Over on the Flickr Travel Photography group, a simple question on tips to get the best travel shots turned into a discussion on the subject of appearing in your travel shots.
Some of the group members thought it funny seeing tourists positioning themselves in the shot of a famous landmark or beautiful scenery. Others were completely against this and did whatever they could to avoid tourists being in the shot and never took any shots of themselves whilst travelling.
One of the reasons for appearing in your shots is to act as a memory hook. Enabling you to remember a particular place and time when reviewing old travel photos. However, personally, I find the shot of the place or landmark itself is enough for me to remember where I was when I took the shot. I don’t need to be in the scene as well.
I remember on a trip to Egypt a few years ago, I often had to wait sometimes up to half an hour to get a shot I wanted. Every time I was about to take a photo someone would wander into view. At touristy places you can’t really get angry with this as they are there to see to sites just as much as you. Being patient is definitely an advantage. Although there have been a couple of occasions where I’ve politely asked someone to move.
Of course, its also sometimes useful to have people in the shot as it lends a sense of scale to the objects you are photographing. Those viewing your travel shots may not be familiar with your subjects and being able to judge whether a carving or ruin is 6 foot or 60 foot based on someone wandering through your shot can often help immensely.
So how about you? Are you the type who always grabs a photo of yourself in front of a famous landmark to prove you were there. Or do you tend to hand around for ages waiting for everyone to clear out of the shot? Let me know in the comments.