There’s something surreal about taking a photograph. The old adage that ‘time waits for no one’, seems somewhat poignant through the eyes of a camera. Deep within the depths of this clever machine, is its incredible ability to reach out and snatch highly defined – and sometimes three dimensional – pockets of time.
Have you ever found yourself peering over the edge of the Grand Canyon, gazing up at the Northern Lights or standing at the foot of the Pyramids, wishing there was some way that you could remember this moment forever – and by that we don’t mean causally taking a slapdash picture on your phone. We’re talking enrolling on one of our photography courses. In an effort to echo our sentiments, we met up with Founder and Director of Travel Photographer of the Year, Chris Coe, a self taught travel and landscape photographer, who has been working professionally since 1992.
Chris left us slightly in awe, and in no doubt that being armed with an iphone and a snap-happy attitude is not enough to win you awards...
So what makes a really good travel photograph?
That’s a simple one - impact and engagement.
Sounds simple! How do you achieve this?
To achieve this it must draw the viewer into the image. A technical understanding of photography, composition and above all light are all essential to this but the subject must also be interesting and the detail contain just enough information to tell a story but not so much that the story becomes unclear.
How does travel photography differ from other types of photography?
It doesn't as all photography is about light and composition. However the sheer diversity of subjects which constitute travel photography means that the photographer must be skilled at capturing subjects in many different lights, including artificial, and have a clear understanding of how to use depth of field and shutter speed to capture both still and moving subjects in different ways.
Which travel photographers do you think are ones to look out for?
If you mean historically then all the great photographers are work looking up, starting with Paul Strand. Personal favourites include Elliott Erwitt, Ansel Adams, Don McCullin and many, many more. If you'd like to see some of the best contemporary travel photography then check out the winners' galleries on the Travel Photographer of the Year website.
What advice would you give people interested in travel photography?
Learn how to use your camera properly. A great photograph happens in your head before you even get the camera out, but once you do you need to focus on the creative process, not be fiddling about with settings and menus.
Finally, what makes an award winning photographer?
Photographers need to be original and trust their instinct for a good image so shoot something different rather than try to copy another photographer.
If this interview has got you feeling camera shy, check out our comprehensive list of photography courses here and get snapping.