One of my favorite things in the world is to walk the streets (or dirt) of a place I've never been. I guess I wouldn't be a traveler if I didn't love this. Another favorite is to walk with someone else who loves to travel as much as I do, but wants to develop their photography style a bit more. I enjoy sharing insights with them and seeing how quickly their skills develop in such a short amount of time with only a few simple techniques.
Here are 7 insights into travel photography that have helped improve my work.
1. GET CLOSER
When you're starting out, resist the urge to take only wide sweeping shots. Be sure to change it up a little by getting in closer. You'll see gorgeous detail in things you wouldn't have noticed if you hadn't.
2. DON'T FORGET TO PHOTOGRAPH YOURSELF
Being a travel photographer, it may surprise you to know that I hate seeing myself in photos. I'm definitely my worst critic! But, it's important to connect with your viewers in this way whether they're your blog audience or, on a personal level, your family and friends. They want to see you interacting with your surroundings. They can Google a nice image of where you are any time. The difference is in seeing YOU there and getting to know you better. You can even cover up your face in a creative way if you're not feeling it that day. ;)
3. TRY NEW ANGLES
Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but you'll learn more by trying. Get creative!
4. DOORWAYS HAVE GREAT LIGHTING
When shooting portraits of people, one option that works almost every time is to place the person in a doorway. It's a great balance between the darker interior and the bright outdoor sunlight. And the lighting tends to be even.
One of my least favorite places to shoot is under a tree that's in bright sunlight with the wind blowing. The light shining through the leaves gets really spotty and it's hard to make sure it's even on all faces at the given time you click your shutter. Yes, it's a lovely green backdrop, but make sure to check how the light falls on your subjects first.
This seems pretty obvious. If you want to photograph cool things then you have to be willing to explore. Keep in mind that finding unique aspects of well-traveled places or going some place that's off the beaten path will be way more interesting to others. Again, we have so much info at our fingertips that we can find more than enough photos of a given place, but they won't have your unique spin on them.
Use your camera's self-timer if you have to. Whatever you do, make it yours & unique!
6. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE
It's an annoying cliche, isn't it? But, it's a cliche because it's true. As with anything you try to do, if you practice it'll make it better. Bring your camera or smartphone with you wherever you go and try out these tips. There's no such thing as perfect (and I'm glad, perfect is boring), but practice will make your work better.
7. JUST HAVE FUN!
I've never been a big promoter of the "rules of photography." I've seen some of the most amazing photos that break all of the rules. My advice is to just do you. If you're practicing, you'll soon find your style, so pay attention and honor it. Trust your instincts and just let go and have fun! There's nothing worse than allowing something to make you fearful or so worried that you're going to do the wrong thing that it keeps you from trying in the first place.
Get over that, get out there, just have fun, and go for it!
What are your favorite tips for travel photography or photography in general? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!