Photography Tips — October 12, 2013 at 12:20 am

Travel Photography Tips


Between today’s affordable digital camera offerings and cameras built in to every handheld device possible, everyone from the ages of 2-102 can be a photographer. But even with today’s fantastic technology, many people still come home from vacations to amazing destinations with photos that don’t convey the beauty of the actual scene.  Here are some easy tips from professionals to help your photos look more like the ones you see in books and magazines!

Start Early. Stay Late.

Shooting around sunrise and sunset offers several advantages to getting amazing photos. Dramatically lit landscapes and colors come alive as the day begins and ends, eliminating the harsh lighting and shadows found during the day. Crowds are often smaller, allowing for more access to view points and less distractions in your images. Pro tip: Take a couple granola bars or fruit with you since sunrise and sunset usually occur around normal eating times.


Stay Even Later.

As the sun sets and the last direct light from the day leaves the landscape, resist the urge to follow everyone else as they pack up for the day. Instead, stick it out for another 15-20 minutes. Whether you’re out in nature or overlooking a famous city landmark, some of the most dramatic skies occur 15-20 minutes after the sun drops below the horizon. So while everyone else is driving away wishing they had stayed, you’ll be there capturing the amazing show.

Use a Tripod.

Lower light situations often have the most dramatic light. However, even with modern improvements in camera technology, it’s almost impossible to properly capture the scene without using a tripod to stabilize your camera. Often times, a photo may look good on your camera or phone’s display, only to show up blurry when you pull it up on a larger screen.  Don’t have a tripod? No problem!  Just be a little creative. Fences, tables, backpacks, sweatshirts and even your travel book can make decent supports.

Explore. Then Explore Some More.

All too often, visitors to a destination assume there is only one or two “perfect” spots to take photos from. They walk up to that spot, snap a shot or two and leave only to wonder later why their shot doesn’t look like the one they saw. Or worse, they don’t take any photos since someone was already using the “perfect spot”.  Although most professionals won’t admit it, even they like to shoot images in the well-known spots like the rest of us. The difference is, they don’t stop there. After taking your “perfect spot” shot, take the time to explore other options or angles. Walk closer. Move further away. Look around and see if anything else catches your eye. The beauty of photography is no scene is every exactly the same. You may be missing amazing opportunities by focusing your gaze on just one “perfect spot!”

Tell The Story.

The most successful photographs tell a story. One of the biggest challenges for any photographer is deciding what to include in their little slice of time. Most visitors focus only on the main subject, often times resulting in bland vacation photos that don’t inspire an emotional response. Instead, take a moment to think about the story you want to tell.  What is it about the scene that captured your attention? Share those same thoughts with your viewers.

For example, most visitors take a photo of the Eiffel Tower from across the street to include the whole tower, resulting in the same photo that billions of others have shot before.  But what is it that captures your emotions when you see it in person? The sheer size of it? Try taking some images from the base looking straight up!  Perhaps seeing the tower serves as an iconic feeling of being in Paris, but it’s the surrounding ambiance of cafes and roundabouts that brings it all together. In that case, you could try focusing on one local cafe with the tower as a background accent to more effectively communicate the story of what you felt than a basic shot of just the tower. Happy shooting!