So the last three Guide to Travel Photography articles got you up and raring to go and book cheap flights to your favorite photographable destinations. Plus, you’re feeling quite confident about the basics and your newfound abilities, right? Well, it only seems right to push the subject a bit into the direction of some more advanced techniques and things to watch out for in photography. While there are nearly endless subjects that I could touch upon for advanced tips for travel photography (like mastering your settings for optimum quality, how particular lenses are better for certain shots and certain lighting situations, or how to overcome the many and varied issues that can arise, like Chromatic Aberration or Moiré), I decided to focus on some of the more common and to be honest, more elementary techniques. Without further ado, check out these five technical tips for advanced travel photographers.

Underexpose, Overexpose, Do What You Have to for the Most Detail

If shooting HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography is a goal of yours, then it all starts at the initial shooting time. Without detail in your photographs, HDR processing will not work. Briefly, HDR is the process of blending the best pixels available from multiple exposures. So, if you were to take a photography of a dark building, but the sky is bright (which is quite typical), then you need to take the same exact photograph in 3-5 exposures from very dark to dark, medium exposure, and light to very light. You can do this with one single shot if you shoot in RAW format on your camera. However, shooting each of the exposures live with a tripod will yield the best overall quality. Then, pull these multiple exposures into programs like Photomatix to process them together. The point to think about is, if you blew out the sky, where it’s all true white, there’s no detail there. And, the same goes for underexposed areas in a photograph.

Get the Sharpest Details

Woman taking photo using tripod

I’ve spoken about this at length in the article “#2: The don’t do’s,” but I wanted to stress how important focus is. Nothing kills an image like soft details, and no company will want your photos, and no customer will buy a gallery print if they’re too soft! Shoot with a tripod, rice, or sandbag if you can make that work. Simply steady your camera however you can and shoot with a high shutter speed, low ISO, and high aperture for ideal sharpness.

You may also enjoy: Oh Snap! Here Are Some Do’s and Don’ts of Travel Photography

Watch Out for Distortion

Woman taking picture of clouds

Do you know that weird and funky, yet intriguing illusion that your camera does sometimes? For example, when you take a photo of a person and their head is too big, because it’s the closest thing to the lens? Well, it might be fun to play with – and yes, it can work sometimes – but it’s not nearly as endearing as you may think it is. If you’re shooting people, shoot your lens at 100mm or higher to balance out the distortion. But, this is one of those rules that can be broken if the situation calls for it. For example, if you’re shooting a brilliant landscape scene with fantastic clouds that are quite fast-moving, slow your shutter speed, and shoot your lens wide open. Sometimes the effect is spectacular because the clouds can appear as though they’re being pulled beyond your image.

Master Your White Balance

Sure, you can shoot every photo on auto-white balance, and I surely do that from time to time. But to advance in your work, you need to understand how to use and manipulate each part of your camera that can alter your images the way you want. Learning when to use a custom white balance is a great tool for changing the mood of a photograph. Sometimes warming up (boosting the red and orange tones) or cooling (boosting the blues and cyan tones – and desaturating the reds) an image can entirely change the mood and the feeling that your viewer is able to have.

Play With Slowing Your Shutter

Man Using Camera

Photographing with a slow shutter speed is an old trick, but it’s as classic as anything is in photography. Mounting your camera on a tripod and slowing down the shutter creates a multitude of new possibilities. This works great when you’re shooting at night, of course. But, it can also work really well when you’re shooting fast-moving clouds or flowing waters. Have some fun with it, but always shoot with a steady camera, or else you’ll have the most ungodly unsharp images imaginable.

Editor’s note: You can learn more about Brandon Elijah Scott at, where you can also see examples of his travel photography.

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