One of the great challenges presented in photography is the ability to convey emotions through a single image. Whether it's a landscape, an everyday scene or a portrait of someone in particular, it is absolutely essential that the brief moment captured in the photograph generates some kind of emotional response in the person who is contemplating it.

To achieve this, we must keep in mind a few factors. For starters, you have to be able to be an integrated part of the environment that surrounds the scene you want to portray, to be one more, not draw attention, to make people around you feel that you are happy to share with them that specific moment in time, and that you respect it completely. It is also essential to be able to create some sort of emotional attachment to the scene; if it is a landscape, feel his greatness, and if what you are looking for are portraits of people, get involved in some way with them, create that fine bond of mutual recognition, talk for a while, be kind and respectful....I can assure you that the brief connection you've created among you will be reflected in your picture. Finally, you have to be very attentive to those moments in which the essence of the human soul is shown at its best: a woman stroking her baby, a bunch of friends having fun together, a mother and daughter embraced walking down the street....the possibilities are endless, especially if you look around with eyes and heart wide open.
It is obvious that not everybody perceive and interpret the world around us in the same way.

My priority is, undoubtedly, to be able to attract, capture and convey through my work all that beautiful part that lives in our hearts. I am well aware that this poor world of us is broken, and that we are the major responsibles for much of its wounds; but the magnificent landscapes full of life, as well as the countless expressions of affection that I find along the way in places as punished by adversity, make me feel that not everything is lost, that there will always be a place for magic and beauty to flourish....And I look for them with great enthusiasm, because this is my way to stand up, with the help of my cameras, to all that greed, selfishness and abuse of power that I sometimes witness.

So my advice is for you to look deep inside yourself, to have your priorities and your illusions strait before starting the adventure. It is essential that you go with an open mind, but also with a clear and definite idea of ​​your intentions before shooting the camera. And as I always say .... ENJOY THE HUGE PRIVILEGE OF TRAVEL!!!

You can see a good example of what's been said in this post accesing the gallery "FRIENDS"...I hope you like it!!!

Let's go with five new tips that I always try to apply to my travel photographs, and that I hope will serve to improve yours. As in the last week's list, they are practical ideas that are intended to help you understand the best ways to approach and to deal with the scene you want to portray. Again, I leave the technical classes for the numerous high quality books you can find today in the market, and that will help you greatly to improve your handling of the cameras.

1. MAXIMISE THE RANGE OF POSSIBILITIES. It is essential for an artist to be able to give to his work a specific style that sets him apart from others, leaving a clear imprint in whatever they create, in order to define both his personality and his understanding and processing of what's around him. But this matter has its dangers, and in the case of a photographer, it is the possibility to stay stuck in the same kind of images. Try by all means to look for different things during your travels. If you like portraits, do some close-up shots, yes, but also others with a wide angle lens that will help them to gain depth and power and also to show the environment in which that person is at. Take pictures of the landscapes, even if this kind of images are not you favourite ones, or vice versa. Walk the villages, go into the cafes or sit down in a corner and watch people go by. Take close-ups, scenes of a city, a village with mountains in the background....the more information and variety of approaches your work has, the more clearly it will show the essence of the place you've visited and the richer it will be.

Maximize de range of posibilitties in order for your work to be full and varied.

2. FIND NEW PERSPECTIVES. If the weeks prior to your trip you spend a few hours studying pictures from your next destination, often you will find that thousands of images taken by different people of the same tourist enclave are almost identical. Try this not to happen with yours; if you look with the eyes and the heart wide open, it will always appear a place where almost no one has thought to take that picture from. In my case, I wanted at all costs to get a good picture of the Potala Palace in Tibet, and after several attempts, I managed to do it from the back side, leaving the Palace in the background and giving prominence to a woman who was on a tour of pilgrimage around it late in the afternoon.

Try to find an ungle from which no one has thought about taking that picture before.

3. GET UP EARLY!!! For me, when I'm in a new destination, nothing compares to the feeling of well-being that gives me the fact of walking around with my cameras early in the morning. The air is clean, no noise, no tourists ..... just that magical light produced by the sun timidly appearing on the horizon. And of course, the locals going about their daily chores. The chances of getting good images are endless ..... soft close-ups, fantastic backlighting moments, scenes full of spontaneity. Sometimes it's hard getting up so early, but I can assure you that the reward is huge.

Sometimes it's hard to get up early during the trip, but the reward is huge.

4. BEWARE OF THE BACKGROUNDS. During these years that I've been traveling with my cameras, one of the most important things I have learned is to take good notice about what's behind the person or scene that I want to photograph; I had to send thousands of images to the trash because of an inadequate background. No matter how sensational you may find the dress or appearance of someone in particular, or that a moment of everyday's life takes powerfully the attention of your target, if what is behind it will distract the viewer; a dirty floor, walls with intricate architectural lines, a person out of context, an electric pole....many factors can ruin a good picture. Look closely at what's behind, and make sure that it is something that helps promote harmonious composition to the picture and contributes to ad information to the scene.

Make sure that the background of the scene will add values to the composition of the image.

5. BEND YOUR KNEES. Another important key in order to get a shocking photograph is taking it from the level of where the action happens, or even below it. I mean, if you go down the street and you see, for example, a woman sitting on the floor of a market selling fruit, do not shoot standing up on your feet; crouch, get down to her level. If you also manage to get very close to her and take the picture with a wide angle lens, the result will be spectacular. Look at the photograph I got to do on my last trip to a Tibetan woman praying in front of the Jokhang Monastery: I placed myself less than a meter behind her, and fired my camera almost touching the ground with it....without looking by the display!!! I had to make several attempts, of course, until I found the angle that I was expecting; but you can not imagine what a great time I had during this process!!!

Try to get the picture from the same level as the scene you want to portrait.

So my final advice to you is to be open minded to other options, and to experiment, to take risks. Shoot as many times as possible, try different angles .... and shoot again. One of the great advantages of digital photography is that you can delete anything you do not like and you can start all over again. And as I always say....ENJOY THE MOMENTS LIVED ALONG THE WAY!!!
I have made many, many trips during this last few years, and over the time I have come to a better understanding of what is necessary to achieve, on one hand, the ability of capturing with my cameras the true essence of the places I visit, and in the other, the capacity to convey through my images all the emotion that lives in the human soul.
I hope this little list will help you, so that you too will be able to make the most of your travels with your camera.

1. ANALYSE OTHER WORKS. Some weeks before traveling, spend a few hours to see pictures of your next destination .... the more the better. You have countless Internet portals at your fingertips, as 500px, Flickr, or Getty Images; and also great web sites from the most prestigious photographers such as Steve McCurry, Olivier Föllmi or a woman called Tania Abitbol....which apparently makes some photos of scandal :) Look closely at their work, try and draw your own conclusions and get ideas and concepts that will help you improve yours.

2. BE RESPECTFUL. In travel photography there is a fundamental golden rule: respect, both for the country itself and its cultural background, and for the people who cross along your path. I do not share the idea of ​​some photographers that anything goes to get a good picture. If there is an everyday scene or someone in particular that appeal to you and are in a position where they are aware of your presence with the camera, before shooting you should ask permission and try to establish some kind of language is universal; if they don't want you to take a picture of them, do not do so!!!....but I can assure you there will be many times when they will be more than happy to be photographed, and they will even want to see the result and have a little chat with you. And I think, frankly, that these brief moments are the ones that will enrich your living experience the most.

Be respectful with the people that cross along your way.

3. CREATE AN EMOTIONAL BOND. If you want to take a picture of someone who is aware of this and has accepted, make sure that this fact will not detract from spontaneity or power to the image. Talk for a few minutes with that person, make the situation as comfortable and entertaining as possible for both of you; or if you are away from that person, greet with your hand, smile.... And above all, do not hurry....observe, wait, and watch out for that brief moment in which, either he or she is not looking at you, or does it in a natural way; the result will be much more powerful than the one you would get by having that person posing for several seconds. That fine emotional bond that you've managed to create will be reflected in the image, I can assure you this.

Create an emotional bond with the people you want to portrait.

4. STAY IN THE BACKGROUND. The best way to produce images full of life and spontaneity is trying to stay in a background in which no one is aware of your presence. Whether you use a zoom lens that will allow you to be at a considerable distance of whatever you want to portray, or a wide angle lens that will force you to get closer to the action, the important matter is to be able to be one more, to mingle with the environment, not to attract attention, to make people around you get the clear feeling that you enjoy being there and that you respect that vital moment altogether.

If you manage to stay in the background, your pictures will look more spontaneous. 

5. USE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE A WIDE ANGLE LENS. If you are looking for powerful images, I recommend you to use a wide angle lens. It is true that sometimes, especially if you want to do a portrait of someone, it will force you to get closer to the scene..... but that's the point! For one, if you shoot with a value of f/16 or higher, you will get a picture with a spectacular depth of field, a picture with several layers and a powerful feeling of almost a three-dimensional image; and secondly, you will be able to show more of the environment surrounding that particular scene, thus providing information that will help to understand better the circumstances of time and place.

Using a wide angle lens your portraits will be much more powerful.

And most important of all ..... DO NOT FORGET TO ENJOY !!! Whether or not you get great images from your trip, the experience you have just lived will remain forever in your heart. 

And next week, five more advices!!! I hope these ones have been useful for you.
The great passion I feel for travel photography did grow long before I took a camera in my hands; and that is the reason why I have an extensive collection of illustrated travel books these days. Over time, all those images of remote places full of mystery and exoticism I watched amazed again and again forged strongly in me the love I feel for my profession today. And now I realize that this contemplative work, which for years I have been doing with great pleasure, is the fundamental basis of the direction that my work has taken.

I think it is clear and evident that a major part of what is reflected in the images of a photographer is the way he feels, perceives and interprets the world around him. But my own experience confirms to me how positive and enriching it can be to have the capacity of study and analyse, with a wide open heart, the work of other artists.

So my advice for you is to carefully observe the more photographers' work the better. Seek for ideas and concepts that you can apply to your own. Get inspired by those who have a vision of the world similar to yours; and learn as much as you can from those who you perhaps don't like so much...these are the ones that will often give you new perspectives that will help you evolve in surprising ways.

In my case, there are several photographers who in one way or another have clearly influenced my work. Steve McCurry, for example, is one of the ones that have helped me to evolve the most, just by the fact of seeing and interpreting his environment in a different way from mine. And what about Henri Cartier Bresson and René Bruni .... these two great masters of the cameras of the early twentieth century, have contributed to my work countless nuances in terms of composition with its striking black and white photographs. But without a doubt, my great reference in the world of travel photography is OLIVIER FÖLLMI.

The way this fabulous Franco-Swiss photographer sees and interprets the world around him is very similar to mine .... always looking for all that beauty that dwells in the human soul. And his images full of tenderness and poetry have served me during all these years as an inexhaustible source of inspiration. Moreover, beyond the great photographer,  there is the person with a heart of gold devoted to humanitarian causes....he has founded the charity HOPE (Himalayan Organisation for People and Education), which devotes all its efforts to promote and improve the education system at the Himalayas. Wise and brave decision, the one of taking advantage of the great fortune that is to travel around the world in order to help improve the lives of the people who crosses his path....nothing else to be said.

Here are some of his images that I like the most.

And this is the link to his website .... I recommend you to take a look at the faboluos work of this master of the cameras.

And one more advice to finish: in your travels, don't be just a simple spectator....YOU CAN CONTRIBUTE A LOT TO A WOUNDED WORLD THAT NEEDS IT SO BAD.