There’s something so special about New Orleans – it’s both haunting and quite charming. It’s old and spooky by also holds a special place in my heart because there really is nothing quite like it. We recently traveled to New Orleans for a couple days where I spent most of my time photographing everything is sight! What can I say, It would be impossible for me to travel somewhere beautiful without taking hundreds of photographs.
We stayed at the Dauphine Orleans Hotel located directly in the heart of the city, the French Quarter. If you’re going to stay in New Orleans for a few days, then I’d highly recommend experiencing the magic that is the French Quarter.
Although our hotel was beautiful and charming and everything I expected, I’m pretty sure it was also haunted. I know that sounds weird, but it’s completely normal in that city. Thankfully, it wasn’t haunted by any bad spirits.
We had such an incredible time, it’s hard to pick just one favorite highlight. We browsed the book collection at Faulkner House Books (it was once an apartment building where Faulkner wrote some of his most famous work).
I then got to stand below the balcony where “A Street Car Named Desire” was written! Keeping up with New Orleans tradition, Andre and I enjoyed morning coffee & beignets at the world famous Cafe du Monde. For fun, we got our cards read at Reverend Zombie’s House of Voodoo (kind of spooky but worth checking out!)
You also can’t go to New Orleans without talking about the food! We had crab cakes & lobster meat salads at The Orleans Grapevine Wine Bar & Bistro, cocktails and fried plantains from Cane & Table and brunch at The Court of Two Sisters! We enjoyed mufelletas (New Orleans’ food staple) from Butcher and MONSTER donuts and sliders from District on Magazine Street.
And one of my favorites, a ” Cola Cocktail ” from Hi-volt which consisted of a double shot of espresso poured into a Mexican Coke. This drink kept me jazzed the entire day!!!
Also, be sure to take an afternoon to walk around the Garden District! The highlights from the Garden District included a quick coffee granita at Still Perkin’, standing in front of the house from Benjamin Button on Coliseum Street, and a visit to gothic fiction novelist, Anne Rice’s home.
While there you can also visit Miss Robichaux’s Academy from American Horror Story and New Orleans’ famous Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 (you may remember this cemetery from Double Jeopardy)! No matter where you go, there’s always something to do in the vibrant city of New Orleans!
Since this is my first travel post for the Samy’s Camera Photo Blog, I thought it’d be a good idea to share some travel photography tips that will hopefully help you get the most out of your travel photos. It’s so important that your photographs make people feel like they’re traveling with you. I always want people to look at my photos and get a real sense of what it feels like to be walking around a city they’ve never been to.
Research your city:
Before traveling to a new city, I ALWAYS research various travel blogs and websites to get a good idea of what there is to see and do. Another research ooh that a lot of people might overlook is Pinterest! I’ll sometimes spend many hours on Pinterest just looking at photos. Pinterest was extremely helpful when I was putting together my personal travel guide for New Orleans.
Besides researching what there is to see an do, I ALWAYS search for the best food and drinks that the city has to offer. For example, before even stepping foot into New Orleans, I knew we had to eat at Butcher, The Court of Two Sisters, and Cafe du Monde, and just by browsing Pinterest, I knew that Cafe du Monde was going to be the perfect little spot to photograph – and I was right!
If you’re not an early bird, this might be a little tough to handle, but getting up early and avoiding the big crowds in the popular tourist areas really allows time for you to focus on your surroundings and allows plenty of time to take in the sights rather than being distracted by tourists later in the day. Let’s be honest, it’s the perfect time to capture beautiful shots without anyone in the frame.
I remember how peaceful it was walking the streets of New Orleans early in the morning on our way to Cafe Du Monde. The shops were setting up their outdoor bistros, and people were heading to work on their bikes. It was really a special time to photograph! Also, keep the museums and indoor activities for the afternoon. There will definitely be crowds and people getting in your shots, but at least you’ll avoid that harsh afternoon light, and you’ll be able to take a small break from the hot weather!
Different focal lengths:
I shoot a lot of my travel photos with a 35mm & a 50mm. These prime lenses tend to be more compact for traveling than the zoom lenses, but this is just a personal preference. If I don’t feel like carrying both lenses around with me (which happens often), I’ll switch it up and simply carry around a 24-70mm lens. It’s a bit heavy to lug around for an entire day of sightseeing, but I’m always so thankful and happy with my photographs when I switch the focal lengths a little.
The main reason I’d recommend the 24-70 is for its versatility. This lens is ideal for a variety of travel situations including landscape photography and portrait photography which is perfect if you’d rather just carry one lens around with you and avoid switching it up in public situations.
I used to shoot everything with only one lens, but I was always disappointed that all my photos looked a like, so I’d highly recommend investing in the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM Autofocus Zoom Lens.
4) Lifestyle photographs really “sell” the story:
Photographs of the food you eat, the locals walking around, and anything lively really makes people feel like they’re traveling with you. If you’re taking a photo of your meal, add a couple props like a hand grabbing the coffee mug or a pair of sunglasses sitting on the table, and don’t forget to photograph the locals walking around instead of just the empty streets – it’s real life!
5) Do as the locals do:
I always find it helpful to talk to the locals. Ask them what’s really worth seeing, what areas you should completely avoid, what they suggest skipping. Since you’re there for such a short period of time, avoid doing too much and just stick to the good stuff! Try to get away from the large crowds and just explore.
I know it can feel a bit scary at times, especially when you’re exploring somewhere new and unfamiliar, but this is when the magic happens. Get lost with your camera and explore something different than what the travel book suggests (but maybe bring a bag with you, so you can hide your camera if it gets a little scary, haha!)
What I’m trying to say is get out there and hangout with the locals because it’s really the only way to get a sense of what life is like where your visiting. You never know who or what you’re going to run into, and sometimes that’s the best way to travel and photograph!
Always remember to have fun! You’re on vacation, so don’t stress out if you happen to sleep in one morning because you were out late the night before, and don’t freak out if tourists get in the way of your shots, just try to be patient instead of walking away all frustrated. Trust me, you’ll be so thankful you waited around to get the perfect shot! Happy travels!