Learn how to photograph your journey like a professional, without dispelling any of the magic of the experience, with Strobist.com founder David Hobby.
- Hi, my name is David Hobby and welcome to The Traveling Photographer: Fundamentals. I will be your instructor and your colleague, and ultimately, your traveling companion in this course. I'm gonna tell you right off the bat that this is not the typical photography course. In fact, I would go as far as to say it's probably different than any other photography course you've ever taken. I'll also tell you right off the bat that The Traveling Photographer is not about travel photography, per se.
Think of it more this way. The Traveling Photographer is about the balance between traveling and being a photographer carrying a camera. So, we are going to look at many, many things and not really concentrate on f-stops and shutter speeds and ISO and focus and framing and composition, and all those things that you're used to in normal photography courses. If you think about it, anyone can pick up a camera and push the button. So, if that's what made great pictures, then everyone would be able to make great pictures, and that's absolutely not the case, as we all know.
To me, the most important parts of photography happen in the time before you press the button. That's not just like the 30 seconds before you press the button. It's like the months before you press the button. It's the thought process, it's the research, it's the learning to train yourself to think like a photographer, and that's when great pictures are really made. Pushing the button is just like the last thing in a sequence of events that records that moment and makes the picture. So, we're gonna spend a lot of time on the journey and training yourself to learn to think like a photographer, really.
Travel is a fantastic time to grow as a photographer. Everything is different. Your environment is different, your food is different, people are speaking a different language, your schedule is different, your family dynamic is very different. You're thrown into a relatively small room with your spouse and your kids, perhaps, and that's a different experience than working nine to five and coming home and seeing the kids in the afternoon. It's a neat time to grow as a person, it's a fantastic time to grow as a photographer. That said, I've seen cameras ruin a lot of vacation, frankly.
I've seen cameras ruin the family dynamic while on vacation, and this is something that I think is very important to learn to manage and to watch out for, and to do the things that allow your photography to make your trip a much better experience, both during and after, and not to fall down that trap of the camera and your photography completely absorbing the whole trip, which, if you don't pay attention, is exactly what will happen. So, we're gonna be starting out here like at the light table. This is sort of the classroom intellectual thinking portion of the course and it's important to go through this because this will lay the foundation for everything else that we do.
From here, we will go outside, we'll visit some nearby cities, and that's another thing to think about. You don't need to be 1,000 miles away or 10,000 miles away to be a travel photographer. You can visit your local city as if you were visiting like a traveler, going out at the right times of day and the right parts of the city, and being observant, I guess, is the best way I can put it. But you don't need to be a long way away to experience being a traveling photographer.
You'll learn to plan effectively, choose the right gear, interact with the people you meet, take photographs efficiently, and—most importantly—create the mental space and time to actually enjoy your journey. David visits some nearby interesting destinations, proving that a great travel experience is not always about a far-flung destination. Along the way, you'll learn how to "decode" any city as a true traveling photographer.
Ready to explore more exotic locales? Check out The Traveling Photographer: Hong Kong.
- Thinking like a photographer while traveling
- Choosing gear wisely
- Balancing travel with photography
- Taking time to craft an image
- Being a chameleon
- Meeting people
- Managing photos from a trip