Postcards for Pros

Marc Silber produces where he features 10-minute interviews with some of the world’s best photographers. In this edition about travel photography Marc interviews Bob Holmes a three-time Travel Photographer of the Year. Bob’s photos are some of the best examples of travel photography I’ve ever seen but that’s not why I’m suggesting you watch the video interview.

Bob Holmes Photography

Bob is a very gifted travel photographer but he’s also a very practical man. And here’s the payoff: One of the ways he gets those great images from exotic and distant places is he does his research before he leaves and when he arrives. And here’s the cool part. When Bob arrives in a new place he buys commercial postcards that have photos of the famous tourist spots.

So now armed with his own research about where to go and when, he also has photos of the traditional photo hotspots to guide him. Best of all when he’s in a taxi where the driver doesn’t speak English, Bob just shows him the card and off they go.

Bob also doesn’t take a ton of equipment. He also tends to shoot available light for simplicity and better results than using strobes. Most advanced amateurs could pretty much duplicate his professional setup with one DX (cropped) body with a wide to long zoom for walking about (18-200mm) and a fast 35mm f/1.8 for shooting available light. With this setup you could capture images every bit as good as Bob’s that is, of course, if you could see as well as Bob sees. Watch the video to “see” what I mean here 🙂

I’d even go so far as to say that if you bought one of the new 4/3 cameras like the Sony NEX-5 or the Panasonic GF-1 or the Olympus E-PL-1 with a fast lens and a zoom lens you’d have a travel kit capable of shooting really excellent images that would fit into a jacket pocket.

4 thoughts on “Postcards for Pros

  1. Yup… and as you know, I’ve been telling people this postcard trick for many years in my Travel Photography workshop.

    You can emulate them, or not – but at least look at them, take fresh ideas, and learn angles.

    Good tip (IISSM).

  2. Oh and as for small cameras: David Honl carried just a Leica X1 to Vegas last week. He did my portrait with it (and a flash fired with pocketwizards) – impressive. I may become a convert.

    Or I would, if I could afford a Leica.

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