What if you suddenly got the chance to visit a breathtaking travel destination and you need want to share your adventure with your friends, family and your social following? How would you take the best photographs you can while you are traveling? Don’t just shoot from the hip, and keep your finger on the shutter button, but plan your shots. Stephanie Lewis from Photography Concentrate compiled Nine Essential Travel Photography Tips.
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Take pictures in morning or evening
Natural light at noon isn’t that suitable for photographs. It’s harsh, sharp and it’s just not pleasant to shoot. You quickly run the risk of overexposing your shots and even though it looks incredible in real life, shots taken at high noon rarely translate well to captured megapixels. The best hours to capture photos are closer to beginning of the day or during sunset when the light is fascinating and you’re able to play with shadows. These are the so-called golden hours, as well as the ever-elusive blue hour.
Don’t JUST take selfies
Honestly, outside of your significant other or your parents, nobody really cares about your selfies and they’re probably the most boring photo you can take, unless you’re somewhere truly epic! They do not tell a story and rarely share the beauty of where you have found yourself on your trip. If you want to get a photo of yourself, or a photo of you and your travelling partner, ask a passer-by to take a shot – but again, save these for your personal life, rather than pasting them all over Instagram or Facebook – only your best shots should be presented to your followers.
Check out Philipp Kammerer’s shot below, for example. While it’s a photo of him, it shows where he went and tells part of a story.
The rule of thirds
Most photographers think that keeping the subject in middle is necessary, but that is practically a myth. The rule of thirds means you want to divide your frame into 9 equal parts. Then you want to position your subject on one of the intersecting lines (see tip 5 for more about that). Make sure to choose a focal point that is closest to what you’re trying to capture. If this isn’t possible, consider recomposing (see tip 8). Try following the rule of thirds and you will see the difference in your shooting angles very clearly.
Use naturally occurring lines
When you look at the subject you need to see what the center is and utilize the view to see the lines which leads in your eyes in that photo. Utilizing the skyline of a city, a street, power lines, tram tracks etc. allows you to play with your composition in a organic way. Natural lines will direct your viewers gaze into the photograph and capture their attention for a split second longer, and that is exactly what you’re after.
Avoid using flash
You might be tempted to pop the flash on your camera or smartphone when caught with a low-light situation, but this hardly ever results in a good photo. By using the pop-up flash, you will lose a lot of definition and structure. If you really do want to light up a situation – try shooting close to an artificial light source or use your smartphone flashlight at an angle to light up the scene. This also opens up the playing field for a little creativity.
Tell a story
Rather than simply capturing photos left and right, try and tell a story. While shooting individuals, landscapes and creatures attempt to catch the moment, the feelings. A serene landscape, a smile from a stranger on the street, you know what we’re talking about. You need to evoke the sentiment of the place around while you take the photograph. While capturing tall buildings or iconic locations, try utilizing creative ideas. For example, attempt a light trace in the city after the sun has set to capture the hustle and bustle of city traffic.
Framing your photographs
Ideally, this should be one of the first steps you do, but as it takes a little getting used to how your camera views a scene (distortion in the corners etc.), you’ll only start seeing real results once you’ve been shooting for a while. Trees, buildings, road signs etc. can all help you outline your subject in order to add some depth to your shot. Want to try something fun? Grab a coffee cup and shoot through the handle while keeping parts of the cup in the frame. Always prepare shots in your mind as to which parts of the scene you would like to capture and how. Try and capture something unique – don’t shoot the same photo as everyone else. Another cool tip is holding your smartphone close to your lens and use that as a reflective surface.
Use a tripod
For sharp photographs, don’t move while shooting or shoot at a higher shutter speed (which means you’ll need to account for differences in exposure with your f/stop). While you might not want to weigh yourself down with a full-size tripod, there are many options out there that save a lot of space but will still give you a stable platform to shoot from. One that we particularly like is the Manfrotto Pixi Evo, which even has a little ball head, so you can adjust the angle of the camera. If you’re taking smartphone shots, position your device so that it’s steady and then either use the timer function or your remote trigger (most of the time, you can use the volume button on your headphones).
So you’ve taken a couple nice shots? Now what do you do? Do you want to make them look a little better? Tempted to use Photoshop to erase a couple people from the photo? Be that as it may, don’t make too many edits and definitely don’t get caught in the bottomless pit that is the filter.
Two quick things you can do to make your photo look better is to add a little contrast and slightly increase the saturation but remember the golden rule; your edits should boost your photos, not change them.
But most of all, don’t forget to have fun. Don’t stress about taking photos the right way – it will become second nature to you before you know it. Then, you can truly capture the adventure.
Stephanie Lewis is a writer and a new born photographer. She joined Photography Concentrate team in 2017 and since then she has been trying to pursue the best photography and editing practices. Besides photography, she loves having coffee, meeting new people and travelling to exotic places.
Read more photography blogs at https://photographyconcentrate.com/