On a recent vacation, we spent a few extra days in Budapest. The first day after we arrived we went on a private walking tour. I thought I’d share not only images but some advice and tips for taking photos during a tour.
When I made the reservation for the tour I let the tour guide know that I was a photographer and wanted to be sure I had a little time to get some decent images without being rushed. Granted, there were three other people on the tour so this was not all about photography in any way.
Do your homework as well. Look up the locations you know you’ll be stopping at. This particular tour was described as including city highlights with specific sites listed. It also touted hidden gems, you know, the places only locals know about. And a stop for a local delicacy along the way.
Don’t be annoying or rude
It’s one thing if you’re on a tour with other photographers, but if you’re traveling with friends and relatives, or strangers, do not be that annoying photographer who is always holding up the group. Be aware of where you are with your gear so that you’re not in the way of the other tour members.
Also, do try to pay some attention to the tour guide. You hired them for a reason. And while my husband typically does all the listening to the history and stories while I photograph, I still put my camera down at times so I could hear the stories the guide was telling. These stories can help you frame some of your images. When you get home you’ll also know what it is you were photographing and the story behind it.
Ask the tour guide questions
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Again, it’s why you hired a guide in the first place. Learn from them. If you see something you want to photograph that isn’t included in the main description or what the guide is currently pointing out, ask them.
We were walking near the Dohany Street Synagogue that I had stopped at in 2005 and I knew there was a memorial sculpture there that was beautiful. I asked if we could wander over to it and see it. If I hadn’t asked we would have just continued on to the next stop of the tour.
Expand your view
Don’t limit yourself to only taking photos of what you typically photograph. Because I focus a lot of my work on architecture, I included that during our walk. But, it’s not the only thing I focused on. I’ve mentioned before that telling the whole story of a trip or place is important, especially when you are traveling.
Photograph the streets, the people, the food. Focus on the details of a place that are unique and unlike what you see at home. Pay attention to the colors around you and be sure to include those in your images. Be aware of what draws your attention whether it’s in your usual genre of photography or not.
Keep an eye on what your fellow tour members are looking at and seeing. It’s like having extra sets of eyes to help point out interesting things. We can’t be looking everywhere all the time as much as we’d like to.
Don’t forget to record video
The sounds of a place are also great to have and listen to when you return home. Don’t forget to either grab your phone to record video or use your camera. Either way, it’s a fun way to re-experience those moments.
Have fun on the tour
Always have fun. I feel like many of us get hung up on bringing home the iconic image or that epic shot. In that process, we’re so zoned in on making sure we get ‘that’ shot that we forget to have fun. For one, you are on vacation, relax! Put the camera down. Enjoy.
One last thing — make sure to get photos of you and your family and friends. I tend to forget this.