How to take your travel photos to the next level
Photos we take during holiday explorations can often fall far from the authentic mark: colors, shadows and textures in pictures may not look as half as intriguing as they do in real life; light sometimes can at times come across as either subdued or too bright; strangers’ faces do not always tell compelling stories; the list goes on. Creating visual masterpieces when travelling is tricky business – but that does not mean that you should leave your camera behind or settle for average-looking pics.
Here are a few tips that can help you take your travel photography to a whole new level and capture images fit for an exhibition.
Experiment with angles
Eye-level photos are fine, but if you want to add a creative note to your visual art, try capturing imposing buildings, animals and landscapes from innovative angles. Get down on all fours when shooting high columns and lavish buildings; use a drone to capture bird’s eye pictures of landscapes and city streets; drop down to the ground to seize memorable photos of animals up close. Sky is not the limit if you have the will to conquer it!
Focused pics are not always the best
Out-of-focus images sometimes look better than portraits displaying every pore and wrinkle of the photography subject. Drop the traditional approach which places the subject matter front and center: slightly blurred images and sidelined subject placement allow you to add a sense of spontaneity and realism to travel images.
Shooting in different light conditions
Not all times of day are equally suited to your photography endeavors during wild adventures across unexplored expanses. As a general rule, morning and evening are the best times of day to whip out a camera in regions with tropical climate and bright sunlight. When shooting in extremely cloudy or rainy conditions, you may want to turn on your flash now and again, but you can sometimes leave it off when filming twinkling cityscapes at night. Rely on natural light whenever possible and experiment with light modes: sometimes indoor light settings can be used outdoors, while night settings will not always add depth and clarity to nighttime pictures.
Post-edit your visual work
Lovers of classic photography may look down on PhotoShop, Picassa and other PC-based photo editors, image processing programs can do wonders for drab pictures. Post-production allows you to adjust color intensity, improve lighting and contrast and crop out surplus details captured by accident. In case image colors seem to be beyond repair, try adjusting color balance to the black-and-white or sepia style: you may be pleasantly surprised!
Shoot when they are not looking
Spontaneous images often beat carefully planned photo sets: shooting your subjects when they do not expect it produces realistic effects. Of course, you should always ask for permission when taking portraits, but gods of photography will forgive you even if you sneak a pic of a stranger when they are unaware of your lens. Photography should mimic life, and life is seldom a series of carefully pre-set scenes. Pics captured off-hand often contain more emotion and energy, and faithful depiction of feelings is an asset in the photography world.
Steal tricks from photography masters
If you are out of ideas as to how to improve your travel pictures, you can look at inspiring images shared online by other photographers. Photography communities such as EyeEm are a great place to learn the tricks of professional cameramen, and you can also upload images you are proud of to inspire others and see how your work ranks among fellow camera lovers. In photography, sharing is caring, and constructive feedback can help you further enhance your shooting skills.
And above all – do not forget that travel photography is about fun, so enjoy the photo session, play around with your camera and try out different options until you hit jackpot. Ready, steady, shoot!
Oliver Hyde is an experienced business consultant from the UK. His job allows him to travel, which also happens to be one of his greatest passions. You can find him on Twitter.