5 Step Guide for Better Travel Photographs.
Many people have asked me the same question, 'How can I take better holiday photographs'. People want to know how they turn those 'holiday snaps' into the breathtaking photographs you see in books and magazines. Taking the better photograph is not as hard as it seems. There are a few simple rules to follow but the rest is up to you, you don't even have to be 'creative' just just have to know what you like! I have put together a 5 step guide to help you get the very best from your snaps.
Before reading the steps ask yourself what it is you want from your photographs. I'm a portrait photographer so I'm always looking to photograph people.
Welcome to the world of photography. follow my 5 step guide you will find you self quickly taking better travel photographs. Have fun, its what its all about!!
Your camera and stuff........
3 rules to remember to make being a well equipped travel photographer easy.Your camera has to be available. This means having enough film/memory, battery life and the condition of your camera is good, its not going to 'break down'!Your camera and equipment has to be safe. Safe from sand, water and safe from theft. Don't carry your camera in a bag that looks like a camera bag. There are lots of designs of camera bags that bust look like ruck sacks. Separate camera insurance is something to really think about.Your camera has to be easy to travel with. After all you are a travel photographer now. Don't carry too much! Really think about what you are going to be photographing so you know what lends you are likely to need, only take one to two spare batteries, and charge them in you hotel over night. Compact cameras are really easy and not need as much thought about packing as an SLR does. Most SLR cameras nowadays are relatively small and made of plastic so they are pretty light weight, perfect for the travel photographer!
Be ready with your camera, have it there...ready! There has been a few occasions where I have been kicking myself because I simply wasn't ready. practice getting your camera out of its bag so it becomes a slick maneuver! Or better still have you camera around your neck at all times. Make sure your camera is set up correctly. If you are using the cameras auto settings make sure you have it on 'landscape' and not 'night portrait' for a landscape shot.
Tip. Get yourself a small note book and pencil, (pencils write in the rain!) you can carry this with your camera for all you ideas and reminders.
Research, research, research!
Its so important to get a Photographs Notebook before you start planning your Photography Trip.
- One of the most important things about being a successful photographer is simply looking at others work. Go to the library there are soooo many beautiful travel photography books. Flick though travel magazines such as 'Wanderlust' or of course 'National Geographic'. Pop into the news agents and have a quick look though the dozens of travel magazines, you don't even have to buy one! If you only have a short amount of time surf the net, use a search engine and go mad, you will quickly come across many travel photographers and photographs. Or even look at old photographs that you or your family/friends have taken.
- When you come across a very eye catching photograph write down why you like it, this may be style, composition, subject or simply you like the colors. Its important to know what you like in photographs, this will make you a more careful and a much better photographer.
Research also involves researching the place you are about to travel to. Get an idea of the people that live there, what the main source of income for those people are. The type of buildings that are in the area and what the landscape is made up of. Make a list of things that you want to photograph. Knowing what is there before you get there means that you can get a good idea of what it is you want images you want to come away with.
Look for the obvious..............
- And shoot in the other direction! Taj Mahal for example is one of the worlds most photogenic places, especially with good lighting. but for me spending 20 minutes photographing something that I can buy on a post card frustrates me! Why not forget the cliché angles and try photographing from a different view. Try not even looking though the view finder or the LCD screen and 'shoot blind'. Photograph the other hundred people photographing the same thing. Or even play the the focus, take that cliché shot but out of focus Photograph the street vendors selling those photographs your trying to avoid! Be adventurous! Look and get closer than most and get the details of the bigger picture, use your zoom or your feet!! Shoot images for different angles. Stand on a wall or lie on the ground. Photograph people going about there day to day life. Be brave and I guarantee you will have much for exciting photographs!
Too light or not too light...........?
Its well know that the best light comes straight from the sun! I am madly in love with morning and evening light. Get up early and shoot your subject with the morning sun or even the first glimpse of the sun rise. Just at the sun is setting the light is gold, making it extremely flattering for portraits and skin tones.
Try using the flash out doors even when the light is bright. This can bring a hole different dimension to your photographs, making the subject stand out and add a lot more interest. When photographing a subject where the sun is behind them using the flash will mean that your subject is not just a silhouette.
This goes back to experimenting and being brave. Don't do the norm with the lighting. Use natural light and your flash and have fun with both.
The photograph on the left is set with the sun behind the subject and no use of flash. As you can see it does give a nice effect. But by using the flash the model is brought to life.
By shooting in to the sun you get the effect of sunspots. Many photographers think of sun spots as a big no no, but I love the effect!
The golden Rule of thirds.......
for most people photographing the subject in the middle of the frame is the obvious thing to do. Bring more interest and dimension to your photograph by moving your subject away from the middle of the image. This is such a simple rule but can produce fantastic results. Imagine there is a three by three grid over the area you are going to photograph, simply 'place' the subject in one of the 9 sections.
If you are someone who always photographs in landscape try turning your camera to portrait. Use the rule of thirds, try positioning the subject, for example a car, in the bottom third. This will make for much more interesting photographs!!
Think about your camera and kit. Think about traveling light and only take what you need. Have your camera ready and always on the right settings.
Do your research. Know what you like in a photograph by looking at others works. Research the area you are traveling to and write a list of 'must take' photographs.
Take unusual shots. Look for the details in the bigger picture. Get really close to your subject. Take photographs of things that are going on around the subject like people doing their jobs.
Experiment with lighting. Make use of the soft morning and evening light. Make people and objects stand out by using the flash.
Use the rule of thirds. Take photographs from different angles. Turn your camera around and photograph landscapes in the portrait position.
Finally have fun. Don't think about taking the photograph to much just take it! This way you wont miss a moment. Enjoy using your camera, and you will enjoy the end result for many years to come!