A photography album is a great way to showcase your work. Even if it’s just for friends and family, a photo album can mean that your photos are not just stuck on your hard drive for eternity. But putting together a photo album is also good practice for knowing what to shoot in the first place. If you know the type of photos that will go in your album you can ensure you get a diverse set of photos. So, here is what you should include in your photo album.
The big, epic Shot
Often shown in a magazine as a double-page spread, this is usually the epic wide-angle photo that pulls the viewer into a story. You want a photo that will grab the viewers’ attention and make them want to see more. Depending on what your album is about this shot will differ. For example, if you are showcasing a recent trip to a National Park, this shot might be a beautiful landscape shot taken at sunrise. Or in a city, this might be a cityscape during the blue hour. The most important thing for this key shot is the “wow” factor. The more of it that it has the more effective it will be.
Landmark photos will usually be nothing new. They are amongst the most photographed things in the world and unless you are very lucky you won’t be able to capture something that hasn’t been done before. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t photograph them. In fact, any landmark should be a high priority on your shot list and in your photo album. How you decide to take a photo of a famous landmark will be up to you but try not to overdo it in your photo album. Just two or three shots of a landmark will be more than enough. If you manage to capture something that stands out like for example with a stunning sunset in the sky have a bigger and more prominent photo in your album. Otherwise, you can always have a couple of smaller ones.
Try to avoid having repetitive photos of the landmark. So even if you are having three photos choose three that are different. For example, one could be a close-up of the details. Whilst another could be a photo of what is happening around it. This will ensure that you keep the viewer’s attention.
People are such an integral part of our experience of a place that they are vital for any photo album. But often amateur photographer struggle with taking photos of people due to shyness. Most people are friendly and happy to have their photo taken. Anyone who doesn’t will usually let you know politely. So, you shouldn’t have anything to fear. Photos of the locals are integral for any photo album but again as per the landmark photos, don’t overwhelm the viewer with them.
Pick out some key shots that represent the whole story. For example, a mix of portraits and environmental portraits often works really well.
One of the best places to get candid photos of locals going about their daily lives is in local markets. This is often where you will see the real destination away from the crowds. Local markets will also give you an opportunity to photograph local foods and produce as well so make it a priority for any destination you are visiting.
Another key component of a destination is local food. Every country, region or even city has its own speciality. You should research what these are and aim to capture some of them. Not only is food photography fun but also, well, delicious. After all who doesn’t like trying out different foods?
The great thing is that you don’t need a studio set up to capture food photos. In fact, often you will be able to capture photos of food handheld. If you are able to use a tripod or gorilla pod, then do so as it will make your job much easier. But otherwise, find a table near the window or better still outside ideally in the shade. Overcast or cloudy days are ideal for food photography as you won’t get harsh shadows. Select a fairly narrow aperture of f/8 and ensure your shutter speed is fast enough. Just don’t use a flash as the intense light will be too harsh and wash out the contrast and colours of the dish.
If you are photographing a city then one of your key shots should be a cityscape shot. This could often work as your epic double-page spread shot but it needs to be more than just the skyline. The best way to capture epic cityscape photos is to get a dramatic sky at sunrise or sunset. But also, stormy skies or even fog give some interesting results. You could also experiment with the composition. For example, try to capture something in the foreground or even zoom in using a telephoto lens which compresses the distance and give you a different result.
It might be an interesting doorknob or just a close-up of an engraving. Close-up shots are not going to wow the viewer like your epic double-page spreads, but they will help give your photos variety. Capture a few of these and you could set them as a collection of small photos in a grid. Not only would it look fantastic, but it will really engage the viewer to look at each detail.
We have all sat there when a relative has shown us hundreds of photos from their recent trip most of which are the same as ones before. Putting together a cohesive photo album from a recent trip is not only good practice for real-life (if you are working on a story) but also helps you to enjoy seeing and sharing your photos. People love seeing photographs and if you can engage your viewer, even if they are a family member or a friend, then you are on your way to being a great photographer.
Photo credits: Kav Dadfar – All rights reserved. No usage without permission. Dreamstime.