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Buy a postcard instead

Should you shoot really well-known scenes?


This picture may prove you visited Death Valley, but it can't compete with postcards of the same scene
This picture may prove you visited Death Valley, but it can't compete with postcards of the same scene

IS YOUR TRAVEL ALBUM BORING?

Maybe you shot a lot of beautiful views and scenic landmarks, but the pictures are not all that interesting in your album. How come?

Landscapes and famous sites are a challenge, especially the well-known scenic views for which holiday locations are identified. Everyone shoots scenic vistas, but few landscape photos make it to the top.

A great landscape or seascape doesn’t just record the view; it presents it in an interesting, eye-catching way. A landscape has to be truly spectacular or different if it is going to succeed and make it to postcard level, and you probably didn’t go on holiday to become landscape photographer of the year.


COMPARE YOUR PICTURES WITH POSTCARDS OF THE SAME SCENE

Compare your photograph of a famous holiday vista with the same vista you can buy on a postcard? Can you really compete when you are only there for a few minutes to snap the picture?

The photographer who made that postcard image carefully planned his or her shot, waited for the right moment, for the best light, selected the best view, and then shot it using equipment that would probably rival the cost of a NASA launch. That scene may even have been shot twenty or thirty times over the course of several days, weeks or even months until one image was good enough for a postcard.

When you are lucky enough to come upon a great scene, shoot it.
When you are lucky enough to come upon a great scene, shoot it.

These Martinique schoolgirls became professional models when paid about 25 cents each to pose
These Martinique schoolgirls became professional models when paid about 25 cents each to pose

Sure, you may be lucky and come upon a glorious panorama in spectacular lighting that is worthy of a postcard. By all means, shoot it. You'd be crazy not to. Those occasions come rarely. They are called serendipitous, and you have to take advantage of them. If you have the time, and a keen eye, and you see the possibility for an even better picture of a scene that appears on postcards, go for it. But, don't ruin your holiday by spending hours attempting to take pictures that have already been made into postcards. Why compete when the odds are stacked against you and you can be doing more productive things with your time? You would be better off to buy the postcard if all you want to do is bring home a photographic record of the gorgeous scene.

PERSONALIZE YOUR HOLIDAY PHOTOS

Your holiday shots should have people and interesting things in them that relate to your experiences while traveling. They are what makes a personal travel album interesting. Such shots provide you with so much more to talk about when showing friends your pictures.


Anyone can find a good shot of Death Valley on the internet, but no one else will have your shot of the school children in Martinique who wouldn’t let you take their photograph unless you paid them twenty-five cents, or the picture of the pleasant couple you made friends with by your resort's swimming pool.

Travel photos that are personalized are far more interesting (for you and anyone looking at your travel album) than generic shots you can find on any post card.

A picture will always remind you of the nice couple you met poolside.
A picture will always remind you of the nice couple you met poolside.