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Did you ever wish to have beautiful memoirs of your travels or maybe get some photos printed but alas you don’t like any of the pictures you have taken?
Trust me, we have all been there.
Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst. – Henri Cartier-Bresson, father of modern photojournalism
As Henri Cartier Bresson indirectly hinted, there is a steep learning curve that goes with photography even in this digital age when it’s quite easy to get your hands on a camera.
However, there are certain techniques that can be practiced right away to dramatically notch up your photography game. And in addition, can make you an official travel photographer of your group.
Whether you are using a DSLR or a simple phone camera, here are the top travel photography tips I wish I knew when I first started shooting three years ago.
While most of these concepts can be applied in normal circumstances as well, it becomes even more crucial during travel photography with limited equipment available for disposal.
So, let’s get straight into it, shall we?
- Lighting – Travel Photography tips
- Perspective – Travel Photography tips
- Layering – Travel Photography tips
- Leading lines – Travel Photography tips
- Rule of thirds – Travel Photography tips
- Subject – Travel Photography tips
- A sense of movement – Travel Photography tips
- Minimalism – Travel Photography tips
- Depth of field – Travel Photography tips
- Reflection – Travel Photography tips
- Beginner Cameras for Travel Photography
- Products from Amazon.in
- Additional Resources and Courses
Lighting – Travel Photography tips
Lighting is one of the crucial aspects of photography and playing with light is one of my favourite activities to do while shooting pictures of my travels.
Without being able to afford additional lighting equipment while on the go, understanding the source of light and making ample use of naturally available light sources is even more necessary when it comes to travel photography.
If there is one thing you would want to take away from this post, then let it be lighting. Lighting is vital for a great picture, and it can either make or break a photo.
It could be light falling on the subject illuminating it, or backlit images producing a dramatic picture or silhouette images telling a story, there are so many ways to play with light.
Far too many times, I have seen people taking pictures with the sun to their backs, and expect to have a well lit up photo with their face clearly visible. Which is obviously not possible if the light is not falling directly on the face of the subject. So, make sure you place yourself or your subject in accordance with the direction of the light.
Backlit photos can do wonders if the light is positioned properly. Backlit photos are the ones where the subject is directly in between the source of light and the camera resulting in a backlit image which could lead to some dynamic and interesting images.
If you are looking to make silhouette images then make sure the foreground is darker than the background. Also, reduce the clutter as much as possible to please the senses.
The best time to photograph would be, without a doubt, during the golden hour and blue hour.
The Golden hour is a period shortly after sunrise or before sunset during which light is redder and softer than when the sun is higher in the sky.
The blue hour is a period of twilight in the morning and in the evening, when the sun is at a significant depth below the horizon and when the residual, indirect sunlight takes on a predominantly blue shade.
Perspective – Travel Photography tips
Always aim for a different perspective. Either plan for top view or a bottom view image or point your camera at an oblique angle. Having a different perspective than eye level can produce some intriguing images.
Layering – Travel Photography tips
Layers can add depth to the image. Have a foreground, midground and a background which can layer your picture and make it seem alluring.
Leading lines – Travel Photography tips
Use leading lines to guide the viewer through the image towards the subject. It paves an easy path for the viewer to follow and can make it pleasing to the beholder. Usually, they start at the bottom of the image and guide your way upward.
Rule of thirds – Travel Photography tips
Always use the rule of thirds. It’s a brilliant rule in photography for better composition which was derived from painting. This goes to say that it’s aesthetically better to place the subject at one-third or two-thirds of the image in both horizontal and vertical axis rather than at the center of the image.
However, there are professionals who break the rule of thirds once in a while and come out with an aesthetically pleasing picture, but when you are starting out, it’s better to stick to the rule of thirds.
Note – For beginners, modern day phone cameras are equipped to display the screen in grids which help in better deciding where to place the subject.
Subject – Travel Photography tips
Always have a subject in the picture. Not necessarily a person, but it could be a boat or stone or a tree for that matter. Unless you are planning to create abstract images, it is always a good idea to have a subject in the picture. Subject acts an anchor for the picture – first thing eyes wander to when you look at the image.
A sense of movement – Travel Photography tips
Have a moving element in the picture can add an enchanting facet to the image. It could be a moving car, running animal or even as simple as pouring a drink!
Minimalism – Travel Photography tips
Choose a maximum of two colors in the frame to have a minimalistic look. More the colors, more cluttered the pictures will look! (This is something I’m striving to achieve too since I love colors and use colors extensively in my pictures, it’s difficult to restrict them!)
Note – If you think there are too many colours which are taking away the essence of the image, then it is a good idea to convert it into a grayscale image(B&W).
Depth of field – Travel Photography tips
If you think there is too much clutter in the background, and there is no way to avoid it, use the depth of field to blur the background. It helps to focus on the subject and makes the image more pleasing. The depth of field is an amazing concept when it comes to portrait photography.
Reflection – Travel Photography tips
It could be a pond, puddle or a pool, be on the lookout for reflections. Using reflections in your images can easily help in creating a stunning picture! The professionals say it’s alright to break the rule of thirds and look for symmetry only in case of reflections.
Even though our phone cameras have developed exponentially over the years, there are still many limitations when it comes to phone photography. Astrophotography is something I’m fascinated about, but unfortunately our phones are not equipped to handle night sky photography yet. It mandates using a DSLR and having significant exposure to capturing shots out of Auto mode. If you are keen on night sky photography, then check out Pratap’s site pratapj.com for excellent tips on the same!
If you want to get serious about photography, keep in mind that like everything else in life that’s worth doing, honing your photography skills takes time and effort. It doesn’t happen overnight. So, don’t be deterred if you are not making progress right away.
And, don’t be afraid to experiment with your camera and more importantly, have fun while doing it!
Also, take the time to truly be in the moment and watch the marvel of the universe with your own eyes and not just through the viewfinder! It’s necessary to strike a balance between the two.
Beginner Cameras for Travel Photography
Here are some beginner cameras recommended by The Roving Heart.
Additional Resources and Courses
Not exactly travel related, but still, there’s a lot to learn about photography from here as well – A free and quick introduction to Fine Art photography course on Udemy
If you have any other travel photography tips, let me know in the comments below.
If you found this post useful and helped you on your travels, then don't forget to share your experience along with a photo with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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