Travel Photography – maximize your earnings – Part 1

Now that I am back from my vacation in Spain and London, and have started to go through my 2100+ images, I will write first about what I look for when I am travelling and how I approach the processing and selection of images. I’m doing this in parts, as the whole thing could get too unwieldy.

Tilting at Windmills

Tilting at Windmills

I’m writing this now that I am back home, so the first question of what to shoot is me thinking back about why I took certain images. As I mentioned in a previous post, I had two camera kits with me – a Canon 5D Mk III with 24-105mm F4, 70-200mm F4, 16-35mm F4 lenses. To save weight, I left my 50mm and also the 1.4x convertor at home! Still, this is a pretty weighty pack and even though my backpack is comfortable, it still takes some handling. My second camera kit was the far more humble Sony RX10, which I have reviewed in an earlier post. The Sony has a reasonably large sensor, and a built in 28-200mm lens. No dust, no changing lenses, it just gives you a wide range of options for framing the shot. I used it almost entirely in Aperture priority, but with the auto ISO setting. What did I find? I ended up with 1100 shots from the Sony and 500 from the Canon. Many of the Canon shots were panoramas and difficult HDR shots, and so I have many individual frames for what will be one final image. I had my travelling tripod as well and so I usually looked for a good overview of a town for an evening or broad panorama, and as I was close to the car or hotel in most cases, the Canon was the right choice for those. Thinking back, I could probably have just used the Sony for the whole vacation, which makes you wonder what we spend all the big dollars for!

So what do I look for? First, remember that you are on vacation! It is supposed to be relaxing, not chasing around for every possible view and shot. So I tend to do the things that my wife and I like to do – wander around the narrow streets, visit the cathedrals, castles, museums, and generally behave like a tourist. Stopping for meals and a cool beer is also on the agenda. We did our research and had a good idea of the best picturesque towns and villages and tried to fit those into the route. But stay flexible as well – the evening before one leg of the trip I checked on Google Images for our chosen region and found a great shot of a hilltop town called Iznajar that resulted in us taking a detour over the mountains. First, one with the Sony:

Panorama of Iznajar

Panorama of Iznajar

And then from the Canon (the original of this is 13,300 x 4600 pixels):

Panorama of Iznajar and lake

Panorama of Iznajar and lake

But, back to the story. In each town I try to look for shots that illustrate that place. Perhaps some food shots in the famous market “Mercado de San Miguel” in Madrid:

Sony at 800 ISO

Sony at 800 ISO

or a more unusual shot of the Prado Museum in Madrid with Goya looking over the entrance area:

Goya overlooking visitors to Prado in Madrid

Goya overlooking visitors to Prado in Madrid

You will notice that I don’t try to always take a shot without people – for travel shots (which are often editorial in nature), images can legally show people and brand names as long as they are sold as editorial. I don’t upload these to the microstock sites generally – they go to Alamy, Corbis and Zoonar and onto my own stock site. Of course, they may not sell very often, but they sell for higher amounts. I also can use them in response to image requirements on ImageBrief as that site currently doesn’t want to see images that are available on microstock agencies.

Don’t forget the night time shots – especially if you have brought a tripod along. I particularly like overviews of cities such as this shot of Toledo at sunset and then one a little later with the illuminated cathedral (both HDR shots with the Canon):

Toledo at sunset

Toledo at sunset

Toledo Cathedral at dusk

Toledo Cathedral at dusk

While you are at it, watch out for detail shots that illustrate something going on in a town (in this case an annual festival/elongated drinking session), but could have broader uses (any article taking about the problems of feeding large groups for instance:

Feeding the 10,000

Feeding the 10,000

Finally, don’t forget the agriculture and local landscapes. Andalucia seems to be the mecca for growing olives – we drove for hours on country roads and all we saw were olive trees growing on every piece of land and flowing over the hilltops. Try to capture that feeling of being surrounded by olive trees:

Olive trees as far as the eye can see

Olive trees as far as the eye can see

Well, that is about all I can think of just now. In part two I will write about what I do when I get home with my images. Happy Travels!

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4 Responses

  1. Lance says:

    Great article, a man after my own heart.

    Just wish I had 5,000 in my stock portfolio 🙂

  2. admin says:

    Thanks Lance – did you see this blog post via FlipBoard? I created a magazine over there and was not sure how it was going to work?

  1. October 31, 2015

    […] 1 and 2 of this extended post have discussed what to take on a travel vacation and then how to select and process images on your return. I’ll now turn to keywording and […]

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