Travel Photography Tips

You may remember sitting through lengthy travel slide shows in your youth when friends and relatives would pull out a carousel of their travel photos and show them off. What percentage of travel photos do you generally view for more than a second or two? It’s all too easy to fall into common clichés of cheesy smiles and blurred shots of tourist sites that everyone has seen before. Whether you have a disposable camera or a fancy digital setup, you can use the following travel photography tips to make the most of your travel photos and improve their quality.

1. Plan your Shot:  Our first tip in travel photography is the planning part of your shoot. It’s a common reflex to reach for the camera, point, and click whenever you see a sight that you like. However, taking a few extra seconds to really plan your shot will leave you with more interesting and dynamic photos. You can take factors like lighting, subject, and composition all into account.

2. Fill the Frame:  One of the most common mistakes made by an amateur in travel photography on holiday is leaving too much generic space around the main subject. Whether you’re taking a picture of a person, place, or thing, you’ll want to make sure that there is something interesting to look at from one end of the frame to the other. Make sure your subject fills the full-frame so that you can cut out any extraneous, unnecessary background.

3. Keep your Light Source in Mind:  Lighting can be difficult to master without taking travel photography or regular photography classes, but there are a few simple rules to keep in mind that can make a world of difference. Stand with the sun behind your back if you’re taking pictures of people because this allows the sun to illuminate their faces. The time of day will impact lighting as well. Sunrise and sunset are typically the best times of day to shoot any subject, due to the warm glow of the lighting.

4. Get Up Close and Personal: Next tip in travel photography is that along with filling up the frame, don’t be afraid to get closer to your subject. This could entail walking up closer to whatever you’re shooting, or using your camera’s zoom feature. Shooting from a closer viewpoint allows you to show off the small details that make your subject unique.

5. Use the Rule of Thirds:  If you put the Eiffel Tower right in the middle of your shot, it serves as the central focal point, but this type of photograph can look static and dull. By simply placing the tower slightly off-centre instead, you can create a bit of visual interest. This plays into the idea of the “rule of thirds,” which you can learn more about through online photography courses with Now Learning. This basic concept states that it’s best to divide your frame into three sections and place the main subject of your photograph in either the left or right section rather than dead centre.

6. Look at the Small Details  Don’t just focus on the main monuments, or you’ll have a series of photos that everyone has seen before. Instead, focus on the small details that show your own unique experience while visiting the main sights. If you take a photo of the Tower of London, try fitting a small dog in the foreground or a child holding a bright umbrella in one section of the frame.
These simple travel photography tips can help you turn your photos from run-of-the-mill postcard shots to unique, compelling pictures that tell the story of your travels.

Bronwyn White

Bronwyn White is a travel and tourism industry professional with more than 30 years of experience.  Her special interest is helping retirees, semi-retired baby boomers enjoy the dream of travel.  She loves to help them plan and get the most out of this time.

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