How to Take Better Travel Photos
Have you ever been frustrated by your inability to properly capture famous travel sites on camera? Or been disappointed with the lackluster photographs of a gorgeous sunset? You’re not alone. Many travelers can’t seem to duplicate what they see in person through the lens of a camera. But what if just a few simple tips could help you produce the professional-level photography you see all over social media? Before you take your next trip, try some of these tips from travel photography pros!
1. Get closer
Whether it’s moving physically closer or zooming in with a camera, proximity can make all the difference when you’re trying to capture a subject. The closer you are, the more detail you’ll get. These days phone and digital cameras are so advanced that unless you’re planning to sell your photos you won’t even need a special lens. You’ll be amazed by how much more you can capture by just taking a step (or zoom) forward!
2. Consider the lighting
This probably comes as no surprise, but light is one of the most important things to consider when taking a picture. Our eyes are much more adaptable than a camera lens, so what you see may not be what the camera captures. For example, if you take a picture directly into the sun, your camera will most likely only produce shadows or dark shapes. If you’re not sure what the light will look like through your camera, take a few test shots and then make any necessary adjustments.
3. Think about timing
When you decide to photograph is also crucial. Sunrise and sunset can produce incredibly unique photo opportunities. However, if you’re dealing with a stationary subject, you want to make sure the sun is in the most flattering position (usually shining directly toward it rather than behind it). Or maybe you want to try and take a photo without a lot of people around. If so, try and time your visit when the tourist crowds are thinnest.
4. Fill the frame
This can turn good photos into great photos. If you’re struggling to really capture a subject, try and allow it to fill the frame all the way to the edges with as little extra imagery as possible. This will let the viewer’s eye travel in a clear path across the picture without getting distracted by superfluous objects. Isolating a specific subject that interests you usually makes a much more interesting travel memory than a general panoramic shot.
5. The rule of thirds
This pro tip is easy to implement in your own picture-taking. Mentally imagine a grid that divides your photo into nine equal squares. Studies show that people’s eyes are usually first drawn to the four intersecting points of this grid, so do your best to capture the most interesting part of your photograph at these intersections. This will ensure the viewer is immediately drawn to the best part of the picture and create an overall balance even though the subject isn’t centered. It can feel a little strange at first, but take a few practice photos and you’ll start to notice a huge difference in the quality of your pictures!
6. Choose a focal point
Sometimes there’s just no way to prevent background distraction in your photograph, whether because of a large crowd, a patterned backdrop, or any of the other unpredictable factors that can affect travel photographs. If you find yourself in this situation, your best option is to choose a specific focal point. If you allow your camera to highlight one thing, it will bring that subject into focus and the rest of the background will fade or even become slightly blurry. This may sound bad, but it will actually allow you to have a clear, focused, and interesting shot even among the craziest of surroundings.
7. Think about color
Color is a crucial factor in a high-quality photo. Lots of color often means interesting pictures, but you want to be sure the colors go well together. It’s great to have a bright, vibrant photo, but if the colors clash then it will ultimately be unpleasant on the eyes and simply won’t photograph well. Aim for color wheel opposites, as they almost always look good together and balance each other out (for example, blue with yellow or red with green).
8. Tell a story
If a photo is really worth 1,000 words, you want it to say something important. Pick subjects that mean something to you. When you care and are passionate about something it will show in your work. Maybe it’s the photo you took at the top of a mountain you conquered, a new friend you made in the local market, or the monkey who befriended you during a tour. Those are the memories you’ll want to capture so you can remember them forever.
9. Change your perspective
Sometimes no matter how many camera tricks you try, the shot just isn’t turning out the way you want it to. If you’re having this problem, try changing your perspective. Can you go up higher and get a shot from above? Or maybe (as long as it’s safe!) try laying on the ground to get a cool angle from below. Some of the best photos aren’t of new objects, they’re just new ways of looking at the same objects. Be creative and find a perspective that uniquely captures your subject!
10. Be patient
What’s an underlying characteristic of the greatest photographers? They’re incredibly patient. Many wait days for the perfect lighting to fall across their frame or for a rare and exotic animal to cross their path. While most people don’t have days to sit around and wait, sometimes a bit of patience is worth it for the perfect shot. Wait for that cloud to shift in the sky, that person to move out of the way, or that breeze to die down. It could mean the difference between another discarded photo and capturing a precious memory.
Ready to test your photography skills around the world? Jaya Travel & Tours is here to help you make it happen! Give us a call today and we’ll help you turn your dream vacation into a reality. Be sure to capture it all on camera!