Photographing our lives is an important and beautiful way to preserve the smallest moments as well as the most momentous occasions. Photographs capture the honesty in life and enable us to remember the subtleties of our existence. When we travel, we are free. We are free to discover not only the vast beauty in our world but free to truly live more in the moment and build deeper connections not only to ourselves but also in our relationships with people and with Mother Earth.
My love for photography began over 20 years ago while photographing in the streets of my travels. I have always loved the spontaneity of documentary photography. My best tip for anyone who wants to document and photograph their travels is to open their heart, mind, and soul.
I love to photograph buildings, details, and colours when I travel, and not just the main tourist attractions. This is one of the fun things about slow travel. When you start to explore areas away from the main tourist spots, you’ll stumble upon beautiful surprises along the way.
Steer away from the obvious and the ‘take picture here’ vantage points of tourist sites and public spaces. Be in the moment, soak in all the beauty, and pull out your Smartphone or camera when something that you notice or see inspires you to preserve that moment.
Once you’ve arrived at a tourist attraction, take the time to wander around. While on vacation last summer in Paris, Nice, and Venice with my family, we took the time to soak in the culture, the streets, and loved exploring neighbourhoods off the beaten path.
For example, on the day we wanted to visit the Eiffel Tower, we purposely got off several metro stops before so that we could leisurely walk through the streets and slowly make our way there. When you embrace slow travel, which emphasizes connection to the local people, cultures, food, and experiences, it is not only sustainable for the local community and environment, but it also gives you more freedom to be in the present moment. It’s in these moments of connection where you will find inspiration and can create some of your most memorable vacation photos.
When we’re simply racing from one tourist attraction to the next, we miss the opportunity to embrace what the local community has to offer. When we have more intention about the way that we travel, it impacts the way that we document our travels and ultimately impacts long-lasting memories, the emotional impact, and spiritual growth that our travels will instill in us.
To travel is to learn about life, community, compassion, and love. Slow down. Soak in the beauty of all that surrounds you. Be intentional about the photographs that you take, and then put your Smartphone or camera down and enjoy the beauty of the present moment. Move around and capture different angles, you’ll start to see things differently when you start to slow down and look at things from different perspectives.
Photograph the shops, capture images of your food, and the restaurants and cafés that you visit. This will preserve memories of great meals and conversations shared.
I’m a huge believer that our most cherished photographs should always be printed. This is the best way to archive your photographs. Custom framed prints, gallery-wrapped canvases, and photo books are a great way to archive your favourite family vacation photos. Sure, it’s always fun to share immediately on social media; I know that I have fallen into this trap while on my travels. However, in our incessant need to immediately share the highlights of our lives online, we disconnect from being in the moment.
To travel is to learn about life, community, compassion, and love. Slow down. Soak in the beauty of all that surrounds you. Be intentional about the photographs that you take, and then put your Smartphone or camera down and enjoy the beauty of the present moment.
My absolute favourite online shop for printing your most cherished photographs is Artifact Uprising. The company is based in Colorado and their manifesto is to create joy by printing your most cherished stories. Not only are their products archival quality and beautiful, but they are also sustainably sourced. You can get everything you need from greeting cards, to fine art prints, as well as a large selection of books. They have an incredible iPhone App that you can use to upload photos directly from your phone and create a 5×5 mini book, and drop them into a book design.
Enjoy your travels. Take time to soak in the beauty. Be intentional about the photographs that you take. Archive those photos in print and create tangible memories of your adventures and travels.