Travel Photography Made Easy
“Carmen, how to you take your photos on your travels?”, is easily my number 1 most commonly asked question.
Over the last few years, I was able to capture countless memories, some of which take me back to the place the photo was taken the second I look at it. The perfect travel photo tells a story, holds on to a special moment, let’s you dream of new and old adventures, and allows you to share a moment of solitude with all your loved ones.
I am by no means at all a professional photographer. I am still picking up my skills as I go and practice has given me the chance to visualise my creative eye. In fact, the school of trial and error probably taught me the most. If you are about to head off on a new adventure and want to take some unforgettable and unique travel photos, this post is for you!
Having a natural frame to your picture will make it stand out. Think about the setting and the object you want to focus on most. Starting off, consider symmetry as an important factor. Whether you see your picture in an Instagram square or in an opulent frame it will one day be surrounded by in your living room, ask yourself how it would look like with nothing else around it; the picture as is. Does it have enough impact to draw someone’s attention in? For scenery snaps, keep the rule of thirds in your mind. Basically, by dividing your scene into thirds both horizontally and vertically, it is said to offer greater visual appeal. A slightly more rule-breaking, unorthodox approach, however, is far more suitable for street-style shots.
It’s all about the light. As a rule of thumb, don’t shoot into the light, unless you want to make a silhouette. Use the sun to your advantage by capturing sun rays or by letting it literally light up your subject’s face. On an overcast day, don’t focus too much on the sky, but rather take the opportunity to use the soft light to master your wildlife or people shots.
By changing up your vantage point you will be able to create a more unique shot. When you shoot children or animals, both of which you are likely to come across on your travels, capture the picture at your subject’s eye level to give it a more realistic and intriguing frame.
4. Gear Up
I remember the days I used to shoot with a standard point-and-shoot digital camera and I would constantly get annoyed at how over-exposed everything seemed. The difference between what I saw with my natural eye and what I saw on the screen of my camera was enormous. The colours were different, often a blue sky with a couple of clouds would turn into an overcast mess of greys and whites, and, and, and… Then came the day I finally invested into a DSLR. Best decision ever. Before you head off to the next camera store and spend hundreds of dollars on a black beauty that you can neither hold with one hand, nor know what to do with all the buttons on it, slow down.
Here is what you want to be looking for in your ideal travel companion:
– compact and light weight design
– high(ish) aperture (allows you to create more depth; especially good for portraits)
– wide-angle lens (best for scenery shots)
– great Auto mode and beginner friendly interface (to get you started with)
– interchangeable lens
– fast autofocus (for those unforeseen photo opportunities)
– solid battery life
– Wifi enabled (to ensure you can backup your precious photos as you go)
I personally use the Sony Alpha 6000, which I am very happy with.
5. The Bigger Picture
See the bigger picture. What is it your photo tells the world? Consider all its components – the focus, the expose, the colours, the detail, the mood – and create a seamless story capturing the eye of the beholder.