Hey, who doesn’t like a good vacation? If you’re anything like me then a big part of the vacation is not just going to be what you see and what you eat, but a good portion of it will be what you get to take home with you.

One of my favorite things about traveling is simply the opportunity to go experience other cultures. Our planet is full of such incredible diversity that I am beginning to think that it’s impossible to experience it all. But that doesn’t stop me from wanting to try. Granted, I’m not the most well-travelled person out there with a camera, but I have visited enough places while lucky enough to have a camera with me, and I have learned a few things over the years.

The biggest lesson that I have learned is to stop worrying about trying to get the perfect shot all the time. Sure, having the tripod and the time to capture some unique shots of these unique locations is always a blast. But if you spend so much time trying to get one shot that you forget to enjoy the rest of the experience around you, then you’re still missing out. For me, my travel souvenirs are almost exclusively the images that I bring home with me. Yes, I want a couple epic ones that can get thrown up on a large print, but I have often found myself capturing some of the smaller moments of things that simply don’t exist where I live.

One of my favorite things to do is to simply take the time to just observe the people around me, just doing their natural thing, in their city. Just observing what life is like in this place; enjoying it and appreciating it for what it is. A full immersion experience into another place and another culture — I love it. Then I like to find a couple of candid opportunities to capture something that reminds me of what this culture is really like, usually something that is intrinsically different that what I see in my own home town. Obviously, don’t be an idiot about it, be cognizant of who you’re trying to capture and whether or not you should be aiming a camera at them.

The main point that I’m trying to make here is to remember to take the time to enjoy everything about the trip, not just the final destination. Sometimes it’s the individuals who help you out along the way, the ones who point you in the right direction, the ones who are just doing their job in their corner of the world that makes the trip worthwhile. Every once in a while, try capturing such people as they do what they do, because those pictures always have a great story behind them instead of just being yet another random photograph taken in yet another random place across the world.

What’s your approach to photrography on vacations? Share some tips in the comments below.

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