Photographs are my favourite souvenirs along with a stack of some well-used travel diaries. In years to come, I like the thought of having pretty pictures and faded, torn books filled with my own handwriting to look back on.
Documenting a trip is fun and fulfilling but you want it to look like it was you who did it. It's easy to see a stunning photo online and then be drawn to take a similar image for yourself but my most treasured photos are the ones that are different and are mine. In order for a photograph to be your souvenir, it has to have a unique stamp on it. Also, I find I only look back at photos so fondly if I believe they look somewhat professional (even though I am the one taking it) I don't want to remember special memories with bad photos!
The following are some photography skills I've learned along the way and suggestions on how to make your photos yours.
LIGHTING IS EVERYTHING
Lighting can either make or break a photograph. Harsh, direct sunlight can prevent a photo reaching its true potential and you might end up creating something you did not envision in your mind.
The best time of day to snap is during the Golden Hour. This is the hour before Sunset or shortly after Sunrise when the sun is low creating beautiful golden colours. Natural light is stunning! Try taking photos during Blue Hour when the sun has just set or yet to come up. The tones of colour are a mix of flattering pinks, soft blues and purples.
Early mornings are a stunning time of day to shoot film, it's quiet, the colours are warm and there are very little tourists around to get in the way of your photos.
Watching the sun fall inside Sukhothai Historical Park, Thailand
After sunset on the island Hvar, Croatia
MAKE IT INTERESTING
A great way to make to your photos different, unique and to find your own style of photography is playing with Shadows and Reflections.
For outdoors, depending on where the sun is positioned, interesting shadowed or silhouette images can be created. Next time you're out and about - walking, exploring, being mindful - concentrate, try and spot shadows and silhouettes around you. Also, try capturing yourself, other people or pretty scenery reflected on water.
If you're indoors, use a mirrored object to shoot a reflection or the window light to catch a shadow and capture a unique portrait.
Making shadows on the back of a Scooter in Pai, Thailand
'Reflecting' at the Kota Kinabalu City Mosque in Borneo
HAVE YOURSELF IN THE PHOTO
The most obvious way to make a souvenir photo an exclusive to you - is to have you in it. If you're always behind the camera, you will end up with dozens of images of scenery, nature, beaches, waterfalls (which is wonderful) but you won't have any of yourself!