Travel Photography Tip #4: Negotiate Up Front

Before we get started with this week’s travel photography tip, some of you have probably noticed I am massively behind in answering comments right now.  Mea Culpa – things have been somewhat frantic recently, and are likely to be so for the next couple of weeks.  Rest assured I read and appreciate every single comment (yes, even the spam!), even if I can’t always respond right away.

Travel Photography Tip #4: Negotiate Up Front

For most people, travel photography is just aspect of their holiday activities. This is especially the case if you are travelling with a non-photographically-minded travel partner (be that your significant other, family member, or friend). When trying to balance travel photography against other activities in your limited holiday time, you may want to consider negotiating travel photography time with your partner/s before you go.

Black and white picture of Birds in Motion, St Peter's SquareDiscussing things up front means you can agree some time for travel photography take a priority, and some time when you’ll let it take a back seat in favour of their priorities.  One point that is frequently raised post-holiday by keen photographers is that they’d ‘hoped for more time’ for photography.  But there’s no point hoping you’ll be able to squeeze some time in, and feeling disappointed if it doesn’t work out, if you didn’t tell your travel buddies you wanted to do it in the first place. Of course, this works both ways – they probably have something they want to dedicate some holiday time for as well.

When I went on holidays with my sister (who is well aware of my tendency to be easily distracted – for long periods of time – by photographically interesting objects), we spent some time before we left discussing what we really wanted for the trip. While we generally have fairly similar travel preferences, there is one difference; I enjoy photography, and she doesn’t (and she loves museums, while I can take ’em or leave ’em).  Based on what each of us really wanted to do and see, we easily came to a agreement on when I would try and keep the impact of my photography on the schedule to a minimum, and when she’d accommodate (reasonable) requests for extra photography time.

The most important thing about these discussions was not the resolution we ended up with, but the fact that both of us were on the same page, and that we were both aware of each others priorities.  We didn’t need a detailed agreement – just a sense that both of us were willing to compromise to make sure we both got what we wanted out of the trip. And it worked – she got her museums; I got photography time when I really wanted it, and we both had a brilliant time!

(Read more of the Travel Photography Tips here)

25 thoughts on “Travel Photography Tip #4: Negotiate Up Front

  1. Haha… Yes now this I have done before… I’ve negotiated days when they spend it relaxing by the pool, while I disappear with the camera… I’ve also found that early mornings are quite acceptable, providing I’m back by breakfast… 😉

  2. Oh yes, I think this is one of the most imposrtant tips if you are travling with others! I love that you are writing these tips for us.

  3. LOVE THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    It is very true that you have to travel with people who understand that you’re going to be taking lots of pics. I have a difficult time with hitting ports in the Navy because I often don’t get to link up with people who might be into photography as much as I am. Our travel rules prohibit me from venturing out by myself, so that’s out of the question. Often times though, I’ll find a buddy who doesn’t mind and I end up taking the photos I had planned.

  4. Sound advice my dear JP. But then, that same advice applies to most of life’s activities. Inform the other about requirements and negotiate everything into agreement.
    My need to spend time with the camera – I try to utilise the travelling partner’s off time. For instance: partner can’t get up early – that usually leaves me with up to two hours (depending on the season) to spend on what I want. In a similar way partner wants to read – heh, there I go.
    Everything notwithstanding, it is quite nice to travel with another photographically minded person. With one exception. My main photographic interest is to shoot birds. Stalking them, waiting them out, etc. is painstaking work. One can do it just so much better than two.

    • Absolutely!

      Working it around your partner’s off time is a great plan – although I’ll confess to being the one sleeping in 🙂

      Shooting with a buddy is fun, but you’re right, there are just some times when it’s easier by yourself.

  5. very good advice, remember not only the places you want to photograph, but the time of day that you want to be there. I have found that the magic hour of light can often interfer with the travel partners dinning plans!!!!

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