Amateur photographers often ask me what is the best way that they can improve their photography. My answer is always that they should simply take more photos. The thing about photography is that no matter how much you read or how many YouTube videos you watch, nothing beats actually practising shooting different scenarios. Even if you make mistakes or end up with photos that aren’t sharp, you will learn far more from the experience and challenges that you face than watching tutorials.
This is one of the reasons why I always recommend that you try to travel and use the time away to practice your photography. By being somewhere and not being distracted by everyday life you will be forced to try and practice your photography every day. So here is my ultimate bucket list of an around the world photo tour itinerary that will help you improve your photography.
1. Home => Scotland
Landscape photography is a good way to begin your photography training. The great thing about landscape photography is that it can be done at a much slower pace than other genres of photography. You can take your time to really think about your composition, experiment with different settings and even try out some accessories like tripods and filters. So the first destination on the list is Scotland.
There are plenty of destinations around the world that offer themselves perfectly to landscape photography. But Scotland has a few advantages over the likes of Iceland or even North America. Firstly because of its size, it allows you to tick off many locations in a short space of time. Which also means if the weather isn’t great in one place, you can easily go to another location.
It also offers very easily accessible locations without the need for special transport like 4WD or snowmobiles. But the jewel in the crown of Scotland’s landscape is its incredible castles. There are not many places in the world that offer the array of landscapes mixed with incredibly photogenic castles. For these reasons, Scotland should be your first stop.
2. Scotland => Italy
Next on your incredible photography journey is practising your city photography of which there is probably no better country than Italy. Whether it is Rome, Milan, Florence or Pisa, Italy’s cities are like giant outdoor museums waiting to be photographed. So spend a few days or even weeks finding those famous views and capture the iconic cityscapes in perfect light. You can even explore some of the countrysides and brush up on how to photograph smaller towns and villages.
Try to coincide a visit to Italy with the Venice carnival where the whole city becomes an outdoor photography studio. This is where you can practice capturing stunning portraits either using natural light or by using artificial lighting. The great thing about photographing Venice during the carnival is that you will have a city full of willing models who will happily pose for you to photograph them.
3. Italy => Namibia
Now that you have practised photographing people, it’s time to try photographing wildlife. Nowhere on earth offers the breadth of wildlife as you would get in Africa. There are so many options depending on the type of wildlife you want to photograph but, arguably the greatest overall variety of photographic opportunities will be in Namibia. There will be the big five to capture photos of but also amazing world-famous landscapes are thrown in for an extra incentive. In the evenings you can also practice some astro and star trail photography for those once in a lifetime shots that will take your portfolio to the next level.
4. Namibia => India
Time to dive into some street photography. There is no better place in the world for that than India. A country that is all about extremes and for a lot of people it can be very overwhelming. But if you allow yourself to fall in love with what it can offer photographically, you may never want to leave. Whether it is the streets of Delhi or the ghats of Varanasi, India is the best place to practice capturing those authentic and candid street photos.
Because of the sheer volume of photographic opportunities, you will have ample time to practice in some challenging conditions. These might include low light conditions, fast-moving subjects or even just the sheer volume of people. Whatever the challenges may end up being, you will become a better photographer after spending some time photographing India.
5. India => Vietnam
From the craziness of India to a different kind of crazy in Vietnam. This is where you can bring it all together and practice all you have learned so far. Sure you can practice your street photography in Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi. Or take cityscape shots in Hoi An and even landscapes in Halong Bay. But you can also begin to practice photographing foods and the incredible and colourful ingredients on offer in one of the many markets in the country.
This is also the place to practice your architectural photography by visiting the many temples in Vietnam. The combination of all of these makes Vietnam one of the best countries in the world for photography.
6. Vietnam => Home
Now that you are well practised in most aspects of photography, you can put it into practice in your home country. Wherever you live in the world, the opportunities for photography are there. You just have to be willing to work hard to find them. One of the things that all photographers experience is that they find it easier to photograph other countries than their own. The best way to combat this is to make yourself a shot list of places, ideas or even specific things to photograph when at home. This will ensure that you can continue to put into practice what you have learned.
There you have it, an idea of a once in a lifetime trip to inspire and ensure you come back a better photographer. Now, in reality, this will be beyond the realms of possibility for most of us doing it in one trip. So you can still use this as a potential bucket list of destinations. The point of this is to get you to try to think about going to places with specific scenarios and objectives in mind. But mainly to actively use your trips as photography shoots. Because being away and focusing on photography will ensure you get the practice in to become a better photographer.
Photo credits: Kav Dadfar – All rights reserved. No usage without permission. Dreamstime.