There’s nothing more heartbreaking when returning from an unforgettable trip than realizing that your pictures are, how can I say this delicately, not as amazing as your trip was. What is an Girl Who Travels to do? When all she has at her disposal is a simple smart phone and photography experience that mostly consists of birthday parties and self portraits?
We can’t all be Ansel Adams or Annie Liebovitz. But there are a few simple tricks of the trade that can help capture travel memories with ease and confidence. Ready to make your friends green with envy? Whip out those priceless pics of your latest trip to some exotic locale! Here a few simple tips for better travel photography:
Remember the Rule of Thirds!
This is a tip for better travel photography that pros rely on. It involves the concept that the most pleasing composition to the human eye is grouped into roughly equal thirds. Try to make the focal point roughly one third of the way from the top, the bottom, or one of the sides of the picture. Are you taking a picture of yourself on a beach in Crete? You should not make the sea (or yourself) dead center. Make it so the focus is either one-third from the top or bottom, or either side.
Know When to Use the Flash
Most phones and digital cameras come ready to take adequate pictures in “Automatic”. But automatic most usually means flash on inside and off outside. In real life, you don’t need to use a flash on every occasion. In fact, natural light will suffice in most instances. Sometimes, natural light can produce a better, more true-to-life picture of the actual scene. For example, in a well-lit museum, switch the flash off to avoid glare or over-exposure. But if you’re outside during the day and your shot is covered in shadows a flash can actually help. Are you unsure whether or not to use a flash? Use that handy-dandy screen at the back of your camera to test the picture and adjust as needed.
Don’t Forget to Rotate Your Camera!
It may seem an unbelievably simple trick for better travel photography. But in the moment when you’re trying to capture that all-important shot you can often forget that a horizontal picture might be a better option. Simply turn your camera to the side and suddenly you’re image has a whole new perspective. Mix up your pictures with horizontals and verticals, and add variety to your images.
Frame Your Subjects
Whether you’re taking pictures of your travel companions or of the natives, its important to frame them correctly! Remember the rule of thirds from above. Choose interesting angles and perspectives. And for goodness sake don’t chop anyone’s head off! Candid shots are often the most interesting, so try to avoid posed pictures and stick with what comes naturally.
Having great photos of your trip is an excellent way to ensure that the party isn’t over once you get home (and that all your friends are jealous of your fabulous escapades)…but you can’t do that with lackluster pictures. Utilize the tips above to take some truly breathtaking pictures that will help you remember your trip with the same level of clarity as when you were there. If you’re looking for some more great tips about travel photography check what the masters at the National Geographic Traveler site have to say.