How to capture the essence of the place in travel photos

We wheeled our suitcases down the street towards the harbor, and all we could think was, “This is a gorgeous place! We can’t wait to start taking photos.”

Other photographers filled the old town snapping iconic views of the Venetian lighthouse and the harbor. Sure, we eventually took photos of all those, too, but wanted to go beyond the standard “postcard” snaps.

As we wandered through Chania, Crete for the month, we discovered our own iconic views. Some themes we used for capturing our photo-story are listed below:

Architectural details – with a splash of color:


Walkways are narrow, colorfully painted, and flowering vines are everywhere.


Windows, stairways, stone blocks.


Animals make a nice addition to a photo:

DSC07640 - Version 2

Cats and dogs, many stray, are all over Chania and are tolerant of the many visitors to the island.


Weather–related details improve the story:


A different way to photograph the walkway along the sea came when a storm off the coast caused the sea water to spill on to the sidewalk


Public art tells its own story:


We walked out of the old part of town along the sea. No tourists in this area! A statue graced a small park on the bluff looking down to the water.


Antiquity adds character:


Old and crumbling buildings are common through the old town. This was a favorite.


One of the archaeological sites in Chania.

In the end, our photographs should record our personal experience and trigger our memories of a beautiful month spent on a sunny Greek island. Each photo should be like a short story with its own tale. Yes, take a few of those iconic shots, but we think you might add a few that tell your story and that truly capture the time and place.


July 2014


About simpletravelourway

Beth and Joe enjoy simple travel.
This entry was posted in Around-the World - 2013-14, Greece and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to How to capture the essence of the place in travel photos

  1. Ah, we also have warm memories from Chania!

    Terrific travel photography tips. In this day and age where ‘selfitis’ (addiction to taking selfies) is actually a medical condition, it’s refreshing to read about much more interesting ways to record personal travel tales 🙂

    – Verne

  2. Thanks for the like – great post! I have definitely tried the whole ‘capture an animal in a beautiful street’ thing before!

  3. It’s great when you find the places tourists don’t go to. There is so much of interest off the beaten track. My favourite photo is the cat. He looks very comfortable there.

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