You do not need to be an expert to take great travel photos. Advancing technology can turn almost anyone into a pro. There is software for the most novice of us to help turn our average photo into something pretty amazing. There are even Apps that will give your smart phone snaps an instant makeover, ensuring they standout in everyone’s Instagram feed.
As travelers we all take photos of all the wonderful sights we see. We not only take these photos for ourselves, to help keep the memories alive as time passes, but we also share with them our family, friends and even complete strangers. Some of us even turn our photographs into a photo book as gifts for loved ones.
It’s a good idea to know a few basics techniques to ensure you get the best out of the photos you take. However, don’t just rely on the editing process, there are things you can do to achieve beautiful photos before you even get to that stage.
Timing is Everything for Good Travel Photography
Something as simple as light can turn an average shot into something spectacular. Its not always possible to be in the right place at the right time of course but you will see a difference between a shot taken at dawn compared to the shot taken at midday. Try to capture your subject at dawn or dusk. A great photo doesn’t just need a good subject, it needs good light.
The Rule of Thirds
I used to be someone who centered all her subjects, and sometimes it needs to be done that way, but usually if you stand by the ‘thirds’ rule, it will completely change the look of your photo. Imagine your photo frame divided into 9 equal parts – Three squares across by 3 squares down. If you capture your subject at one of the meeting points it will make for a far more interesting photo than if it was centered.
We all love taking shots of skylines at night but how many of us end up with a sharp image? The way to ensure you get a sharp image when taking night shots is to use a tripod. Our hands are not steady enough for the slow shutter speed to hold the camera for the perfect night shot. So invest in a tripod if you want to see sharp night images. Also, the best time to take night photos is while there is still a little bit of light left in the sky so don’t wait until its completely dark as you will miss that perfect shot.
Get on the Ground
Play with different angles of the same subject and see which works best. Sometimes to get the best shot you will need to get down on the ground, flat on your stomach. Or go the opposite way and stand on a chair to shoot down. Its all about experimenting and finding the angle the shows the subject in the best way. The good thing about digital photography is you can take 100 shots of the same subject and just delete the ones that didn’t turn out.
Back It Up!
Can you imagine the heartache if you lost all your photos, especially that one that you got up at 4am for? Back up and then back it up again. After a day of shooting, not only should you back up your images on your hard drive, you should also back them up to a cloud device (Dropbox, iCloud etc). And only when both backups are complete should you delete the images off the SD card.
Know Your Camera
Get to know your camera and learn about the different settings, only then will you be able to take great photos. Shooting in auto mode is easy yes, but it does not allow you to fully explore the capabilities of your camera. You will be surprised at the difference between shooting in auto mode and manual mode once you understand it a little better. YouTube is a great place to start for free tutorials. For those of you using a smart phone you too can learn how to take better shots through YouTube presentations. You don’t need a fancy dSLR to create beautiful memories.
Do you have any other tips?