Vacation Photo Tip #5: be inspired

In the last Vacation Photo Tip #4 we marveled at new things we could try in our photography while we are vacationing. So it makes some sense to look a bit into the topic of inspiration in this little article.

Now inspiration is a tricky beast and technically in my headline “be inspired” I messed the whole thing up already in terms of linguistics. Merriam-Webster defines “Inspiration” as “something that makes someone want to do something or that gives someone an idea about what to do or create on”. Thus inspiration comes from the outside. So it is tough to ask you, the reader, to “be inspired” as technically I had to talk imperatively to the inspiring agent. But it seems futile to request inspiration from, well, a spirit as they are most likely not reading articles like. Maybe the best way to put it is:


Vacation picture tip #5: make inspiration come upon you

You may get what I mean.

There are interesting trends emerging in travel and vacation photography all of the time. Some are just a fashion; others are an interesting thing to have in your own repertoire as a photographer. Other “trends” have been around for centuries and wait to be rediscovered. There is nothing wrong with looking at other people’s pictures and letting them serve as an inspiration in the sense sketched out above.

I think it is important though to take the “inspired” seriously. It is more than just re-creating an image you saw somewhere. At least you should try to go further eventually. I am for example a big fan of the follow-me thing that is still big on Instagram. Brilliant idea. And of course I did my share of follow-me pictures in a generic way to transform them and make them usable for generic stock. But the kick was taking the idea a bit further and doing an underwater follow-me picture while snorkeling with my wife.


Some more ideas

  • There are incredible feeds of terribly good travel photography on Instagram, Twitter, and even nowadays on G+ or Google+ or whatever its current name is. Just subscribe to some of them and let inspiration come to you any time you switch on your phone. Just make sure not to overdo it – the sheer amount of imagery can also burry your will to create for yourself.
  • Look outside of photography in the narrow sense. Go to a museum or watch a good movie (any movie without superheroes or cars in it, that is). Sometimes there are incredible ideas in other forms of art that you can redeploy in photography. In my experience it is important not just to look at, say, a painting, but also at the history behind it and the process of creating it. Read a bit about how Raphael used light and how he was loved and hated in alternate turns generation after generation.
  • Talk to other people, even though it seems a bit old fashioned these days, and shoot pictures with them. Take part in a photography class, or, if you are already at your vacation destination, join a photo walk or simply seek the company of other photographers. Nothing is more inspiring than seeing other dedicated people doing their thing.

I personally try use a mixture of the things mentioned above. I kind of travel back and forth between a number of towns and in all of them I have fellow photographers I regularly meet for coffee, talk, and picture taking.


A few links

Further reading: of course when it comes to inspiration there are tons of inspirational

ideas out there. I have two links here that deal with the matter in their way:


Any more ideas on the subject? Or do you see things differently? Let us know in the comment section below!


Snorkelling woman in yellow bikini makes tempting gesture in ocean

The title stock image can be licensed for royalty free use at Fotolia: snorkeling woman wanting her partner to follow her into the underwater world

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