Typically, people who are into travel and landscape photography tend to dream about exotic locations in foreign lands.  But I like to remind my photography students and friends not to forget about your own town.  As a local, you have the chance to photograph your own town unlike anybody else.

Here’s why:

  1. Time and repetition.  Travel photographers typically only have a few days to explore and photograph a certain location.  This limits the potential of their photos to a certain extent.  As a local, you have the luxury keep going back to the same locations over and over until you get perfect conditions, which of course, result in better images.  In addition to this, exploring your own town takes much less time than traveling to faraway places.  You can take a couple of hours in the morning before work, or even during your lunch break, to go shoot a location.
  2. Knowledge of locations.  As a local, you have the opportunity to discover areas that very few people know about.  Yes, you will always have the iconic and popular spots that have been photographed a thousand times.  But you can go beyond that and find new spots that have yet to be explored and photographed.
  3. Familiarity to local people.  As a local, people will tend to remember your face, which increases the chances of them being comfortable around you and your camera.  This gives you opportunities to photograph local residents, gain access to their lives, and even become friends.  I believe this is one of the most beautiful aspects of photography.  When people see you often and know you are a photographer, you might not even have to introduce yourself.
  4. Cost.  Exploring your own town definitely costs less than buying a plane ticket and booking accommodations elsewhere.  Local travel is great for when you’re on a budget and it helps you to appreciate your own area even more.

So those are just a few reasons why I continue to love exploring and photographing my own town.  Don’t get me wrong, I love traveling to faraway places as much as the next person.  Just don’t forget about what’s right in your backyard.

It may seem boring at first and you think you’ve seen it all, but if you dive in, you’ll most likely discover layers that you never knew about.

I’m going to end this post with some of my favorite shots from my current home town, Tongyeong, South Korea.

I know what you’re thinking: easy for you to say since you live such a beautiful place.  And you are right.  I’m so lucky to call this place home.  But I do also believe that if you look hard enough, you can find the beauty and uniqueness anywhere you may live.  So go out, take a walk, and explore your town!

What are some of your local travel experiences?  Share them in the comments below.

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Roy Cruz

Roy Cruz

Photographer at Roy Cruz Photo
Roy Cruz is a freelance photographer based in Tongyeong, South Korea specializing in travel and documentary photography. He started shooting professionally in 2007 and has worked all over the Philippines and South Korea. He is also a dedicated husband, bass player, and father.