Travel Photography Tips

By the nature of most Kingdom Workers projects, our volunteers travel from their homes to work in a different part of the world. Sometimes it’s in the US or Canada, but many people go to Malawi, Grenada or other locations where we work. As you go, we pray for your safety, and we hope that you are able to share the gospel message in word and deed. 

Documenting your trip is so important for a few reason. First, you have people who helped you. If you did any fundraising, you owe it to your donors to share with them the work that was done. We also want to talk about your project. Our supporters love to see and read about the various ways that volunteers are impacting the world. Lastly, for yourself. Going on a short-term mission trip is a fleeting experience. It may be short, but is becomes a part of your history. Shoot photos and journal about your experience. Your future self will thank you some day.  

1)  Eyeballs and Teeth  

Want to know what makes for a boring photo? The backs of heads. The is NOT a Pinterest Hair Style Tutorial. Humans have eyes. We connect with each other through our eyes. In a still photo, we only get that snap of the events that happened, make it count. Don’t shoot until you can see the whites of their eyes (and teeth). Really. With a smartphone, that means that you have to physically move to get tighter. Sorry, I know that’s a lot of work. It’s worth it. 

We laugh. We cry. We worry. We rejoice. If all I see is the back of your head, I don’t think I could tell which one you’re doing.  

2) Always be ready

There is a fine balance to focusing on the mission work and stepping back to document it. Without being overly focused on shooting pictures, have your camera ready to go at any time. You’re better off with a slightly blurry shot than nothing at all. You’re there to spread the gospel, but be ready to capture the moment it’s happening.  

3) Be as quick as possible, but get the shot

Digital photography is awesome. You can shoot all you want and delete the bad ones. Don’t dwell on getting it exactly perfect, but shoot a photo that is great and then get on with the mission.  

Photo Credits: Tingting Schwartz, Jason Paltzer

About the Author:  Dan Jaspersen is Director of Marketing Communication for Kingdom Workers. Before joining KW, he worked in Global Web-Marketing, International Relations in Asia, backpacked Eastern Europe and studied in South America.