Travel Photography Tips & Tricks



Improving Your Travel Photography
By: Liana Minassian for Travel-Wise


An essential part of the travel experience, photography not only documents where you’ve been and who you were with, but also represents a moment frozen in time. It’s easy to go overboard snapping photos when on vacation, especially of the kids, but it’s important to strike a balance between enjoying the moment and capturing what you see.

Travel photography is not just about taking picture of every place you went on a trip. It should showcase your unique perspective and experience of a location in addition to making beautiful pictures with good lighting, composition, and exposure.

Once you’ve learned how to take better photos in general, focus on moving beyond being technically proficient. Next time you take a trip, get creative with your travel photos, keeping in mind the following tips.

Research the Location
Chances are, if you’ve made the decision to visit a specific location, you’ve already done a bit of research on it. Therefore, half the work’s already done!

But researching a location in relation to photographing it is a little different than just figuring out where to go and what to see while you’re there.

Of course you want to photograph all the things that drew you to that location in the first place — whether it’s the mid-century architecture, colorful street fairs, or photogenic beaches — but take things a little bit further.

Look through travel books or Google your destination online. Peruse Pinterest and Instagram for visual ideas of spots to check out. Maybe there’s a local ice cream shop that sells enormous cones covered in rainbow sprinkles, which would make for great photos of the kids.

Seek out the colorful and unique, taking into account how it relates back to the personality of your destination.

Get up Early and Stay out Late
No matter where you go in the world, things will look slightly different depending on the time of day. A lot of this is because of the change in lighting and the way the sun casts shadows in some places and illuminates others.

Take full advantage of how light plays with locations by getting up early and staying out late. Landscapes in particular can benefit from this rule.
Even though the Grand Canyon looks magnificent on a cloudless day, imagine how beautiful it would be at sunrise or sunset.

Choosing to visit a location during a specific time of day works in terms of the pace of a place as well. Many smaller villages and towns might be bustling in the early morning, but activity tapers off during midday or at night.

Conversely, some cities don’t really come alive until night falls, so plan your photography around capturing a place during its most iconic moments.

Have Your Camera at the Ready
While you certainly should have time during your vacation to just enjoy the present moment — and the people you’re in it with — when you do decide to go out and explore with your camera, be ready.

Make time to immerse yourself in the moment, taking note of what draws you in while still paying attention to all the possibilities swirling around you. Think of it like a photo safari where you must ready yourself in the event that a beautiful creature walks into the frame.

Perfect shots are sometimes elusive and can disappear in an instant. Life moves at its own pace so you may have to take your cues from your surroundings rather than the other way around.

Keep your camera on an auto setting that doesn’t require a lot of adjusting to allow for spontaneity.

Try a Different Angle
It’s fine to want to emulate the photos on postcards, but once you get that shot, move on to something else. Sometimes a straight on shot is not the best one, so don’t be afraid to explore other angles.

If a building is super tall, shoot up at it for a more dramatic effect. Similarly, if the place you’re visiting has a lot going on, get closer to really hone in on the details.

The same goes for people. Most portraits only focus on a person’s head and shoulders, but those kinds of photos can be taken just about anywhere.

Context is just as important as what the person looks like when composing an interesting shot. Give the viewer a sense of place and time while still evoking a strong sense of emotion from your subject.

Communicate with the Locals
One of the best ways to really up your travel photography game comes from talking with the locals. Ask people you meet where the best place to watch the sunrise is or which old church has the most dramatic lighting during the day.

Other people can be a wealth of information since they know the area and have been around long enough to become a type of expert on what’s good and what isn’t. If the locals don’t speak English, find creative ways of overcoming the language barrier.

Locals can also have connections to places you otherwise wouldn’t have access to. Maybe they know the operator of a special attraction and can set up a private tour for you so you can photograph the area without tourists straying into the frame.

Talk to people and let them know what you’re looking to photograph. Most of the time they can point you in the right direction, or a better vantage point you didn’t even realize was there.

Even if they’re not sure how to help you, they probably know someone who does. As they say, it takes a village, even when it comes to perfecting your travel photography.

For more travel destinations, tips, and tricks go to Travel-Wise.



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