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How to Create the Perfect Travel Photographs

Posted on 17-Aug-2018
As the great landscape photographer Ansel Adam once said...

 

"You don't take a photograph, you make it"

 

To help you on your path to becoming a better travel photographer we have some basic tips to help you get started, so you have more time to spend enjoying the moment rather than trying to figure out how to work your camera settings.

 

 

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Preparation & Research

Whether it's a dream trip to the States or a weekend away in the UK, you need to do your research; that way you can work out where you need to be when you get there and the best way of finding your way around. You've gone all that way to ultimately see a new place and gain new experiences, so the last thing you want to be doing is spending all your time fiddling with your camera.

If your camera has manual settings, make sure you know how to use them before your trip. The great thing about photography is that it helps to capture those brief moments in time. Once you understand the technical stuff, you can focus on the creative stuff, which, let's be honest, is heaps more fun.

 

Immerse yourself in the culture and get off the beaten track

 

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If you're travelling to a foreign place, why not swap your Lonely Planet guidebook for a phrase book? That way you can immerse yourself in the culture and the locals will appreciate it. It's usually best practice to ask permission to take photographs, especially of people and their belongings, knowing the culture and the language, will really help in these situations. 


Getting off the beaten track and away from the tourist hotspots, is where you will really get to the heart of the country you are travelling through. As a photographer, you want to capture the iconic, the picturesque and the unusual, so don't be afraid to get lost down that side street or wander in the opposite direction to everyone else.

 

Lighting

 

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Lighting is one of the most important things to consider when you're wanting to improve your travel photography skills. The human eye is a hundred times more intelligent than the camera in your hand, so don't always assume that whatever you see in front of you is going to look as beautiful through your camera lens.

The best times to photograph are just after sunrise (there will also be less people around too) and a few hours before the sun sets. The way you use lighting in your photographs will have a huge impact on the way your photograph feels, so having a greater understanding and awareness of lighting is extremely important.

 

Framing and composition

 

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Framing and composition can help make you photographs look more dynamic and interesting. The world is an incredible place and more often than not the natural beauty of trees, canyons and mountains alike will help frame your photographs for you.

Decide what you want to be the main subject of the photo and place the framing objects around the edges of the photo, this will isolate the subject and draw your audience's eyes to what you want them to see.

One thing that all photographers must understand is the 'Rule of Thirds'. This is by no means something that you have stick to, but it's good to know as a budding travel photographer. The rule of thirds is very versatile and can be used on any subject and it will teach you that putting your subject smack bang in the middle of your frame is never a good idea, it can be boring and can make your photograph look awkward.

Instead divide your image up using two horizontal lines and two vertical lines. You can then position your subject along these lines or where the two points meet. It will be hard to start with, but it will soon become second nature to you. After all the composition of your photograph is your way of telling a story, so make sure it's a good one!

 

Move and zoom

 

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This doesn't just apply to travel photography, but to photography in general. Move closer to the object that you are taking a photo of; rather than a generic photo of a cathedral, move closer and photograph the unique and intricate detail of the architecture.

If it's a person you're taking a photograph of, don't be afraid to ask them if you can photograph them close up, as it can make your image more unique and interesting. If the lighting isn't working out for you, maybe try moving around the subject till you get the better shot. If you're camera has a zoom, use it! Zoom in and out on the subject, your eye will instantly know when it sees that perfect photograph.

 

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Photography is a key part of anyone's travels, and it will give you a set of memories that will stand the test of time. The best thing to remember when out photographing your travels, is to have fun.

And remember that becoming the next best travel photographer won't happen overnight. Henri Cartier-Bresson, who is one of the world's best photographers, once said "Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst". But if you follow these tips, you'll have a great time creating them regardless.

Topics: General