Travel Photography Series: Improve Your Technique

Posted on 26. Jul, 2010 by in Europe Travel, Photo Posts, Travel Tips

Travel and photography go hand in hand. Like travel and food, airports and passports, or food and “let’s loosen up that belt just a bit”.

And because travel and photography are intrinsically linked, it’s important that you know what you’re doing – few things are more disappointing than discovering low-lit or blurry travel photos once you’re back home! In this article, you’ll find 4 easy travel photography tips on improve your photos, and consequently show off to your friends by hanging your treasures all over your house.

travel photography tips

Depth of field, ring a bell?

1. Understand your equipment

It’s easy to go at the local electronics store and buy the flashy camera behind the counter. But if you don’t know how to handle it properly, it’s not worth the expenditure.

It’s like buying a Ferrari when you’ve only learned to ride a Vespa!

You must play around with your gear before you leave in order to fully understand both its potential and its limitations, so you know exactly what you are doing and come up with the best possible results. There are many resources to help you comprehend your gear, such as Digital Photography School. Do dare get out the automatic mode and learn more about aperture, shutter speed, ISO, depth of field, exposure, composition.

In other words, RTFM.

2. Be aware of the lighting conditions

travel photography tips

Beware the flare…

travel photography tips

… or exploit it.

Light is probably the most important feature in any kind of photography.

Whether it is too sunny (flare) or too dark (shaky, pixelly effect), or even just cloudy (uninteresting effects), finding the right light is not always an easy task.

Sure enough, there are various ways to resolve these issues with either the right angle (light facing the subject, most of the time) or the right gear (tripod or stable surface for evening snaps) or the right time. The two best moments of the day are mornings and early evenings, which offer smoother light, giving your photos a more dramatic effect.

Also, don’t hesitate to use your creativity and play around with the various lighting effects, like shadows.

travel photography tips

Rule of thirds

3. Don’t forget about the rule of thirds

You see that photo? You notice how the main interest is on the left side rather than the middle?

Pictures with center of interest located at either one of the four intersections are often reckoned as being prettier, more natural and more interesting visually. Now, that doesn’t mean you have to obey this rule at every single picture, or at all, but it’s a good way to energize the classic centered picture that lacks visual interest.

The rule of thirds can also be used in the post-production stage, especially when using the super-duper-useful crop tool.

travel photography tips

Which one would you pick?

4. Take many photos

That’s what digital cameras are for!

Never assume the first snap will be perfect. Even though you can have a slight idea of what the picture is going to look like on the preview screen, the result is often pretty different once printed out or seen from your computer screen.

Do zoom in to make sure that the subject’s eyes are open, that there isn’t a funny looking person in the background. Don’t hesitate to change the settings of your camera in between shots.

***

Once you’ve mastered the technique, the inspiration will flow naturally. And if you find yourself bored, have a look at the rest of this Travel Photography Tips series, and get your groove back. In my opinion, there are few things that make me more happy on a rainy Sunday afternoon than browse through my archives and reminisce my travels. With or without a glass of wine I bought on location!

What are your tips for being a better photographer? Do you have special techniques you use?

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16 Responses to “Travel Photography Series: Improve Your Technique”

  1. violette

    29. Jul, 2010

    Great post! I’ll try to remember these tips when I travel… and even when I take outfit pictures ;-)

    Reply to this comment
    • Marie

      29. Nov, 2011

      These tips are useful for anyone wanting to improve their photography – not just travel tweeps. Always good to know!

      Reply to this comment
  2. Steve

    06. Aug, 2010

    I like the idea of taking several photos in a row. There are times that I’ve taken several photos of the same thing and then afterwards realized that something was wrong with a couple of them. Soon I’m left with just one of them that was decent enough to keep. As long as you have enough space to keep taking photos, it is better to take more photos of something and pick the best one later.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Marie

    07. Aug, 2010

    Luckily there are many Flash cards out there that can hold over 1,000+ photos., depending on the specifics of your gear or your photo options.

    Sometimes it’s as silly as making sure that the subject’s eyes are open, which you can’t always confirm on the preview screen.

    And you can change settings between your shots in order to obtain various lighting effects or switching the focus point, for example.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Huw

    15. Jun, 2011

    Some great tips to remember

    Reply to this comment
  5. Jools Stone

    25. Nov, 2011

    Nice. How’d you get that amazing pic of the Eiffel Tower though? It looks so much bigger in reality! ;)

    Reply to this comment
  6. Laura

    05. Dec, 2011

    Sometime I like flare in my pictures.

    Reply to this comment
  7. Great post! I really need to learn how to get out of auto – I will be taking a look at the digital photography school link you provided

    Reply to this comment
  8. Angela

    06. Dec, 2011

    Great tips, I definitely need to know better my camera in order to benefit from every option.

    Reply to this comment
  9. Christine

    14. Dec, 2011

    Great tips! I love your photos, so it’s nice seeing the resources that helped you.

    Reply to this comment
  10. Escape Hunter

    07. Sep, 2014

    Too often, the lighting conditions, the bad weather have hindered me from taking good photos.
    It’s terrible when I’m at a fantastic location and the time limitation doesn’t allow me to return when lighting conditions would be better.

    Reply to this comment

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