Stephanie Yoder a RoamRight Blog Author

7 Offbeat Things to Photograph on Your Travels


If you look at enough Facebook albums of Paris or Rome or any major tourist destination, they all start to blend together. The same shots of the Eiffel Tower or the Colosseum, the food, the skyline, maybe some wildlife; the same pictures over and over.

There is a reason people all photograph the same things: they are iconic, or interesting or beautiful. There's no reason to avoid those typical shots, but, if you want your photos to pack a little more punch and to really illustrate the local color, here are some alternative photo opportunities to seek out:

1. Graffiti

Some spray-paint is just unattractive visual pollution, but when it's done well graffiti is a legitimate art form. Street artists around the world use graffiti to convey political messages, social commentary, and sometimes just to create beauty. They can add a punch of color and edge to many street scenes. Photograph these temporary masterpieces wherever you spot them for some extra street cred.

2. Supermarkets

You will have plenty of chances to photograph famous markets, but small local food shops, farmer's markets and even regular supermarkets can make interesting picture subjects. Poke around long enough and you are bound to stumble on an interesting culinary or cultural find: live eels at the supermarket in China, fresh heirloom tomatoes at a road side stand or an extensive selection of cheeses at a local market in France.

3. Cemeteries

Yes, some cemeteries are already tourist attractions; Recoleta in Buenos Aires and Pere Lachaise in Paris come to mind. However, even less famous cemeteries deserve a careful look through the viewfinder. Oftentimes they are a terrific photography subject and provide unique cultural insights. Mexican cemeteries for example are festively colorful while Victorian-era British cemeteries are stuffed with elaborate statuary.

4. Dogs and Cats

They aren't the most glamorous foreign wildlife, but there is something about adorable local dogs and cats that is irresistible. Whether they are scrappy street dogs or pampered pets, canines can pose for powerful photographs. Cats don't really pose, but they will often ignore you long enough to capture a great picture.

5. Houses (or parts of them)

Old Town sections of cities are an obvious place for taking pictures, but next time, instead of trying to capture an entire building, focus on small details. Tightly framed colorful windows, strange doorknockers or bright tiles roofs all make for interesting photographs.

6. Cars

Sometimes everyday objects, like cars, can be an interesting way to capture the mood of a city. Think abandoned metal skeletons in a California ghost town, colorful punchy Volkswagens on the streets of Valparaiso or a sleek Ferrari cruising through Monte Carlo.

7. Urban Decay

Often travelers strive to find and capture the beautiful parts of the world, while ignoring the less savory elements. However, this only tells half of the story. Whether it's a house that's caving in, a row of broken windows or a cracked and weedy street, pictures of urban decay can perfectly illustrate an otherwise intangible atmosphere.

Next time you head out with your camera, keep an eye out for one or two of these subjects and let your travel pictures tell a story that is about more than just the major tourist attractions.

What's your favorite offbeat photo subject?

Note: Available plans and coverages may have changed since this blog was published.


About the Author

Stephanie Yoder

Stephanie Yoder, a RoamRight Blog Author

Stephanie Yoder is a girl who can't sit still! Since graduating college in 2007 she has either been traveling or planning to travel. She's lived on four continents and visited everywhere from the Great Wall of China to the Great Barrier Reef. She now writes and travels full time, blogging about her adventures on Why Wait To See The World? (formerly Twenty-Something Travel). Follow Stephanie on Twitter or visit her on Facebook.

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