Understanding and Underestimating the Power of Photographs

In the beginning, writing about my travels and the thoughts that they provoked was all for me. It was a way I could keep memories alive; a way to take me back to places I loved without the need to go anywhere at all. Only when I turned my writing into this blog, did I realise something pretty fundamental.

My photographs were rubbish!

They were mostly holiday snaps. You know, stand in front of a vaguely acceptable view with a cocktail in your hand, grinning like the proverbial Cheshire cat. And while pictures like that are great for your own mementos, they just don’t cut it when you put them in a post. 

A photo taken with my old camera – I still love it for that view of Venice

I’ve always watched other people with their cameras, and I’m guilty of thinking that maybe taking photographs was easy. It’s not. But taking good pictures means you’re rewarded. And in more recent trips, I’ve come to appreciate the mosaic of memories I’ve created through my snapping more than ever before.

My favourite photo of the poet Dante, in Verona

Reading travel blogs makes you see that although words can indeed be enough, a photo has an instant impact and the power of a strong image pulls the reader into the page, hungry for more. I know this because it happens to me all the time. I’m engaged by a photograph, and the words that seem to sing alongside it, manage to paint me into that picture. The combination makes me want to be there, or sometimes, believe I already am.

Trying to capture the colours of Munich, in the street outside the Cathedral

 

So I’ve upgraded my camera. And even though it’s still a compact point and shoot, it’s infinitely better than the digi-dinosaur I was using before. I’m also learning. When I look at the photos of blogs like Adventurous Kate, or Eurotriptips, I know I’ve got a long way to go, both in terms of shooting and in editing, too. So I scour travel sites I love in search of tips on photography and I try harder (even if it slows us down) when we’re out and about. These days, my camera comes out with me almost all the time. Just in case. 

And when I don’t have my camera, I’m using my smartphone – the potential in this is phenomenal. And with a plethora of helpful apps, I’ve plenty to keep me busy.

A different look at Liverpool – and a photo from a smartphone

I’ve started to see the world with a different eye, and it looks good! Maybe good enough for you to start to see the difference. I can only hope! In the meantime, while I’m writing up my travels from the past, don’t be too disappointed with the photography (or lack, thereof). It’s a learning curve, but I’m improving, I promise.

And if you’ve anything to teach me I’ll be entirely grateful for your photography tips!

How important is photography to you? And what advice would you give this eager to learn amateur? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear from you!

 


8 Comments

  • Aryn says:

    I know exactly what you mean about photo quality. Since most of my blog is a reflection on past travels, I wasn’t taking photographs with blogging in mind. I’ve since gotten a new camera and brushed up on techniques. I can’t wait to start traveling again!

    Aryn
    Driftwood and Daydreams

    • Happy travels! I’ll bet this time you’ll take plenty of blog worthy shots! Thanks for commenting and I’ve checked out your site – looks great and I’ll look forward to following your post-graduation journey around the world.

  • Great post. I’m thinking of buying an iPhone, my camera’s too heavy. Will be following your advice when taking my next photos 🙂

    • My phone is the HTC One S – the camera is pretty good, but I think the apps tend to be better for iPhone (from what I’ve heard). I know what you mean about carrying around something heavy! Thanks for stopping by!

  • lucyd1978 says:

    I have so many travels I haven’t written about because I don’t have good enough photos to go with them – my whole RTW trip was taken on film camera (showing my age here!) and even when I started using digital I just didn’t take enough photos to make a post out of. I’m much better though – the downside of that being it takes an age to go through all my photos after each trip! I carry a DSLR now and did a post on my kit a while back (http://ontheluce.com/2012/04/20/photography-kit-for-lazy-travellers/) – there are loads of good tips from other bloggers in the comments section.

    • Hi Lucy – I’m so reluctant to post about some past trips because I don’t have good enough photos. I just feel like they’ll let the writing down because good photos are expected. Maybe in these situations it is better to try and let the writing do the work to compensate! I also have photos from my old banger film camera, so you’re not the only one showing your age! I’m off to check out your post now for tips – I’ve been loving your recent photos from Jordan! Reckon you could definitely teach me a thing or two…

  • Gem says:

    Hi Clare,

    Was brought to your blog after a google search on Verona, and I’m glad! You’ve got some excellent photos, and I was most impressed that you are using a point and shoot rather than a Dslr, I’d just presumed you’d be using one. Definitely shows its the person behind the camera who is key! Grateful if you could let me know what camera you are now using please. Thanks x

    • Clare says:

      Thanks so much for commenting, Gemma. I’m so glad you like the blog. That always makes me smile! At the moment I use a Canon IXUS point and shoot as well as my HTC One S phone. I don’t rate my phone camera that much, but I love the Canon as it’s so easy to use and so tiny I can fit it into a little handbag. Sometimes I think I’d like to try a DSLR because I wonder what I might be missing, but when I weigh up the cost of one against the price of a flight, the flight always wins!

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