Make them different; make them better. Those are the goals Pete Saloutos sets for his travel images, and to achieve those aims he does his homework and makes his plans.
“I research every area I’m going to be visiting,” Pete says, “and I try to find the best photos. I study them, sometimes for weeks, sometimes for months. I look at the time of year and the time of day they were taken and the angles they were taken from. I want to improve on those pictures, to create the best photos of that particular place. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don’t, but I never go out unprepared, never without a plan.”
Which is not to say that he doesn't welcome the unexpected, even hope for it—”I’ve got to be flexible,” he says—but a sense of purpose and a clear idea of what he wants is the starting point for bringing back more than the typical image or postcard view.
Obviously, Pete, who shoots commercial assignments, lifestyle images, stock and fine art photography, is not a vacationing snapshooter when it comes to travel. “I go to locations to shoot,” he says. “I enjoy myself, but the trip’s purpose is to get pictures.” When he went to China, he put in 16-hour days for a month, getting up before sunrise, shooting through the day and into the night. He did the same in Paris. “Sure, there are times when the light isn’t right and I’ll take a couple of hours off and go to a museum, and of course I’ll have some really nice dinners, but the purpose of these trips is always to shoot, to experience the world through my camera.”