5 Tips on How to Take Better Travel Photos
So, you’re heading off on that big adventure and want to avoid what happened last time. Yes, the boring, badly taken pictures of somehow unidentifiable landmarks…is that a waterfall?
Good news! Taking the perfect picture only requires a bit of planning, some strategy and the right equipment. Keep reading, what you consider to be, “right,” may be the reason you missed that sunset and ended up taking a picture of a black sky. In fact, let’s start with that:
1. The Right Equipment
The right equipment doesn’t necessarily mean the best equipment. In fact, unless you are a professional photographer who has spent years honing their craft (in which case you can probably read something else) the best equipment is the worst thing to pack.
You see, despite advances in digital photography, DSLR cameras, lenses and most importantly settings, are still incredibly complicated. There’s a good reason for this; professional photographers need as many options as is humanly possible to allow for multiple conditions.
You’re a traveller; you don’t need those things. Find a good “point-and-shoot” camera that has enough settings to allow for light, dark, motion and fast shooting. This way, you can see something you like the look of, take a picture of it and get on with the rest of your trip, while Mr Fancy Camera is still tweaking his lighting settings and asking everyone else what ‘that button does,’
Also, remember to play with your camera before your trip. Take heaps of pictures and learn the shortcomings of your equipment before attempting to take those magic shots.
Any good travel photographer will spend some time researching the places they are going to, and deciding which locations will yield the best shots. While this used to be an arduous process of flicking through travel guidebooks and magazines, now you can jump on Google Images, and all the work is done for you. Photography blogs will also tell you the best times of day to shoot in various locations and have the added advantage of giving you some insights into your destination.
3. Don’t Fall for the Cliché Photo Trap
Now that you’ve been on Google, you will have noticed that many of the images look identical. Cliché photos are fine and if you feel the inclination to take the picture that everyone else is taking, then go for it – that’s the beauty of digital photography. But look around, there are probably some amazing things happening beyond the thing that everyone is looking at.
4. Capture Candid Moments
This is the importance of having a camera that you can quickly grab, point and shoot. Even professional photographers tend to carry around a camera like this to avoid the disappointment of missing that perfect shot.
Remember, in the age of digital photography you can’t get it wrong – that’s why delete buttons were invented. Pay close attention to everything going on around you, and keep your finger on the button.
5. Understand Context
One of the most important tips any amateur photographer can receive is to understand that the context you see as a traveller, may not translate to a few hundredths of a second, and a small portion of what you can see.
If something is big, make sure you have something small in the photo to communicate that. If you’re taking a picture of a group of people huddled under a shelter in a tropical downpour, make sure puddles, splashes, the grey sky and anything else that communicate the weather is in the shot.
A photograph is like a joke; if you have to explain it then it’s not that good.
Finally, remember to prioritise people. The relationships you forge and the people you meet will be some of the most treasured memories of your travels. You can purchase postcards of famous landmarks, beautiful waterfalls, ocean views and sprawling cities; what makes your photos unique as the people you will with, and your unique point of view.
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