me and decided to start a travel blog and keep up with your social networks, you will understand what I am talking about.
“Content” is what we need to maintain our blog and social media channels alive.
And what happens when you do not feel like taking photos? When you have no inspiration to write? When you are a travel blogger but you are not a millionaire and you do not have the time or money to travel constantly? Well, these are questions that go through my head every day and I thought it would be good to share my ideas with other people who are going through the same situation and help them to create content.
Tell a story
About a year and a half ago I took a course called Documentary photography at Ipad, Peruvian Institute of art and design in Lima, Peru. This course helped me a lot to understand the process of how to tell a story through photography.
Something that has helped me a lot, is to work on my content and my photographic material in sequences and concentrate on a single subject.
The theme can be anything that inspires you, for example if you write about travel, you could choose to take pictures and make a small documentary of your neighbourhood or the typical dishes of your country.
If you are traveling, then obviously you will choose to talk about the country you are visiting as your main theme, but do not forget that within a theme there is another theme.
If for example you are traveling on an island, maybe you can make a documentary about the best beaches of that place. What matters is to “focus”. Before you travel you can even choose a topic of your interest so that you can start focusing on it and you can save time.
When you visit the place, take many photos. Take panoramic pictures using the rule of thirds, a blue sky can do wonders! Also take pictures of the details, so you can vary and have enough material.
Select your photographs
It is advisable to make a final selection of a minimum of 20 and a maximum of 25 photographs that you will place in the order and sequence that you will decide. It can be in chronological order or you can put them together according to the composition and colors.
It is not an easy task but you can do a first a pre-selection of 60 photos and then discard those that are technically incorrect, such as those that are overexposed or blurred (it happened to me that my best photo is blurry). Is a shame but you have to discard it. Also in your photo series there must be harmony, do not forget that you are telling a story! You can not put two photos that are almost the same because it is boring, each picture represents a part of the story. In a written story you would not write two equal words next to each other, wouldn’t you?.
When editing your photos is good to use the same type of editing, what do I mean? If you decide to edit in black and white, perfect! Then all will be in black and white. If you decide to put a lot of color and saturation, it is also a good idea but choose your edit style and be consistent so that it is pleasant to look at and the person that is looking at it knows that they belong to the same series.
I use Photoshop to edit my pictures and almost always I use the same settings because it’s my choice, because I like it, because it’s my style, anyway; try to find your style. Some people put a magazine-style white filter on all their photos, others with more skills find the perfect balance between color and intensity and those who like the surreal world, mix fiction and design with photography. The roads are infinite but it requires time, patience and curiosity.
Sometimes I spend hours watching photography tutorials on Youtube, trying out new techniques and at the end I discard my work for not being satisfied. Well, it’s a process and that depends on you and how much time you have to invest in it.
Write your captions
When you finally have your 20 to 25 photos selected and you have edited them, it is time to write a story for each photo. “Each photo is a door to a small world”.
When it comes to travel pictures and you want to tell something about a country, its traditions or tell something about its history, it is not that easy as we are talking about facts and we are not giving a personal opinion.
That’s why I recommend taking your time to do a research job, I am not telling you to become a specialist in the subject but at least read something about the place you are visiting.
For example, I have the immense luck to be a member of a library with a lot of material and I have become addicted to borrow books, I love it! especially because I am not going bankrupt buying books, I pay an annual fee and I can borrow many books! and if I do not like them, I’ll give them back. I like to use books because the information most of the time is reliable, it is well thought out, a book is not made overnight, today there is a sea of information on the internet, good information and bad, real and fictional. If there is a library near your place, I recommend you that you visit it and inform yourself if it is worth to become a member and what kind of books they have.
When you visit a temple, museum or other tourist or non-tourist attraction it is always good to take some free brochures with the information of the place, that will help you to remember the details of your visit, you can also take pictures of the information boards for visitors.
If there is someone you can ask questions about the history of the place or maybe if someone can tell you some interesting anecdotes, that would be nice! That could help you to give a personal touch to your story.
Once I had a conversation with the guardian of an old mansion, (cultural heritage in Lima) and he ended up telling me stories that you will not find in any book, stories about the family that lived there, tragedies and even ghost stories. We chatted for two hours and that was better than any guided tour I’ve ever had!.
Don’t forget to take something to make notes with you, In that way you will not forget important data, this will help you to remember things when writing your story, especially the first impressions and feelings when you get somewhere, are important, write them down!.
Remember to not copy, try to read, explore, have your own experience and then share your point of view with others, if necessary you can write the source of information of the bibliography as a reference at the end of your story.
Share your work
Once you have finished your work, it is time to share and publish your work. Congratulations!
Here I share the final series of photographs of my visit to Little India in Singapore.
Of 95 photos I decided to edit 23, what predominates in my work is the color, is a visual journey through this vibrant neighborhood.
If you would like to read the final article about “Little India” you can find it here
If you would like to see the series of pictures with their respective captions that I will publish on my Instagram account, you can find them here.
Thank you so much for reading my article and visiting my blog, I hope you like it!