Travel photography can sometimes be a tricky one.
Unlike other forms of photography (e.g. food photography which happens in a controlled environment, after all, it’s not like this pie’s running away) there are too many variables which can end up with you getting either an amazing (one-off) photo or a really crappy photo (like so crappy it feel like your fingers and the “DELETE” button have some kind of magnetic attraction).
In any case, here are some pretty easily guaranteed tips to help you take brilliant travel photos:
1.) Cities generally look prettier at night. There’s just that extra magic the cloak of night time adds to travel photos. One caveat here though, you need a stable base for your camera for brilliant night photos and so unless you’re an expert at taking photos using ledges and park benches (no one really is), invest in a tripod (and perhaps a remote) to help you get the best pictures.
Also, play around with the shutter speed – with a stable base for the photos, you’d be surprised at how fantastic photos with a 10-second exposure turns out.
2.) Look for a high point. This one should be pretty obvious but some of the best travel photos are those taken from a high viewing point. Not only do you get to capture quite a lot from this vantage point, but you also get the chance to play guessing games when you look back at the photos and try to figure out where all the places you’d been to are located in your pictures.
3.) Play around with the angles. Sometimes, it seems like the best photos are taken staring directly at it with you standing up but this isn’t always the case. Playing around with angles can produce some pretty epic and unique photos that truly capture your travels in a unique and fascinating light.
4.) Get between some leaves. Taking a photo of places with leaves around the photo edges can help make the photo subject even more attention-grabbing.
It’s important to make sure of course that you don’t end up focussing on the leaves instead of your subject! Carried out properly, this can make for some amazing photos – almost even capturing the feeling of the first moment you laid eyes on whatever your subject matter is.
5.) Go out in bad weather. The norm with bad weather is to avoid it at all costs (bad weather here being things like rain or snow and indeed very different from extreme weather like hurricanes). Rainy and snowy photos can make for some utterly beautiful photos – guaranteed to impress! (Plus seeing as everyone else typically avoid bad weather, you’ll end up with relatively unique photos).
6.) Even when it’s dark, switch off your flash. The flash on your camera seems like the best tool in bad lighting but can sometimes make photos rather lacklustre. My default photography mode is without flash but as with the night time photos, try to get a stable base and perhaps a slightly longer exposure to get some stunning photos in lowly lit areas.
7.) Make the extra effort for sunrise and sunset. These are the times when I like to think the sun gets to fully display its character and the photos that you take in sunrise or sunset can end up being much better than those taken in the harsh reality of blaring afternoon sunshine.
8.) Get a remote. This should go with that tripod and ensure that you end up taking actual photos of yourself on holiday – particularly useful when you travel solo or with friends who are spectacularly awful at taking photos (you know, the one who manages to still take a blurry photo even after you’ve set everything properly for them).
9.) Ask people for photos. Some of the best travel photos are those taken with locals and whilst not everyone is comfortable having their photos taken, asking them helps clear that awkwardness as they can always decline if they don’t want the photo take. If they don’t mind the photo being taken then you can launch yourself into a mini-photo shoot with your new-found friends.
10.) Carpe diem (“Seize the day”). Make the most of the photography conditions if you feel they’re ideal in that specific moment. Don’t procrastinate and plan to come back in a few minutes/hours/days. You’re much better off taking way too many photos than you need (which you then have to go through and delete, than for your to be left wishing you had taken more photos.