Travel photography is something that everyone participates in. From your average tourist who has a point and shoot camera to a hobbyist or even semi-professional photographers. It is one of the fundamental parts of travelling. As a travel photographer, you will be looking for more than just holiday snaps. You’ll want to take the type of photos that will inspire people to travel to that destination and tell a story. So if you have ever been disappointed in your travel photos, fear not. Here are 6 tips to help you capture great travel photographs.
Show an experience
One of the common mistakes that people make when it comes to travel photography is missing the type of photos that show an experience. For example, a photo of the Eiffel tower will look great. But on its own, it’s simply an observation of the place. But add a couple of photos of people’s experience around the Eiffel Tower and suddenly you have a story of the place. This could be as simple as a couple sitting and enjoying the view. Or a cyclist riding under it. These types of shots help you to capture more unique photos of places that have been photographed millions of times and give a much more rounded picture of the destination.
Stop getting mesmerized
We are all guilty of it… You walk up to that famous landmark that has been on your bucket list for years and you can’t see anything beyond it. It is almost like you become unaware of anything else. While that’s understandable and you should absolutely photograph the main subject as much as you want, you also need to try and pull yourself away to see the bigger picture. By stopping and looking around you will often find a whole host of other less obvious photo opportunities. From close-up details to the potential viewpoints that might give you a different angle of the landmark, try to see beyond the main attraction. You might just end up with a photo that is completely unique.
Slow down and take a breath
I am always amazed when I see people rushing around like headless chickens taking photos at any location. They can’t possibly be thinking about the shots properly or composing them in the best possible way. It is more about just ticking off the shots than making each photo the best that it can possibly be. Don’t be one of those photographers! Instead, train yourself to slow down and take in what is in front of you and really thinking about the scene. Work out the best angles and the settings that you may need. Try to picture the photos you want to take in your mind before lifting the camera. Once you have taken a set of photos, go back and start again. You’ll be amazed at how often you will end up with better photos the second time around. This does, of course, mean that you need to give yourself more time at a location than the average tourist. But it will be worth it for the photos you capture.
Use the resources available
I often talk about the importance of research before any shoot. It is the basis of any successful photography trip and without good research, you are not going to get the photos that you would want to capture. But one of the great advantages that photographers have these days is that they have so many more resources for research. Beyond just searching on the internet there is also Google Maps that can be invaluable in giving you the exact spot you need to be at for a shot by using street view. Google Earth is also incredibly useful for anyone wanting to see what an elevated view would look like when using a drone for example. Beyond these, there is also social media. It is an incredibly useful source of information where you can often get insider information from locals on potential shoot spots. So learn to utilise all of the resources available to you to plan your shoot.
Visit out of season
If you go to any famous photography destination at the recommended time of year, you will no doubt be joined by loads of other photographers. That shouldn’t discourage you, but it does mean that you are likely to end up with photos that look like lots of other photographers. But go to that destination at a different time of year and you might just end up with some truly unique photos that very few other photographers might have. For example, everyone has seen plenty of photos of the Eiffel Tower in beautiful sunshine and blue skies, but on a snowy day, well that is something that is more unique. So don’t be afraid to go to places out of season. It will be cheaper, less crowded and give you different photos.
Learn to edit effectively
Some photos require very little editing. Others might need more. But one thing is for sure that every photo will benefit from some level of editing. How much will depend on the type of photo and also what you are hoping to achieve from that photo based on your style and vision. But learning to edit your photos effectively can open up new possibilities in being able to improve your photos. I would always recommend trying to capture a photo as best as you can in-camera. This will save you a lot of time and effort in post-production. But sometimes that isn’t possible and you need to adapt the photo to make it work the best you can. This could mean converting a photo to monochrome or even bleaching colours for a different effect. The more you know about editing the more you can adapt your photos during the shoot when conditions dictate a different look and feel.
Travel photography is a wonderful genre of photography to be involved in. But it can also be incredibly frustrating as you are always at the mercy of the elements and the scene in front of you. But with a little bit of planning and by using the tips above you will be sure to see an improvement in your travel photos.
Photo credits: Kav Dadfar – All rights reserved. No usage without permission. Dreamstime.