A picture might say a thousand words, but what exactly are your photographs saying? Travel photography doesn’t have to be a daunting skill for professionals who own fancy cameras and top-notch gear; it can totally be enjoyed by any traveler whether you’re using a disposable, cell phone or even a Polaroid camera. Between selfies to social media, many of us are guilty of rushing to take pictures and disregarding the quality and content of our photographs.
When it comes to snapping away while you’re galavanting through a new and exciting destination, remember that these pictures are your memories from precious and fascinating moments on your trip, so it’s important that your pictures reflect the best visuals of your experiences. Follow these 5 simple tips to improve your travel photography skills for your next adventure!
Focus on Faces
Sounds obvious, we know! But whether its parakeet, panda or passerby, it’s often best practice to focus your lens on the face in front of you. It makes for a fantastic photograph that not only captures your surroundings but also it also offers a glimpse into the locals of the place you’re in, from people to wildlife. This is especially great for simpler point-and-shoot cameras. With a subject to focus on, the pictures tend to come out much crisper. Have an iPhone 8 or higher? Turn on “portrait mode” and watch how your mobile phone can turn you into a professional portrait photographer!
Follow the Locals
Sometimes, getting a good photograph isn’t only about how we take our picture, but what we are taking pictures of. It’s great to see a bunch of photographs of The Eiffel Tower in Paris, but what else will you remember about the French capital? Follow the locals and observe their behavior; don’t be scared to take photographs of people in their daily lives. If you’re getting up close and personal, however, make sure to ask permission. Some examples are taking photographs of local advertisements, school kids playing in the fields or simply of your favorite random street that might tell a personal story behind it.
Wake Up Early
The early bird catches the worm…and the best photographs! If you can manage to get out of bed and start your day early, you’re guaranteed to capture some great shots and we’re not just talking pretty sunrises. Getting up before the rest of your destination does, might mean getting the location to yourself for some brief moments. Whether you’re trying to catch a good shot with the famous ILOVENY sign or trying to avoid the massive hordes to see the Taj Mahal, you’re much more likely to catch a breathtaking (and stranger-free) shot of your subject if you beat the crowds to it!
Stick with the Rule of Thirds
If there is one professional piece of advice everyone should take it when it comes to photography, it would be to master the rule of thirds. The basic principle says to break an image into thirds; horizontally and vertically. Imagine the photograph is broken into 9 parts; a feature on many cameras that is possible on your viewfinder. If not, imagine a tic-tac-toe board and place your interest in the intersections of these lines. By doing this, it makes the photograph more balanced and attracts people more naturally when viewing your photographs.
Don’t Obsess Over Equipment
Why? Well, does the kind of brush a painter uses make them a great painter? Just because you have the most expensive, cutting-edge gear doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to be (or are) a great photographer. What will be most important in making your travel photos, spectacular is creativity. Leave the pricey gear to the professionals, and instead spend your time (not your money) on learning how to use your camera properly, going over all of its settings and modes. It’s a far better investment, and cheaper too!
Have any photo tips of your own? Share them with us in the comments below!