Close-up (detail) vs Long Shot (panorama) in Travel Photography

You can usually characterise and recognise famous travel locations by means of one or more landmarks (natural, historic, architectural…) that are generally well captured by a “long shot.” In fact a panorama, an aerial photograph or a very wide shot can very well work as an establishing shot that identifies the place at the beginning of a travel article. Yet, for as much famous and beautiful a place can be, the list of establishing shots for a given place is finite and known (if it wasn’t known, you couldn’t use it to identify the place!) and therefore boring. An extremely popular location may have a long list of such landmarks (the Big Ben, the Houses of Parliaments, the London Eye, etc) but not an infinite one. Furthermore, some locations are so famous that the sheer amount of photos already available make the task of taking a better one, or even one that simply can stand out in a search, daunting.

Case in point: a recent short trip of mine, on the island of Capri, in the Bay of Naples, yielded the following examples.

Marina Grande, together with the Italian coast (Costiera Amalfitana and Penisola Sorrentina), are a long-shot that immediately identifies the place. You cannot use this image to describe any place but Capri

Marina Grande, together with the Italian coast (Costiera Amalfitana and Penisola Sorrentina), are a long-shot that immediately identifies the place. You cannot use this image to describe any place but Capri

The "Faraglioni" are a famous rocky formation, natural landmark of Capri, an island in the Bay of Naples. If you see this image, you immediately know where it was taken

The “Faraglioni” are a famous rocky formation, natural landmark of Capri, an island in the Bay of Naples. If you see this image, you immediately know where it was taken

If you are not after typical travel photography, you do not need your place to be immediately recognisable in the photo and you do not need to rely on long shots only. On the contrary, if you are after stock photography you will find that pictures that are as generic as possible must possess a level of abstractness that is more easily achieved with close-ups and photos of details. Fortunately, no place is so boring to only offer nothing besides a few famed buildings or views, especially from a photographic point of view: the details you might find are many and limited only by your ability. As a stock photographer, you may find a treasure in the close-ups available in any location and, if the location is beautiful, not only the trip becomes more pleasant but the eyes can wander around looking for details with greater pleasure.

A photographer’s wandering eyes may identify what can easily become the subject of close-ups, surely less recognisable than the long shots, or even completely anonymous. This is good because by moving away from long shots to close ups, the photographer may gain in abstractness and produce photos that can have a much wider appeal one the photographic stock market.

Capri is not written anywhere here, yet this combination of pastel colours, clean lines and beautiful light is hard to find

Capri is not written anywhere here, yet this combination of pastel colours, clean lines and beautiful light is hard to find

You cannot recognise Capri in this picture (neither can you recognise me!) , yet only in Capri you can so easily find such pretty flowerbeds ready for being photographed

You cannot recognise Capri in this picture (neither can you recognise me!) , yet only in Capri you can so easily find such pretty flowerbeds ready for being photographed

A nice weather is necessary to have such a beautiful house entrance

A nice weather is necessary to have such a beautiful house entrance

This pretty restaurant utilises the typical colour of the island (turquoise) and combines it with beautiful flowers and a welcoming open space

This pretty restaurant utilises the typical colour of the island (turquoise) and combines it with beautiful flowers and a welcoming open space

You can barely spot the Italian coast and Mount Vesuvius in this photo, where the main subjects are the railing and the clear blue sky

You can barely spot the Italian coast and Mount Vesuvius in this photo, where the main subjects are the railing and the clear blue sky

This frame is very generic and could be anywhere. It offers nice design elements for architectural subjects

This frame is very generic and could be anywhere. It offers nice design elements for architectural subjects

All photos were taken with a Fuji X-T1 camera equipped with a 10-24 Fujinon XF lens.

Posted in Italy, Places and Travel, Short photo essays Tagged with: