I love to travel, and I love for my photos to have a sense of place and to tell stories about the environment we are experiencing when we travel – this can be travels local to us or anywhere in the world.

One way I love to incorporate the sense of place is by including typical souvenirs in my pictures whether we buy them or not, whether they’re cheesy or classy, they can tell you so much and really help you to learn about the mood and history of the place, the people, their habits and customs, their religion and beliefs, the animals who share the environment and the way life is lived there.

1. Capture the written names and/or location

Use Souvenirs to tell people simply and easily where you were! Souvenirs often have the place name on – that makes them a great front page for an album or blog post after your trip. These souvenirs are often of icons that are important to the place you have visited and therefore also give you ideas of the sights you might want to see too. Take wide shots incorporating some of the surroundings and focus on the details too.

photo of girl walking down a sidewalk by Kirsty Larmour 1

2. Common local habits

Souvenirs, including post cards, will often tell you about the habits of the people who live there. They can be of favourite things to eat, or activities to do, or maybe related to the town’s most well known sports team, musicians or famous personality. They pass on information about what the people who live there love – photograph the souvenir version, and the real life version!

picture of two girls buying bread at a stand by Kirsty Larmour 2

3. Landmarks

Some souvenirs are too big to fit in your suitcase but you fall in love with them anyway because they are items that the area is well known for, or they are something that you see everywhere – this could be anything from pieces of furniture to carpets or statues. Take photos of these things because they will help to remind you of the unique character of that place.

young girl shopping for textiles by Kirsty Larmour 3

4. Local daily tools

Look at items people use in every day life. Some of these might be things you wouldn’t typically consider as souvenirs but might be a nice thing to bring home which would be actually useful to you on a daily basis, or on special occasions – capture the place that you bought these things from.

pic of girl in braids looking at pottery by Kirsty Larmour 4

5. Mementos

Make your own souvenirs to bring home a memento with a personal touch. This is often a great way of amusing and occupying the kids whilst also learning something about what a region is known for and its history. Try out a workshop to learn some of the traditional crafts and meet some local people.

photo of kids making handkerchiefs by Kirsty Larmour 5

picture of fabric being weaved by Kirsty Larmour 6

6. Topical souvenirs

Look at the souvenirs your kids love and capture them and their fascination for things that are different to what they see in the shops every day at home. This could be anything from Minnie Mouse ears at Disneyland, to a keychain or puppet that they want to spend their holiday money on!

girls shopping while travleing pic by Kirsty Larmour 7

7. Tiny objects that tend to clutter or break

If you want mementos without bringing home clutter then take photos of them – things like tickets or maps or money all make great souvenirs but can be messy. So take photos and incorporate those photos into an album of your trip instead of bringing them back with you.

foreign money photo by Kirsty Larmour 8

British postcards for sale by Kirsty Larmour 9

8. Crafting treasures

Collect things that you wouldn’t find at home to use in craft projects on rainy days and to relive the holiday and create something fun.

painted rocks by Kirsty Larmour 10

9. Sales of mementos

Photograph the environment where holiday mementos are being sold, and not just the souvenirs themselves – this will help to give a sense of the mood and feeling and will take you right back to that place in time when you look at the photos.

girl shopping in a colorful market by Kirsty Larmour 11

10. Decorate with your souvenirs

Incorporate your holiday souvenirs into your décor once you’re back home to keep the happy holiday memories alive and provide a talking point with your kids and visitors within your own environment.

picture of kids with oriental decor by Kirsty Larmour 12

wall display by Kirsty Larmour 13

Photography on the Fly – using intuition and presence to capture life’s journey was released on June 7th. I use my travel experience to help you learn to photograph instinctively anywhere and in any light, whether that’s on your annual vacation or in your own back yard. The Break Out also includes a bonus PDF on Travel Photography. I’d love for you to participate!