Each place we visit has its own particular look, character, and ambiance. If we want photographs of our travels to be good and lasting, they should capture all of these qualities, and say as much about a place as give the literal look of it.
First and Foremost, think about what made you decide, out of all the places in the world, to choose this destination. Read brochures and travel books. Go to libraries, bookstores, or onto the Web. Talk to friends who have been there. Pick up travel information at the country’s embassy. Find whatever you can that is relevant and devour it.
It can also help you understand things people do that at first encounter you might consider incomprehensible or even horrifying. When you arrive at your destination, be open and try to take note of the first impressions—write them down if you have to. Get out there. The only way to discover the rhythm of life in a place, and so figure out what to shoot, is to experience it. Get lost. Wander down alleys. Sit in cafés and watch life pass by. Don’t eat where the tourists do, but where you see locals. Always have your camera with you and always keep your eyes open. Just set off down a street and see where it leads. Look around the bends, over the rises. Get away from the crowd.
Above all, work the situations over. Never be satisfied with your first view of a place or the first frame you snap. It’s always possible—and usually likely—that you can come up with something better.