Hello, welcome to Travel Photography. My name is John Greengo. I told a photographer friend of mine that I was gonna be teaching a class on travel photography and they asked me a question that kinda stopped me in my tracks. They said, "What do you teach in that class? Isn't travel photography just like everything else?" And I gotta be honest, I felt a little offended 'cause it was like they were attacking me and my class and I was like, no, no, it's a really good class. I've based 30 years of traveling experience to hundreds of locations on all seven continents. I've organized the material. Got it all visually... Oh, you know, wait a minute. Then I thought about what is travel photography. I'm out there shooting landscapes and scenics, do people shots, doing some street photography and doing some action and that is kinda just like regular photography. But it's different somehow. And the reason that I think it's different is all the limitations that you have. You have a limited amount o...
f gear, a limited amount of time and in general, a limited amount of resources that you can rely upon when you're out there traveling. You don't have the rental store and the camera repair shop and other places and people that can potentially help you out. And I know when I'm traveling, I kinda feel like I'm just hanging out there on a limb. Barely hanging on, trying to make do with what little time and equipment that I have and I think if you wanna be a good travel photographer you need a few things. Number one, you need to be really smart about how you do everything. From where you go, how you plan your schedule, what you do on a daily basis. So you need to make really smart decisions about what you do. Secondly, you need to be organized and efficient about things. The way you pack your bag, scheduling the day, how you do things. You need to be organized and third, which is my favorite of these 'cause I like intelligence and I like being efficient and stuff, but the third is fun because it has saved my bacon so many times and that is, you need to be creative. Because you're gonna be encountering unusual situations that you've never encountered before and you don't have much to work with. But you can work with what you have. And if you're creative you can solve a lot of these problems. And I love these problems because you really get to make these things up on the fly. Well if I did this, it could work. And that's a lot of fun having out there. And so you might still be wondering how much of a difference does it make between knowing what you're doing and just taking a really fun trip taking photos. Well I think it's the difference between the pages of National Geographic and your friend's phone. You know your friend who just got back from a trip? They know you're into travel and photography. You gotta look at my photos. Let me open it up here and they hand you their phone and now as you start going through the photos, you're thinking about, I wonder what the perfect swipe speed is. I wanna get through these photos but I don't wanna offend my friend. And then you start making comments like, wow, look at that. Now that's something and then my favorite one is, now that's a photograph. It's a big difference between the two. In fact I wanna tell you a little story. And this is about two photographers. They have some things in common. Number one, they got a decent camera, they got interchangeable lenses. They are enthusiastic photographers, they're ready to go out there and capture what they can. They're going to a far off, exotic location that is just ripe for coming back with really interesting, good quality photographs. Now the first photographer doesn't have a lot of experience in travel photography. They know how to work the camera. They know shutter speeds, apertures, composition, all that basic stuff but they've not really done travel photography before. And they do what a lot of people do. They go on a trip and they see things and they're like, oh that's kind of interesting, take a photo of that. Ooh that's new, I've never seen that. They take a photo of that and they come home with a collection of photographs of things that they saw that they thought were interesting at the time. Now the funny thing about photography is that just because you photograph something interesting, doesn't mean it's an interesting or good photograph. It's a great place to start. Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes. I'll have a number of quotes in this class for ya. And it's absolutely true. There are certain places, well, I like to use a military term here, target rich environments. There are some places that are just really really ripe for coming back with great photos and that's a great start. But if you just document something that's interesting, there's a whole other set of photographic parameters that could make it a lot more interesting if you did things a little bit differently than just snapped a photo of it. And so, that first photographer came back with an album full of images. None of which were really all that great. Back to the story. The second photographer. The second photographer knew exactly what they were doing. In fact, when they scheduled the trip, they knew they wanted to get certain photos so they planned the trip during a specific time so that they knew they could be in a particular place when a particular thing would happen. And each day they went out they were thinking, how can I schedule my day so that I get better photographs in this or that situation? And every time they got into a situation where there's a potential for a good photograph, they worked the situation. They tried this, they saw it didn't work, they moved to do something else. They took a number of photographs, refining each photograph until they could get the best out of that possible situation. The second photographer came back with loads of really good images and it's because, not that they were inherently a better photographer, it's because they were more experienced, but another way to talk about experience is knowledge. They knew what to do. They just knew how to do things better. And so you can have two people take similar trips and come back with completely different photos. Now, the thing about this story is that it's a true story and normally we don't like to call out on air who these people are, but photographer number one is me when I was 20 years old. I had just got my camera. I decided to pursue a career in photography. I was getting my degree in photo journalism and I got an opportunity to go to the Soviet Union. This is when it was the Soviet Union, not Russia and nobody I knew had been there and for someone going into photo journalism, this was kind of like, this was my break point. You know, this is where I was gonna break out and get some great photos. And I thought I got good photos at the time. And I'm gonna share with you one of my favorite photos and this is a terrible photo and I hate to begin how to travel class on a terrible photo, but I wanna show you what I was doing when I was starting photography. And so, yeah there's an element I like. I like the little baby kinda taking that one step. You know, the father watching him. But there's just a lot of dead space. I mean, it's technically correct. It's in focus, it's properly exposed. But that's not what makes a great photograph. It's the subjects and things that are going on in it. Now, the second photographer in this story is also me. And I hate to focus this all on me, but I have the rights to use my photos and nobody else's, so legally it just makes it a lot easier to use. And the recent trip that I took was to Mongolia. And I wanted to choose a similar photo, kind of, you know, street style scene and we had gone through a market. It's not my favorite photograph from that trip, but it's one of my favorites because it's a nice moment in the market. I love the colors, I like the framing, I like the three characters. There's a short little story that I think this does a good job telling and that's just because I knew how to work the situation, and I took more than one photograph. And so, you know, I think I've traveled a huge distance between Russia and Mongolia and I know geographically that doesn't make a lot of sense, but we're talking photographically I have changed a lot over the years. So I really think travel photography is a big challenge and why it's always a challenge for me is because there's so many unknowns about what's going on and every trip is different. When I say travel photography, a lot of you are probably thinking about your next potential trip. The next trip that you're thinking about and there are so many different styles of trips. Some of you are gonna take cruises, some of you might be on a bicycle tour. Some of you are gonna be traveling with your family some place, so there's a lot of different ways to interpret what's gonna be going on here but I'm trying to design this class so that it can help anybody in any type of traveling situation and now that I think about it, if you're good at travel photography, you're probably gonna be good at all the other types of photography because travel photography is forcing you to make do with so little. When you have the resources of being back at home and everything around you, I think a good travel photographer is gonna be a better photographer in everything else that they do. So what this class is all about, we're gonna spend a lot of time on the approach and planning. We'll talk about some tools, and of course, different techniques and all of this is an effort to solve the photographic problems that you might have when you're out there. And of course, you don't have much to work with, so you're gonna have to use what you have very, very well. I think success in travel photography, I like this, depends on your ability to innovate solutions to problems you've never encountered. And I hope this is the type of challenge that excites you because you're fully capable of solving this because there are many, many different avenues to solving photographic problems. And so this is what should get you going. There's gonna be something knew and you know, back when I was younger, I would think, I'm going on a great trip, I hope I come back with some great photos. And now when I go on a trip I go, I know I'm gonna come back with great photos, I don't know what they are and I don't know how I'm gonna get them, but that's part of the fun. So this class will be broken up into four major sections. We're gonna talk first about the approach and planning of the trip, just to get you set off with everything in the right place. We'll talk a little bit about gear and technique. I'll warn you right now, for anybody who is really interested in gear type stuff, we're gonna go pretty light on the gear in here. Because frankly, if you can lift the camera in your hand and it has a battery so you don't have to stay plugged into the wall, it's probably good for travel photography. Just depends on what you wanna do. The second half of the class is where we get really into deep problem solving on shooting in different locations and details and how to interpret things and in the final section, people, wildlife and events and let me, I wanna ask the audience a question. I want a show of hands here. How many people feel a little intimidated about taking people photographs when they're traveling? Kind of, don't feel real comfortable going up to strangers. Well, I definitely feel that way. I've always felt that way. I feel that way now and so I'm gonna talk about a lot of different techniques for getting people photographs for shy people. It's great of you're outgoing and I've worked with Kennaugh in a number of situations traveling and Ken is just the most outgoing, friendly person. Who'll just walk up to anybody. And I've learned from her in many cases because it helps to talk to people and even if you're kinda shy, I like photography because it has encouraged me to go up and talk to people that I would never have talked and I've had some fantastic experiences because of that.