There are people who can magically transform any destination into something off of a bucket-list, all with one snap…and then there are people who can’t! We all have that one friend whose photos always seems to look so much better than ours no matter what we do. While photography is an art, there are certain things that you can do to make your travel photos more instagrammable.
I knocked on the doors of three professional photographers, Scharad Lightbourne, Torrell Glinton and Farreno Ferguson to provide me with some pro photo tips to help you take better travel photos while you globetrot. Remember, while these are pro tips they can be applied when you’re shooting with a professional camera or an iPhone or any camera phone.
Let’s get right into it!
1. Take the right camera. Usually, when I travel, I hate carrying around my bulky DSLR so I’ve resorted to using a simpler and equally as powerful tool. My Olympus EM 5 – mark II is an amazing mirrorless digital camera with small lenses that I can switch out. Its light, portable, got built in wifi (easy file transfer) and comes with an app where I can use my phone to snap pics and download images from the camera right to my phone. These were made for travel and fit into most small spaces or compartments. Sony, Nikon, and Canon make similar models at competitive price points. Mirrorless cameras have become really popular and are used by a lot of professional photographers.
2. It’s all about angles. It’s common to travel to frequently visited places. Big cities are always popular destinations for travellers. We get tired of seeing the same landmarks over and over using the same straight on angles. try switching things up and giving a different perspective on what you’re looking at. Up, down, around underneath and overhead (drone lovers) can really throw a different spin on certain destinations and with social media being so popular, your image might end up on a travel website, blog or profile of that city!
3. Get close. Getting closer allows your camera to pick up the details in your photo that you won’t be able to see from a distance. Sure there are times when that zoom will come in handy but, generally speaking, if you can get closer to your subject you should.
4. Rule of thirds. It’s not so much a rule as it is a guideline. Imagine your screen was divided into three rows and three columns. The rule essentially states that your photo is more visually appealing when placed along the intersecting points of those rows and columns.
5. Steady Hands. When shooting in low light at low shutter speeds try leaning against something or taking your shot from a seated position where your hands can rest on a table or other surface to avoid blur.
6. Contrast. Points of contrast draw attention in photographs so if your subject is all blue try placing it against a white or otherwise different coloured background.
7. Experiment. Photos are stories in themselves. Always be mindful of how your viewer will interpret your subject based on your photograph. Try shooting from really low or really high up. Try a vertical shot instead of horizontal maybe even a diagonal.
8. Always shoot with the sun over your shoulder. The sun is the biggest free light source so if you don’t have a flash … use the sun. Early morning or late afternoon sun being the best, because the sun is lower and will be balanced on the face and help you to avoid racoon eyes (from the shadows if the sun was straight over ahead).
9. Get on your subject’s level. If you are shooting a tall person shoot as high as possible, if your subject is shorter kneel down. I always find photos of persons more flattering when the camera is at their eye level. If you are shooting buildings I would try to get as far away (and elevated) as possible to capture the entire building in the shot. If it’s a tall building, get close and point the camera up to get the building and the sky in the frame.
10. Get a travel tripod & remote. If you’re a solo traveller, this will save you from asking random people to take your photos. Many times people will not get the shot you want, so you have to take it yourself. Buy a light tripod that you can easily fold down and throw inside of your bag. Also, don’t forget to get a remote control for your camera, or if you don’t have one, set the timer on your camera and capture those memories.
What’s your secret for taking great photos while you travel? Drop it in the comments section…we won’t tell anyone!
LET’S KEEP IN TOUCH!