5 Reasons I Take Travel Photos

Hoenswangau Castle, Germany

Hoenswangau Castle, Germany

Many people tell me proudly every day, “I don’t need a camera to travel.  I have it all up here.”  This appears to be a really common attitude among “world travelers” and backpackers, but it seems really strange to me.

Sure, nobody needs a camera to travel – in fact, I wasn’t even going to bring one until my parents bought me a DSLR out of desperation – but it really doesn’t hurt, so here are five reasons to take travel photos:

1. There’ll come a day when you’ll want to look back:

It might not be tomorrow, it might not be a year from now, but some day you’ll be telling somebody about the time you slept in the Sahara or climbed mountains in Poland, and they’ll say, “Wow, you must have some great photos,” and you’ll wish you did.

Or you’ll be thinking back to all the great friends you made that summer in Lagos and never kept up with and you’ll wish you had something to remember them by.  Even if you don’t now, one day you’ll wish you had taken at least a few travel snaps!

2. You’ll never regret taking travel photos, but you might regret not taking them:

This one seems obvious!  What have you got to lose from taking photos?  If you’re worried about people knowing you’re a tourist, don’t worry, they do.  And that’s fine, you are a tourist…  So start living in the moment and stop caring what others think!

If you don’t want to spend big and fill up your 7kg carry-on with a big heavy DSLR and three different lenses, just pick up a $100 compact camera that you can slide into your hip pocket.  You really have nothing to lose!


My carry-on from Perth to Amsterdam

3. There’s no better time to take up photography than while traveling:

If you’ve ever wanted to get into photography but haven’t had time or the energy or anything good to shoot, this is the perfect opportunity!  There’s so much amazing stuff to see and shoot that even as a complete amateur, you’ll be able to wow all your friends with how good your photos are.

You’ll have interesting subjects in every photo, AND you’ll get to experiment with wide landscapes, short sharp portraits, and colours you’re not used to.  If you start your trip as an amateur in photography, by the end of it you’ll look back and be shocked at how far you’ve come!

Amsterdam, Netherlands

One of my first travel photos

4. People do want to see what you’ve been up to:

Now, this one’s certainly not the most important to you, but your family and friends will definitely appreciate your travel photos.  The night before my flight, my parents surprised me with a brand new camera.  It was something I hadn’t even thought of packing, but they weren’t having any of that.  I hadn’t even thought of my poor mother!  Of course she wanted photos!

Travel photography can be a way for your family and friends to keep up with you, but it can also be a great inspiration for them to travel!  Some of my friends who are stuck at home have seen photos I’ve taken and instantly sworn they would find time to travel this year.  When it’s you showing them photos and not some fancy professional photography website or Lonely Planet book, it all becomes so much more real.

5. It can help you see things in new ways:

Now, this is a controversial one.  Many travelers say they want to avoid “living through a lens”, and that’s a valid concern if it takes over the way you see the world…  But it doesn’t need to!

You can really appreciate the beauty and awe in a moment in time or particular place if you’re actively  looking for it.  Now, before anybody says anything, there are maaaany ways to appreciate your surroundings, and taking travel photos is just one of them, but it definitely shouldn’t be discounted.

If you’re looking for that perfect photo to sum up the mood and atmosphere of the city you’re in, you might really start think about exactly what it is that makes Budapest, or Istanbul, or Brussels unique.  Some of the best travel photography in the world is a simple photograph of a person that really shouts, “This is what my city is about.”

Essaouira, Morocco

Essaouira, Morocco