Skip to main content

Travel Photography

Lesson 31 of 32


John Greengo

Travel Photography

John Greengo

Starting under


Get access to this class +2000 more taught by the world's top experts

  • 24/7 access via desktop, mobile, or TV
  • New classes added every month
  • Download lessons for offline viewing
  • Exclusive content for subscribers

Lesson Info

31. Events

Lesson Info


Alright, the final section is Events. And these are things that you might attend, that are a little out of your control. It's a festival, it's a parade, it's a ceremony of some sort. And there's gonna be an opportunity of shooting lots of pictures, and this is, this can be, get very overwhelming because there's a lot to see, and there's a lot of potential, and you need to focus your energy on the most important areas. So a few quick tips on how to do this. First off, be early. There's a lot of things going on. We're at this one festival, and they were gathering around for photographs for anyone, and everything. Figure out where you can get to. Are there balconies you can shoot foo-oo? Can you, are you allowed over here? Can you be over there? Knowing what you can do when the time comes. Be prepared. Sometimes these places, bathrooms are hard to access. You don't know where the food is. You wanna be set up for potentially hours of shooting. They can have some of the most difficult shoot...

ing conditions. You can be under really low light. You know, in a low light playhouse, and you need to figure out how to optimize your settings for the lighting conditions there. What ISO, how fast a lens do I need? Kinda know what to expect. Are they going to do a flyover? You know, that way you can be prepared with the right lens. The more you know about the event, the better you will likely get photographs of those situations. There are certain situations where you're just not going to be able to do a lot. This is a gigantic festival, and I'm not allowed to just walk up on the field, and take all the photos I want. And so I'm not going to be able to get wide-angle shot up close. It's just not available in this situation, so I just think about, okay, what do I have, and what can I do from here. Figure out what the major obstacles are. I'm really far away, but I'll shoot the video screen. Figure out what's gonna happen, and where you want to be when that action happens. And, as important as the action is, possibly more important than the action is the reaction. So turning the camera around, and photographing everyone else that is watching what's going on is very important. So those are my top 10 Event Tips. And so, I'm gonna run through a couple of examples here, and then we'll get to the close on this. Alright, in Cuba, I happened to be there very shortly after Fidel Castro died. And there was a lot of public events going on in Havana, Cuba. There was a long line to get in to the memorial area, and we got there, it was late at night. It was dark, it was kind of hard shooting situation. And there was a lot of people, they were very subdued. But I'm looking for certain elements. And so they have some graphics on the buildings, which are a good little element there, cause they help tell a story of Cuba. The flag is good. And, you know, I was shooting up, we had terrible access. Like, you know, there was events, things going on way up there. I have no chance to shoot. And so, I'm gonna focus on more the people around me. Focus on what I can do, not what I can't do in this situation. And as I look around, I'm seeing these signs, these buildings, and I see these two gentlemen here. And this is, this is almost there. It's almost a good shot. The poster on the right hand side is obscuring the sign in the background, and it's got a lot of glare on it. But a moment later it gets moved, and there's a nice repetition of faces that talks about this moment, I think very well. And so, it was my favorite moment of the photograph. I'm not photographing the lead speakers, and all the people up on stage. It's the people reacting to what's going on is just as interesting in my mind. So, you can focus on these symbols that are easily read in photographs. Patterns of faces in this particular case. And trying to keep as clean a frame. This is a cluttered, messy environment, you can't clean it up perfectly, but do what you can to clean it up. Fantasia, this is a horse event that takes place in Morocco. And, it kinda interesting, I've never seen this before. They have, like, 16 men on horses and they ride down about 100 meters, and they all fire their gun, boom, at the same time. Or at least they try to, and if they don't do it well, you hear boom, boom, boom. And the crowd goes, "Boo." (laughing) And so, I said, "Okay, I want them running straight at me, "I wanna see 'em straight on." You know, the seven astronauts walking towards the camera, glory look, and I'm not allowed there. Some photographers got access there, cause their Uncle works in security or something, but I'm not allowed there. Okay, so, goal one out the window. Now, I'm roaming around the stands trying to figure out how to shoot without people's heads in there, so I kinda wiggle my way up to the front of the fence, and I'm shooting some nice close ups that are as clean as I can get. Coming down, I like them all synchronized here, pretty good. And then I would continue to shoot around, and oh, it's kinda some back lighting going on that I kinda liked. And then I took one photo that really changed everything I was looking at. And I caught the firing of one of the guns. And I looked at that and I was just like, wow, I didn't realize that's what happens when they fire these type of guns. And so that changed my whole mindset, okay, I'm not standing in the right spot. I need to move down towards the end where they fire the gun, and I'm gonna try to time the picture when they fire the guns. And so this is a bit of luck here. But they kept doing it, so I had a lot of opportunities. And there was a lot of ones that I missed, and there wasn't anything very interesting. But eventually, after enough opportunities, I did get one that I think captured it really nicely, and so, I got one nice muscle burst. In the bottom left, I got some nice back lighting with that horse tail flicking up in the air. And nice, lot of smoke there to fill it up. And so, it's working the scenario. Picking up clues, what's working, what's not working. Going with the flow in this case. And so, don't worry about not having press credentials. You can still get great photos from many other locations. Just look at the elements. What, narrow down what you're liking about a particular scene, and follow those clues. And if there's a big payoff, go for it. Go for that great shot. Okay, one more and after this we'll get to the close. Now this is one of my favorite shots from... Where were we? We were in Turkey in this one, is that right? Yes, I believe we're in Turkey. I've been to a lot of places. Yes, this is the Grand Mosque of Bas-rah. And I've been to a lot of these mosques. And it's kind of interesting, cause most of the mosques you would walk into this big rectangular room, and there would be a rope that you could stay on one side of and photograph. From over here you could go left, and you could go right. You could photograph, but you couldn't just wander around. And in this one place, the unique thing that was different was no rope. You could wander. You could go wherever you want. And so I had a lot of fun shooting symmetry shots in the ceiling. And they had a lot of graphic displays on the walls. And they had a bunch of people over there praying, and I thought, well, this is, you know, this is really showing, you know, people and the artwork, and the mosque. And so I was just trying to work with the different angles. And I thought you know it's a straight wall, I should probably be shooting this more straight on. And, I don't know, it just was kind of clumsy, and things weren't really organized. But then I found that one thing to stand apart, and it's this, this one gentleman here closest to the camera. He was definitely just sitting back, very, very peaceful. Made me feel very relaxed. And so I was standing behind him. I put my camera in the silent mode, so that I wasn't making much commotion. And I'm just trying to work the scene here. Let me try vertical, cause there's a lot of vertical lines here and... No, that just doesn't work out. And so I was going back to horizontal, this is too wide. And, my favorite shot is just a slightly different version of it, this one here. And, you'll notice that there's just a little bit of space by his head. I wanted to have him in the middle of the frame. I wanted to shoot him straight on, but I didn't want his head touching this other person there, having that little space is very important in there. And so the edge on this one was I was allowed to roam freely, and so think about what's different about this situation, that you can work to your advantage? Try to keep things as simple as possible. Be quiet, and be quick.

Class Description

Are you going on a once in a lifetime trip and want to have photos that you can share with friends and family? Do the decisions of what to bring, where to shoot, and what to capture feel overwhelming? Travel photography can feel challenging, time consuming, and expensive. But with the right tools you can plan and prioritize to come home with images that you treasure.

Join photographer, educator and author John Greengo, who has photographed all over the world, as he guides you through all of the steps that you need to capture the photos that you want during your travels. This class will offer different plans of what to bring, and how to create a realistic agenda based on your priorities, whether it’s documenting your trip, telling a story through photographs, or simply capturing great images.

John will teach you:

  • What gear to pack based on your goals.
  • How to create a media storage plan and workflow while traveling.
  • Best practices on how to find and scout the best locations to photograph.
  • How to approach locals and build trust before taking their portraits.
  • Camera techniques and settings for different shooting scenarios.
  • Different types of travel photos, such as The Walk Away, The T-Shot, and Environmental Portrait.
  • What to do with your photos once you’ve returned home.

Don’t let the challenges of travel photography keep you from capturing images that will provide you with lifelong memories. Join John Greengo to learn the best techniques, tools, and technology to capture great photos no matter you limitations in time, money and resources.



As usual John has been an awesome instructor. He is so energetic and fun. I love taking his courses and this was no different. I absolutely loved it. I have learned so much by taking his courses. Thanks John for all you do to help us beginners out.

Melissa Maxwell

So inspiring! This class is so comprehensive and I look forward to applying all of Greengo's tips. He is a wonderful instructor and the example photos are breathtaking.

user 1399347749726793

John is fabulous ... and so inspiring! I can travel the world and live vicariously through him! I've watched John for years and always find that he teaches me something new every time! Thanks John and CreativeLive for another awesome class!