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How to make Travel Photos, while being at home?

Do you want to go on a journey?

But one without all the problems like a jetlag?
But also one in which you still have the travel "feeling"?
Well, than you're at the right blog!
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We're photographers, right?

If I go to another country, I take many photos.
And I bet you do that too.
I guess that must be something in the human nature,
to want to have something to remember them to their fun on their vacation.
All people, not only the photographer-like-ones, take photos when they're on a vacation.
Well, unless they're staying in a all-in hotel and don't do anything except for eating ice cream. 
Those who aren't photographer-like-ones usually only take pictures at places or with people they think are worth to be remembered (most of the time these places are worth to remembered).
This is something they do so when they are back home, 
they will think about that wonderful day and feel the vacation-vibe.

But there is something else many people take with them to remember their vacation except for photos and thoughts.
Something very simple, yet so attractive to buy that I had to buy a extra suitcase to store it.
Souvenirs.
You know, those little plastic things that you put on a shelf but never look at?
Well, dust them of 'cause we're going to use these things to take Travel Photos!

How to make beautiful Travel Pictures of dusty plastic souvenirs.

Before we will start at all, you have to do some preparation:
  1. Get your camera (and lens etc.)
  2. Get some souvenirs 
  3. Get some tissues to dust the souvenirs of
  4. Get some water (if you get thirsty, this is better than coke)
Okay, have you got everything ready?
Than let's get started!

What to do?

I'm going to divide this post in two parts:
  • How to set up the scene.
  • How to photograph it.
And both will be in this post, so prepare for some pretty lengthy stuff.

How to set up the scene.

This is the most fun part of the post.
Think about the vacantion where you got the souvenirs from.
Think about the vibe back there.
About the sounds, the smells.
Do you already feel like you are back at your vacation spot?
That's excatly what I thought!

Now, what souvenir reminds you the most of that vibe?
Of the smells and sounds.
Okay, picture the scene back there.
Where could you fit in the souvenir.
Like where did you see it, for example:
  • A shell at the beach
  • Chinese lions in front of a temple
  • A stone in the mountains (odd example, I know.)
  • A mini Eifel tower in Paris
  • A mini tower of Pisa, in Pisa of course
So, you've got an idea?
Good, get yourself a big sheet of cardboard.
Set up your scene and your ready to go.

Now you've got the "components" of the scene, it's time to create the vibe.
Ask yourself: "What's missing".
What made that moment unforgetable?
Was it the smell?
The temprature?
The sounds?
Or maybe a combination of all?
So the thing is: "How to you capture a sound or a smell (or both) in a picture?"

I will give you a example:
A few years ago, I was in china. When I entered a (random) temple there were a few thing I still remember today. It was crowded, hot and smokey. So how I'm going to capture this in a picture using a couple of porcelain Chinese dragon-lion-like-things, a roll of tape, cardboard, sand and post production. First: (I don't know for sure) there was a moongate, like the door of a Hobbit hole. Make this out of the roll of tape, and make the walls out of taped paper. Then put it on a sheet of paper coverd in small grain sand. Put the lions in front of it. And when you take the photo, hold a green sheet of paper behind the doors to make the post prodution easier. Play with the lighting to give it a midday look.
Isn't that a good example?
I already mentioned "taking a photo" so here we go to the second part of the post:

How to photograph it. 

This is a quite important part.
Since the picture must reflect the vibe there,
it musn't look to tiny-sized.
So try to keep your aperture value as high as possible.
And your ISO as low as possible (I always try this, just esthetics....)

As mentioned earlier, you should play with the lighting to imitate the time of the day.
Also play with the colour of it, by holding a coloured sheet of paper in front of the lamp.
Or take the picture using real daylight, at the right time of the day.
For my this is a problem , because in the Netherlands we still have a bit of snow.
And always those darn clouds.

Make sure there isn't any shadow on the scene, because that would look very unreal.
Like there was some kind of giant there.
Oh, that's also a great idea:
A photo series about some kind of pet or object in a miniture scene.
I will post something about that later.
Well, this piece is quite short isn't?
Let us continue to the next part (Bonus!):

How to do the post production.

So, what do we have?
We have a photo of a empty scene without a background.
It looks like it was taken there, and then.
Okay, I had three points which I clearly remembered from there:
  1. It was hot
  2. It was smokey
  3. It was crowded
In the photo I already coverd point one, the hot point.
Just by making it look like it was taken at a hot time of the day.
You could make this even better bij adding a slight heat distortion effect.
But then I had point two and three left.
So, how to solve these?

Well, that's where post production comes in!
To make it look smokey, just add a layer of smoke.
Add a new layer and paint some smoke one it.
You can "copy" a photo of smoke.
Somebody else would explain a way to do this better, but if you want just search google.

For the crowded point, you will have to paste in some people.
If you've got some miniature people, you could put these in the scene since that's easier.
If you've got some miniature soldiers, like my dad, you can put these in too.
You can, later on, just change the look of them.

And finally the background.
The actual temple.
Just delete the green screen so you've got a transparant area in your picture.
Then make a layer with (only) the temple.
And for the sky, just make another layer with a photo of a sky.

You'll just have to make all the exposures fit and you're ready!

But remember:
The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearence of things, but their inward significance. 
What Aristotel was trying to say, is that you shouldn't capture what you see, but what you feel in a picture. Make the picture tell what you felt, not what you saw.

Mel

P.S.

Please comment, so I know what to improve.
I ain't got no program to edit the photos right now.
Next week the photos of this and next week will come at the same time.
Stay tuned!






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