Photography travel: Choosing your destination

So, you've decided to better your photography and are ready to go far in search of the best travel destinations and the most scenic locations.

Where should you go?

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Close to home

Well, the short answer – and the good news – is: It doesn't matter. You don't have to change your life while trying to achieve better photographic results. You need to practise more, that's for sure, but it actually doesn't matter where exactly you do it.

Forest near Andel, Moselle valley, Germany#4 • Forest near Andel, Moselle valley, Germany

Let me explain. A stunning destination alone doesn't make for stunning images, nor for any good ones, for that matter. Many a picture taken in the most beautiful places is just... banal, at best. Vice versa, there are many captivating images emerging from seemingly unassuming locations.

Why is that? The proverbial beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The true mastery of a photographer is to convey the beauty (s)he saw in a scene to people who weren't there. When poorly communicated, beauty will be lost in translation and in the end ignored by the viewers. By contrast, beauty discovered in the unpretentious and unveiled through thoughtful presentation will surprise, delight, and inspire your audience.

So, don't change your habits. Take your camera with you when you go outside for everyday commuting, weekly shopping, or yearly vacation. Stay in the environment you are comfortable with. Use the advantage of knowing something by heart, and try to look at it with your heart to find new angles and hidden gems. This seeing with the heart will shine through in your images. Don't take my word for it, see for yourself.

And if you do want to learn and try something new and different, continue reading for some suggestions.

Specialised photography travel

Photographers have long been discovered as a distinct target group by various tour operators. Not surprising then, there are many of them offering custom tours tailored exclusively to photographers' interests. Their itineraries are planned with these in mind, and therefore scheduled to visit several scenic locations as well as provide permanent attendance and guidance by professional photographers. By definition, these journeys are meant to address aspiring landscape or wildlife photographers.

A typical day on such a journey would normally comprise spending plenty of time on location actually shooting, with evenings reserved for presentation and discussion of the results. This part in particular could be a valuable assessment of your talent and skills, rarely achieved before your usual audience of family and friends.

Businesses offering such tours can do this exclusively, i.e. catering only to photographers with their entire programmes, or sporadically, designating some of their catalogue entries as "photography travels".

An example of the former would be Rockhopper Workshops which organise trips to diverse destinations selected by the very professionals accompanying the tours. Having a leader with the own, genuine interest in the matter can be very inspirational, and not only on a photography expedition.

In Europe, Light and Land offer a similar range of landscape photography tours and workshops, also including several choices for German-speaking customers.

As for the other photography travel category, many expedition cruise companies, aside from having a professional photographer on board of each and every departure, will reserve some of their sailing dates exclusively, or mostly, for photographers. Lindblad Expeditions is one of those operators, but by no means the only one.

In addition, an increasing number of land-based tours are being advertised as photography-friendly. If you are interested in a specific destination, a simple web search should provide you with enough choices of photography travel opportunities.

My favourite destinations

If you are eager to try your camera in a new location without the pressure to deliver perfect images at the end of each day, I plan to compile a series of photography travel guides to some of my favourite destinations. Use them for planning your own photographic adventure.

This is as wild and as civilised as it gets, in a place where both extremes are barely an hour drive apart. The island halfway between Europe and North America has it all, and in spades.Skógafoss waterfall, IcelandDown • Skógafoss waterfall, Iceland
The name of the planet's biggest island might be the first hoax known to humanity, but its unspoiled natural beauty is nothing but stunning.Ilulissat Icefjord, West GreenlandPlain • Ilulissat Icefjord, West Greenland
You can live without visiting it, but after having seen it you'll be kicking yourself for waiting. Go now.Black-browed albatross, West Point Island, Falkland IslandsMy head is a bird • Black-browed albatross, Falkland Islands
In a dedicated newsletter issue, follow me along the coast of the happiest country in the world, all the way around the North Cape to the Russian border—and back.Old town, Trondheim, NorwayEn face • Trondheim, Norway

Tags: #photographytravel #sceniclocations #amazingplaces

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