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3 Tips to Push Yourself Beyond Your Comfort Zone and Capture Exciting Photos

by Stephanie Faris
photo & video

end of year adventure

If you’re an adventurer, you can’t wait to get out into the world. This time of year, with colors changing and cold fog rolling in, the urge to wander into the unknown is even more powerful. Armed with your camera, you hit the open road, eager to see what great shots you can capture today. You may even cross oceans in your quest, venturing into areas few of your colleagues have seen.

For those who aren’t adventurous by nature, however, the mere thought of hopping a plane or taking a long road trip can seem terrifying. It can be easy to settle into your own space, only leaving home for local assignments. Unfortunately, this will make you miss some of the best shots of your career.

Whether your photography centers around people, scenery, or a combination of both, some of the most interesting shots lie far beyond your front door. But how do you force yourself to conquer those fears and venture out into the world? Here are a few tips to help you explore with confidence.

Start Small

Before you start researching plane tickets to India, you don’t have to be that extreme in your first few trips. You can start small, traveling within an hour or two of your home. You’ll be able to return at night and sleep in your own bed, easing your way into new territory.

Ask friends and research online until you find scenic locations close enough for day trips. Once you’ve explored those sights, you can gradually expand your travel itinerary to include short overnights that are further away. You’ll eventually feel more comfortable taking a multi-day trip to a much further destination.

end of year adventure 2

Set Goals

The best way to begin exploring with camera in hand is to determine the areas you’d like to capture. Make a list of your ideal shoots, whether they’re down the street or on the other side of the globe. Don’t think about the journey required to get to those locations. Simply make a list of all of the places you’d like to photograph and worry about logistics later.

Once you have your list on paper, organize it so that the most easily accessible areas are listed first. If the closest area is a day’s drive from your home, set a goal to visit that place within a certain timeframe. Once you’ve tackled that, set a similar goal for the next-closest place. Soon you’ll find you’ve worked your way down your list and dramatically expanded your portfolio.

Bring Company

Loneliness can be the most daunting part of travel photography. Instead of forcing yourself to journey to these remote locations by yourself, plan weekend getaways and full vacations with family members or friends. They can travel along with you and see the sights while you capture the shots you’re after.

One of the best ways to accomplish both of these tasks is to join forces with a fellow photographer who is also interested in building a portfolio. You can even take turns visiting destinations on your goal lists, possibly leading you to see an area you wouldn’t have considered visiting otherwise.

For homebodies, travel photography can seem like an uncomfortable experience. But through exploring the world, photographers can catch shots they wouldn’t find near home, building a stronger portfolio and enriching their minds. Through starting small and gradually exploring further, a photographer can push themselves to explore new areas and capture some of the best photos of his career.

If you’d like to familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of outdoor photography, check out The Outdoor Photography Experience with CreativeLive instructor Chris Burkard.

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Stephanie Faris

Stephanie Faris is the Simon & Schuster author of 30 Days of No Gossip, 25 Roses, and the upcoming Piper Morgan series.