The Enthusiast’s Guide to Travel published by Rocky Nook — Author Jordana Wright encourages traveling photographers to explore everywhere, even their own backyard.
My hope is that the photographs I create on my journeys will inspire other people to step away from their regular lives and go on an adventure. Whether viewers choose to visit the exact locations I did or just become inspired to take a vacation or explore their own backyard, I feel most successful when I get to hear about someone longing to travel or taking a trip in response to my photography. So what separates a beautiful photograph from a photograph that calls the viewer to action? Take a look at your travel photography morgue and see what images give you the strongest desire to go out and see the world. What is it that specifically impacts you in the images? Do the images make you feel relaxed? Do they give you a sense of awe? Are you attracted to a sense of history and antiquity? Do you love chaotic photographs of bustling cities? Do you long for an outdoorsy adventure? The type of images that inspire wanderlust will vary from person to person and interest to interest, but there are a few key commonalities that will inspire most viewers:
Many of us long for solitude and will find comfort in an epic vista free from noisy crowds. On the other hand dramatic natural landscapes with only one or two people — a single person or a couple in the frame put the viewer mentally in that person’s shoes.
It is easy to project yourself into that place and that moment, as with the surfers. While seeing a photograph of a luxurious pool overlooking a vast, clear body of water the viewer has instantly wished she were there.
Unique cultural experiences
Travelers long to experience something completely new. An image of a bustling street market in China or the view from a Venetian gondola can inspire viewers to step out of their ordinary routine. Seasonally specific opportunities: Think northern lights or fall color. We are attracted to beautiful moments that are fleeting, so images that can be taken only under certain conditions or during certain times of year have a distinct appeal.
Glimpses of the unfamiliar corners of the world will always inspire wonder and whimsy. Whether you photograph a coral reef teeming with life or the craggy landscape of the Badlands, the most alien places can be the most inviting.
Images from a Costa Rican ziplining course or a rugged waterfall hike provide the promise of thrills and challenges to inspire wannabe thrill-seekers. Consider unique, iconic architecture: From tight European corridors to modern urban canyons of steel and glass, unique architecture fueled by culture and history will inspire wanderlust in lots of viewers.
When it comes to inspiring wanderlust, the possibilities are endless. As long as you approach your travels with your own sense of open-mindedness and a longing for new experiences, your own enthusiasm and amazement will carry through in your photographs. Pay attention to the details and seek out the culturally unique. Rely on your visual storytelling and essence of place and you’ll elevate your images from being beautiful to being inspirational.
Travel photography requires dedication. This series of excerpts from “The Enthusiast’s Guide to Travel Photography” by Jordana Wright is published by Rocky Nook.
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