Taking photos during your travels is a great way to capture the feeling of a place and remember the people and things that stood out to you during your trip.
In the past I was a picture taking fiend on our travels, but my shots were not well composed or really very nice to look back at, especially for family and friends I wanted to share them with.
Over the years I’ve used many different cameras, but it turns out that the camera isn’t the most important part of photography. How you compose your shots and interact with your subject goes a lot farther in taking good pictures.
I have tried to hone my photography skills over the years by learning tips from websites such as dps.com and by talking to professional photographers we’ve met during our travels who are always willing to share a tip or two.
No matter what kind of camera you have, you can use these five simple travel photography tips to better compose your shots and improve your travel photos.
1. Follow the rule of thirds
If your camera has a feature that makes a grid, turn it on, at least until you master this tip. Putting the subject of your photo on the grid line intersections will create more interest than placing it in the center of the photo. Lining up the horizon with either the top or bottom horizontal line will also add more interest.
2. Where is the light?
Be sure your subject is not backlit, meaning the light source is not behind it. Backlit subjects will appear as shadowy figures and you will lose a lot of the details of what you are shooting. Conversely this can work to your advantage if you are trying to capture an interesting silhouette.
3. Groups of three
Taking pictures of groups of three is visually interesting to the human eye. When possible, try to get a group of three things or people in your shot.
4. Don’t fear taking pictures of people
I, like many people, have a fear of taking pictures of people. I don’t want to come across as impolite or intrusive. But pictures of people are almost always my favorites from our travels. Over time I’ve learned how to get over my fear and be respectful at the same time. One way is to take photos of people from a distance using your zoom. This works especially well if you are trying to get a more candid shot. Another option is to ask the person you would like to take the photo of if it’s okay with them first. You can do this by miming and smiling nicely, or better yet by learning to say “May I take a picture?” in the local language. At all times, follow the golden rule and “treat other people the way you would want to be treated.”
5. Set up the shot you want
Try to visualize the picture you want to take, and then create the set up to make it happen. Maybe a boat is coming from far off and you want to frame it in a certain way. Perhaps you find a particularly cool background and all you need is a subject to walk in front of your “canvas”. Think about setting up and creating the shots you want, rather than just shooting what’s right in front of you. (This photo is kind of blurry, but you get the idea.)
Do you have any travel photography tips? Please share them in the comments!
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