Travel and photography go hand in hand. It’s pretty much a given. When we travel, we want to shoot photographs of the things we see and experience so we can remember them later. Another reason we shoot photographs when we travel is to share our memories with friends and family. Talking about our experiences is one thing but being able to show people what we saw adds a whole new dimension to our stories.
We live in an amazing time. We have unprecedented access to to technology that our parents did not. That means we can take a photo, process it, and share it with all our friends and family members via social media in seconds. Think about that for a second…it’s crazy!
But that also means people want to see fairly high quality, well-shot photos. Why is the quality of your photos important? Well, because of social media, there are literally billions of photos floating across the web everyday. The point in sharing your photos is to attract people’s attention. Granted, many might be attracted simply because they are interested in your life. In any case, a photo is the easiest way to peak someone’s interest and a good photo will have them coming back every time.
When it comes to the quality of an image, the choices are unlimited. You could use a super expensive camera such as a Nikon or Cannon (like I do) or you could use your phone (like I do as well). Phones, these days, have decent camera technology in them. I mean, you won’t be able to blow a photo you take with your phone up to giant proportions but it’ll do just nicely for social media sharing. On top of this, you can use apps such as Snapseed or Photoshop to clean up your shots and make them more crisp.
But when it comes to actually shooting a photograph, there are a number of techniques you can play with to capture that beautiful, creative, and perhaps awe-inspiring shots. Follow these tips to up your photo snatching game and watch as people love your photos even more.
1) Change your perspective
It can be easy to shoot everything from eye level and most people do. This makes for a very vanilla collection of photos. Instead, switch it up a bit. Squat or lie down to take your photo. Maybe shoot from the knee or raise your camera into the air. This will add another dimension to your memories and create some awesome shots!
2) Know your location
Everyone can travel these days and that means just about any location you go to has been photographed. So it’s your job to present a different view of some of the same shots. Offering a fresh, new perspective on things is definitely more interesting then taking the same photo of the same landmark that has been reproduced countless times. By knowing your location, you make it more possible to capture that extraordinary shot.
3) Get Inspired
Like I said, there are billions of photos floating across the web everyday and you can use these to your advantage. Use Pinterest of Instagram to notice other travel photos to inspire you. Maybe you will see a photo and think of how you would shoot it differently. Whatever it is, the internet is a great place to find inspiration.
4) Shoot Randomly
Sometimes it’s best not to think too much about your shot. I’ve had plenty of great photos come from simply pointing and shooting. Try not to think to hard about it sometimes.
5) Compose your shot
On the flip side, I am definitely an advocate of composing and framing photos. This might mean showing up before all the other tourists arrive or it might mean waiting for that perfect shot. The rule of thirds is also a pretty invaluable tool for shooting great photos. Basically, cut your frame (in your mind) into thirds using both horizontal and vertical lines. Then place your subject or the point of interest over the areas where these line intersect or on a particular line. Some cameras have this feature included.
6) Take note of the small details
Don’t just focus on the bigger picture. Some of the best shots I’ve ever taken were more focused on some small aspect of the bigger picture. A door handle, a flower, an insect, a pattern, an odd color in a sea of normal colors…these types of details can be very provocative and emotive. Make a statement by toning it down.
7) Document your entire journey
As you explore your destination, make sure you always have at least one camera on you. I tend to carry my Nikon with me when I am hiking, exploring a city, or doing other touristy things. When I head out at night, I just take my phone and when I am in transit I carry my Go Pro in addition to the others. You never know when that perfect shot will present itself.
8) Understand lighting
You don’t need to lug around heavy, gaudy lighting equipment. At the most, take a detachable camera flash. Personally, when I travel, I tend to only use the built in flash on my camera. But it’s important to recognize the direction and type of light you are shooting in. You can do a lot to manipulate ambient light and create stunning images.
9) Be Present
It’s fantastic to try and capture fun, awe-inspiring, or emotive moments but it’s also important to be present. I always think of photographs as memories. In fact, as a photographer, I have the ability to manipulate memories…and that’s pretty cool. Nevertheless, if you are not enjoying your adventure because you are too busy trying to capture it on photo then you are missing out. Be present, connect with people and places, and your photos will be that much better!
10) Have fun!
This sort of goes with number nine. You need to have fun when you travel. Enjoy the experiences, the scenery, and the vistas. The more enjoyable your excursions are, the better it will translate through photography. So get out there and take some awesome photographs from your travel!
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