With all the amazing technology in photography available to us today, the incredible sharpness of smartphone cameras plus the dazzling array of photography filters and apps, it is nearly impossible to take a bad photograph.
And these days, travelling without a camera just doesn’t make sense. Besides immortalising memories of your adventures in photographs, you’ve just got to post it on social media, or else it’s almost like it didn’t happen in the first place.
Joking (and pressure!) aside, we’ve all got a secret photographer inside us. We want our photos to turn out well, and we want to capture the sentiments that a place or event inspires in us. And, if you’re building a following on Instagram, you want your photos to stand out in a sea of already gorgeous shots and snaps.
So how do you give your travel photos that extra bit of thought and push to make them even more beautiful? Travel photography experts shared some of their best tips and tricks below.
It’s all about timing
Timing is indeed everything. Travel photographers would do well to beat the crowds of people lining up to see famous places, landmarks, works of art and natural wonders. Sometimes the presence of a crowd can muddle a photograph or take away from the breath-taking beauty of a vista, but in other cases, people’s presences can add emotion and feeling to a picture.
A good travel photographer knows that timing is of the essence. Arriving much earlier or later than when crowds gather usually means that the lighting in the sky (if early morning or later in the day, like at twilight) can become an asset to the photograph, a natural filter, if you will.
Some travel photographers wait for hours, hoping that the sunlight (or moonlight!) will hit the subject of their photos at the just the right angle, creating just the right effect.
Travel photographer Eric Rubens, known for the soft, natural golden light in his photos (often taken at sunset!) knows a thing or two about capturing magic in photos at exactly the right time.
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Whether things are lined up perfect or just slightly off, it’s always important to keep your eyes set on the horizon. The goals you set may sometimes seem far off, but smalls steps add up over time. One thing that’s always helped me is making sure I do at least one thing a day that pushes me in the direction I want to go. Whether it’s putting the finishing touches on a nagging project, getting a workout in, or trying to learn something new, find a way to add a positive task into your day. If your goal seems too big to tackle, try breaking it into smaller chunks. These small chunks are easier to knock out and allow us to celebrate mini milestones along the way. Most importantly, encourage and celebrate your friends and family as they chase their goals! There’s no better feeling than watching someone you care about chase after something they love.
Connect with your subject
One of the most fascinating subjects for travel photography are the people that hail from different cultures and lands. The art of portraiture calls for the photographer to connect with his or her subject and then capture their essence through his or her lens.
It’s that personal connection that makes all the difference in the photograph, and it transforms it from being simply a beautiful picture to one that conveys human emotion.
Firstly, be respectful of people’s wishes, of their culture and traditions at all times. If you want to spend some time taking photos of the local children, for example, it’s best to ask for permission.
Be mindful of people’s personal spaces, and don’t take for granted that people are allowing you a glimpse into their lives and vulnerabilities. If locals you meet on travels are alright with you taking their photographs, take the time to figure out how you want to capture their story.
And who doesn’t love snapping animal photos, ranging from the cute doggo on the street to the majestic wildlife you meet on travels. Animals make beautiful subjects of photography, and the same rules apply to connecting with them—respect, mindfulness and gratitude.
Travel photographer Johan Lolos knows how to establish a personal connection with his subjects and beautifully capture their emotion in his photographs.
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Encounters that one cannot forget. No matter how many big cats I have seen in the wild, each and every one of them will stay forever engraved in my memory. Hoping to have many more to come. This one is from an unforgettable afternoon spent in the Okavango Delta, Botswana.
Change your perspective
If you love photography, you’ve probably got your own tips, tricks and favourite angles for different settings and situations. Changing your perspective can affect the outcome of your photographs—elevate their quality or add a flair or vibe that wasn’t there before.
Instead of going for how you would normally shoot a particular setting, opt for something different. Go low, or put something between you and your subject, close up in the foreground. You can shoot through doorways and windows or through screens and bars. Going in close to (or very far from) a subject and using diagonal and leading lines and other ways of looking at a situation from a different angle (literally).
Don’t get complacent with your moves—dare to try something new. Take it as a challenge to portray a well-known situation or place from another point of view.
Travel photographer Quin or Ever Changing Horizon captures people and nature from different angles and perspectives, inspiring feeling through his pictures.