Travel Photography – How to Improve And Take Better Pictures

Last Updated on October 27, 2021

Travel Photography Basics

Your camera is your best friend when traveling. To help you capture stunning, meaningful images of the places you go, here are ten travel photography basics every photographer should know.

1) Always Have Your Camera Ready to Capture the Unexpected Opportunity: While traveling, one thing leads to another and it’s important that you’re ready for those unplanned moments that will leave lasting memories. If possible, keep your camera easily accessible so you can quickly grab it and start shooting pictures. Don’t miss out on great photo opportunities because you were unprepared and slow to react!

2) Learn How to Use All of Your Camera’s Settings: Using all of your camera’s settings is the most important travel photography basic you need to study and practice. You’ll want to gain a solid understanding of how your camera’s ISO, aperture and shutter speed work together in various conditions.

3) Get Close: It’s much better when taking pictures to capture objects from a close distance, rather than standing far away and zooming in on them with your lens. Zoom in as much as you like with your digital zoom (most cameras have this feature), but try to do most of your zooming in post-processing using photo editing software instead of while shooting with your camera.

4) Find Creative Ways to Capture Unique Perspectives: One way is to change the position in which you hold and shoot from your camera (e.g. shoot from high above your subject, or crouch down low). Another creative way is to use angles most people wouldn’t think of (e.g. shoot straight up at the sky for a unique perspective on clouds).

5) Take Advantage of Light: You’ll want to learn how light works and take advantage of it when photographing your travel adventures because good lighting means better-looking images. For example, the backlight can produce silhouettes with a strong definition between lights and darks; front-light evenly illuminates objects in the foreground while throwing backgrounds into shadow; side-light emphasizes texture and dimension in subjects while casting long shadows that add drama and atmosphere to photographs.

6) Common Mistakes: The biggest mistake most new photographers make is being afraid to get close. Another is forgetting that the stronger the light (e.g. sunny vs. cloudy), the more difficult it can be to create a great photo, and knowing how to deal with these situations will help you learn how to overcome them.

7) Learn How Composition Can Create Poetry: For example, leading lines are used by photographers as paths that guide viewers through photos (e.g. zooming out on a subject and leading them with lines toward another object). An example of this would be photographing an old castle and zooming in on its tower with a beautiful backdrop of mountains or trees; then taking your viewer’s eye up with those mountains/trees using leading lines toward the castle’s tower.

8) Capture People With Respect: When you take photos of people, always ask for permission before taking their photo; if your subject is with others, make sure to ask them as well (e.g. “Would it be okay if I took a picture of you?” or “Mind if I photograph your whole group together?”).

9) Pay Attention to Your Surroundings: The most beautiful scenery contains different elements that you can find interesting – like foliage, rocks, waterfalls, and ancient ruins. It’s essential to learn an object’s best angle so you’ll know which perspectives will create great images with a strong visual impact. Also, look for patterns — lines lead the viewer through the image and help capture its attention, and patterns can create an interesting visual interest that makes a photo much more compelling.

10) Curate: The last travel photography basic you’ll want to learn is how to curate your photos and choose the ones that truly stand out as “keepers” from the rest of the pack. Try to ask yourself questions like what elements make an image unique? What could I have done differently? Why do certain images work better than others?

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The 5 Steps to Mastering Travel Photography

If you are looking to take better pictures while traveling, there is good news for you. You don’t need to be a professional photographer or know anything about cameras or settings in order to help your pictures become more beautiful and dynamic. Grab yourself an SLR camera (a Canon 5D Mark III would do just fine), put it in Auto mode, and unleash your inner creativity! To make things easier, we’ve outlined five steps that will turn the most amateur of photographers into skilled artists who will produce stunning images regardless of location or subject matter.

Step 1: Stop Looking at Other People’s Pictures

Before taking photos of your trip, stop browsing other people’s travel images for twenty-four hours. You’ll never be able to create original work if you spend all your time looking at what other photographers have done. We all get caught up in the excitement of photography, but let’s face it—most travel photos are similar to each other. Stop looking at what others are doing, and focus on your own trip instead! By the way, if you are into Instagram then this is an exception to the rule.

Step 2: Research Your Travel Photography Subject Matter

The two key aspects of any great photograph are subject matter and composition. Even though research might not be part of your personal photographic process, it will help you create better pictures by finding unique angles without being stuck in a rut. Before setting out on a journey or arriving anywhere new, do some background reading about what you’re going to photograph so you know what lens to use. A great way to do this is by visiting https://www.google.com/. This will enable you to search for images from a location with your chosen keywords and view those results as a grid or map—perfect for creating your itinerary! Even if you aren’t planning on taking the most breathtaking photographs of landscapes, it’s always helpful to know where you can find interesting villages with rustic houses or local festivals that take place near the water.

Step 3: Look For Unique Angles

Of course, Google is not going to be much help when it comes to photographing people since there is no substitute for being with them in person.  Here are two tips on how to photograph people without including their faces:

1) Photograph objects that are unique to the place you’re visiting, like colorful walls or unique food stalls.

2) Capture your friends or family members in motion. For example, photograph your friend’s arms as they swing their shopping bags around (just don’t forget to ask for permission first!). Instead of photographing people at eye level, try standing on a chair or placing them against an interesting background. These kinds of ideas will make all the difference once you start snapping away!

Step 4: Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment

Even if you use our research method and find two great subject matters side-by-side (let it be an old house and one of the doors or some natural springs next to a field), it’s still a good idea to experiment with your camera.

Take this example: say you find an old abandoned house with peeling paint and rusty walls. Use the widest aperture on your lens so that everything in the foreground is in focus, but use a small aperture (like f/16) for the background of what’s behind it—the sky and trees should be blurry while the house will remain clear;  Take multiple shots and choose your favorite once you return home.

Step 5: Share Your Travel Photography Work with Other People

On every journey, we always end up taking hundreds of pictures, but typically we only share one or two dozen on social media sites like Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, and Instagram. Instead of showing off one or two pictures after every trip, create a new album for your journey and upload them all at once. Even if you’re just uploading them to Google Photos, these images will give your friends and family an opportunity to see what you’re up to without having to check each individual profile on their own.

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Useful Travel Photography Tips and Tricks to Help You Capture the Best Images Possible

When you start your photography journey, the amount of different equipment and settings can be overwhelming. This article will help you to not only understand some key features of your camera but also give tips on how to use those features for improved camera performance.

1) Using ISO

ISO is a setting that controls your camera’s sensitivity to light which affects your pictures in a few different ways. The lower the number the less sensitive it is so you need more light, higher numbers up to about 3200 mean it requires less light for an image.

A lower number means finer grain or quality of the image i.e. 100 ISO looks better than 400 or 800 which tend to look grainy with little whereas a high ISO such as 3200 or 6400 means that the image will be brighter but of lower quality.

2) Using Metering Modes

Different metering modes give different readings of your subject matter which can help to capture accurate exposures each time. The different types are:

a) Spot Meter: This mode measures a small area in the center of the frame and is useful for photographing a bright or dark object against a bright or dark background, where other meters would overexpose or underexpose the chosen point. The best way to use it is to point at something that should have completely black or white detail then lock the exposure reading from that by pressing the AE-L button on Nikon DSLRs or holding down the Exposure Compensation/ Lock button on Canon DSLRs.

b) Center-weighted Average Metering: Suitable for most situations, measures light in the entire frame but pays extra attention to what is in the center of it. This setting is useful if your subject is off-center or backlit so that spot metering would overexpose the foreground too much.

c) Matrix / Evaluative Metering: Used by more advanced cameras with multi-point focusing, this mode takes readings all over the frame and even detects faces automatically! It can be very useful if you have no idea what you are doing yet want results almost done for you without any hassle.

3) Using Exposure Compensation

Exposure compensation allows you to tell your camera whether it should expose lighter or darker than it normally would. Useful in a variety of situations such as when photographing snow or beach scenes, where the subject appears too dark and underexposed and you want to brighten them up without losing detail by using +1/3EV for example, or when photographing something with very dark shadows such as a black cat against a house at night time.

4) Using Active D Lighting

Active D Lighting is an option on mid-range and higher DSLRs that can be used to take pictures in tricky lighting situations i.e. photographing someone indoors with only one window behind them entering their face with light, yet making sure that they don’t appear completely washed out from the background being so dark. This setting takes two photos, one exposed for the background and one exposed for the subject. It works by taking a picture without flash while -2 stops underexposing the image which saves on digital noise and then that image is used to brighten up the shadows in the second photo where flash has been used on the subject to light them.

5) Using Auto ISO

If you have ever accidentally changed your ISO from 100 to 800 by reaching too far with your hand or even worse changing it from 100 to 3200 because you left it on auto ISO leaving your camera sensitive to light basically unusable then auto ISO will be useful for you! This setting means that rather than changing it manually you can allow your camera to change between different ISOs automatically depending on how much light there is in the scene, so if you are photographing indoors and there is less light than usual you can use this setting to automatically change your ISO to 200 which means it will be more sensitive to light without any need for you to touch anything at all.

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6) Using Histograms

Histograms are used mainly by advanced photographers but basically what they do is display a chart of how many pixels are present in each area of an image, from left (darker areas) right (brighter areas), and middle (mid-tones, as in not extremely dark or bright). It basically helps you to see if your photograph is correctly exposed. A good way to use them is to point at the parts of the histogram where more pixels should appear e.g. more on the left for a darker image and on the right for a brighter one, if it’s placed over a large area on either side then there may be some underexposure or overexposure going on which you need to fix, however, if it’s only placed very slightly towards one side then moving it over that bit will make no difference whatsoever because everything is fine already.

7) Using Exp Comp with Bracketing

Compensation works with bracketing to produce great results. You can use this if you are photographing something that you want to appear white instead of grey, for example, a bride’s dress or even a winter scene where the snow is underexposed because it’s not bright enough. Bracketing means your camera will take three photographs in quick succession – one without compensation, one with 1/3EV, and another with 2/3EV.

8) Using Exposure Brackets

Unsurprisingly exposure brackets work just like exposure compensation but they do the opposite! Instead of using only one photograph, they use several which your camera then puts into order from dark to light so that detail has been preserved across the whole range of tones making them useful if half your photograph is very bright and half is very dark. You can use them to make sure that part of your scene is correctly exposed, for example, if the sky is much brighter than the ground and everything else in between.

9) Taking Travel Photography Pictures at Sunset or Sunrise

These times are great for taking photographs because the light will be far softer and more beautiful than it ever could be during mid-day or early morning when there’s too much light about. The only disadvantage to this time of the day compared to midday is that there may not be as much color in what you’re photographing but if you take pictures with a lower ISO and around -2 stops underexposed so as to protect digital noise then everything should turn out beautifully.

10) Using Soft Light And Diffused Light

Both these settings can be found in your camera’s menu, often under the ‘G’ button. They work by making sure that there are no harsh shadows in your scene, sort of like how an overcast day would look if it was a sunny one! This is particularly good for portrait photography where subjects have to appear smooth and well lit. Soft light makes very subtle differences whereas diffused does not so you’ll need to experiment with both depending on what you’re photographing.

11) Using Flash On Your DSLR Camera

Flash can be used whether or not you have a camera equipped with a built-in flash although the results will vary greatly depending on whether or not you have something already built into your camera or if you are using a separate flashgun. If you’re using the latter then set your ISO to 100 and aperture to between f/4 and f/8 as this will give you more accurate results than if they were on auto, but don’t go over f/16 as that will reduce sharpness. You can also use diffused light or experiment with bouncing it off nearby walls for softer results, however, these techniques only work properly if you have built-in flash which is usually on top of most cameras so always look carefully first! And remember: don’t forget to adjust the power of your flash depending on how far away your subject is from you, otherwise everything might appear too dark!

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