Peru in Pictures: A Photographer’s Insight

Photographer Andrew Howson recently spoke with us about travel photography and living in the beautiful South American country of Peru. Passionate about capturing Peruvian life on film, Andrew stayed there from 2003 to 2010, living in Lima and visiting other parts of the country such as Nazca, Puno and Cuzco.

His love of Peru and photography are combined perfectly in his images of the country. From groups of dancers, to still landscapes, take a look at Andrew’s work whilst getting some useful tips on how to take your own photos on holiday.

What drew you to Peru?

My wife is Peruvian. We met on a plane when I was studying Spanish in Salamanca, Spain and she was studying her masters in the UK.

Do you have a favourite area to capture in Peru?

I would say that Cusco region is my favourite, but that the Virgen de Candelaria Carnival in Puno is something I would love to photograph again. Marching bands cross the border from Bolivia to Puno during the night and around 150 groups of dancers participate in the “Gran Concurso de Danzas Autóctona,” where dancers show off their traditional costumes in the local stadium. Later [they] pour out into the street, so locals and tourists can enjoy what only the cameras have seen up to then.

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Is there a Peru ‘must-snap’ for budding photographers?

Visit the many archaeological sites, including Huacas, that can be found in many areas of Lima. You can get some great architectural images from the different churches and convents, especially in Cercado de Lima.

Do close-ups help to capture travel destinations?

If it is of a flower, bush or tree that is unique to a certain area, but I generally use micro photography to concentrate on one particular subject while getting rid of obstructing backgrounds.

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Travelling somewhere new, do you plan what you’d like to photograph in advance, or is it more spontaneous?

To be honest, virtually all my photography is done on the hoof and with family in-tow, and what I have to do is act quick[ly] and make excuses like, “I’ll be back in 5 minutes!” But yes, I research usually via [the] Internet to find out information before leaving. On occasions when I have gone alone, I have been lucky and had local help to find the best places.

Is there one piece of camera equipment you can’t go without?

I think it is difficult to choose just one piece, as for most people this will depend on what is photographed. Tripod for landscapes, if you know you are going to be on the beach at sunset or sunrise, for example. At home, I only carry a small Tamrac shoulder bag and cram in currently a D600 body, 24-120 f4, 16-35f4, and a small 24mm 2.8 prime and a flash, and if I know flowers are involved, I take a 105mm micro lens.

What would be your top tip for our holidaymakers taking images abroad?

I would recommend taking lots of shots of the same thing, trying different combinations of aperture and shutter speed to see what works best. Lastly, print your photos and enjoy your efforts. I learnt early on that good lenses are far more important than having the best camera body.

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Is travel important for photography and improving skills?

Yes, for me, and repeat travel to really get to know a place, its customs, quirks, do’s and don’ts is a good idea too – this also means you can visit during different seasons. In addition, when you are in a new place and you have limited time, you have to shoot quickly if it is a special festival or celebration. All of which is good practice.

Where would you like to visit next?

I have been back in the UK two years now and want to go back to Peru, as there is still much more to do. If I were to go anywhere else then Spain is always of interest, as is a desire to go back to Asia, where I visited before getting the photography bug back in 1998.

Check out some of Andrew’s images below and you can check out more at his online gallery.

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