Summer is here and I’m sure a lot of you are getting ready to go on your vacations. And one of the most enjoyable things to do while on a trip is take pictures, right?! Well, that’s what we’re going to go over today, so get ready for some awesome travel photography tips!
Travel photography is great if you have a camera and a tripod. And if you carry extra lenses, like the 300mm zoom, there’s nothing like it. The best part is that even if you have the basic digital camera (which is 5.1 megapixels or higher), the better it will be for you. Why? Because the higher the pixel, the larger your images can be. Here are a few handy tips that can go a long way in making your travel photographs that much more memorable!
Do Your Homework
It’s wise to do some research before you set out to a new place, country or city. You could do this through the Internet or friends and family members who have visited the place before. This way, you ensure that you don’t waste time finding your subjects and also avoid missing out on a must see place of interest.
Be a gadfly and wander around like a gypsy. This way, you keep your mind open to any new, unexpected experience you might encounter that could be the Kodak moment you were looking for!
If you have an aim-and-shoot digital camera, all you need are spare batteries and memory cards, a charger and a tripod. But, if you are carrying a manual camera, you could carry not only the main camera body, but also a back up camera body just to be extra prepared. With that aside, a few lenses will do wonders. For example, a 50 mm prime (f/1.4), a fast wide angle (f/2.8), a fast medium telephoto (70-200 mm f/2.8), etc. This advice is particularly handy if you are on assignment or on a once in a lifetime trip to say, Antarctica. But otherwise, I suggest packing lighter. The problem is twofold of weight and changing lens. Lugging around gear is not fun and hanging lenses is a hassle.
Explore Different Angles
Nothing new here. Every form of photography demands innovation in angles and travel photography isn’t excluded. We like to see things from different angles, from perspectives we don’t normally see and so on. Get low, climb high. Lie on your back. Crawl on your knees. By doing this, you can make a person or an object either imposing or just a face in the crowd. It all depends on how you want to depict your subjects.
Use the Weather
Don’t let the weather discourage you. Use it to your advantage. If the light is flat gray, focus on portraits. If the weather is bad, get that tripod out for long exposure shots after sunset. For example, when it rains suddenly and you are in the middle of a city business district, the best photograph could be of people rushing out of offices or staying put and so on.
Break the Ice
While it’s okay to take pictures of people without their knowledge, sometimes and particularly while taking portraits in travel photography, it makes sense to interact with your subjects. They could be locals or visitors, but this breaking of the ice helps in getting richer expressions from people you’re talking with. Agreed telephoto shots can give you good results, but the best travel photos of locals are taken by engaging with them.
If you see a scene you like, but it’s missing something (people, a certain lighting, a bird flying by, etc.), be patient and wait for it to come. I suppose how long you wait will depend on how much time you have on your trip, but indeed, patience is a virtue.
Travel Photography Begins at Home
Curiosity is a must have for any photographer. The reason we travel is to celebrate the differences in locations. Now, what if you suddenly debunk all notions of really knowing your city and neighborhood and start looking at it like a newcomer? If you do that, your travel photography journey has already begun. With things changing so very rapidly, you will be surprised to see many things you would have failed to notice earlier. So, my advice is, you don’t need to fly halfway around the world to take interesting photos. Your city or area is probably filled with great photo opportunities. All they need is an observant eye. Cultivate one and go click, click, click.
Good luck and have fun on all your summer vacations!
~ Zahid H. Javali