Because so many people can see your travel photos on photo-sharing platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Flickr, and Tumblr, it’s definitely a good idea to learn how to take the best pictures possible. Whether you’re shooting on a regular iPhone or a high-tech, digital, single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera, here are a few quick tips from Outdoor Traveler that will help you improve the quality of your photos:
Get to Know Your Camera.
In the upcoming days before travel, you may be inclined to purchase new camera gear in order to take optimal travel photos. It may sound a bit obvious, but familiarizing yourself with your camera and the accessories that come with it is extremely important when it comes to taking great photos.
Spend a few hours experimenting with your camera before your trip. Play around with a few manual settings or look up some tutorials on the Internet. Even if you’re working with a pretty basic point-and-shoot camera or even a smartphone, there are probably some manual settings you can adjust.
Get a Little Closer.
By getting a closer to the subject you want to photograph, you can highlight all the details that make a photo special. Each place you visit is unique, and a great way to improve your travel photographs is to seek out those small differences. Pay close attention to your environment. The tiny details that you might ordinarily miss will be the things that will shine the most in photographs. Study the location’s unique patterns, lights, and colors. While this may sound overly simple, it will make all the difference in the quality of your photography.
Technically, there are two ways to get closer with your camera: If you’re working with a DSLR or even a point-and-shoot device, your camera should have a zoom feature to help you capture the details of your subject. The other method is to just get a bit closer! Although it may take a little nerve to get closer to a subject, you will appreciate your boldness later, when you see the end result.
Think about It Differently.
With the rise of social media and photography websites, you may feel pressure to get a certain shot (for example: the standard Eiffel Tower picture). However, the best thing you can do is forget popular concepts and focus solely on your own experience. When you shoot a photograph from your distinct perspective, you’ll be able to see things much differently and so will the people who view your unique photographs.
Simple things, like taking a photo from a low vantage point (crouching down), using an interesting angle, or catching fleeting moments, can make a huge difference. When you look back at your photos, they should be full of scenes that made you feel something and subjects that you loved, not photos that you felt you had to take because of other people’s photos on social media.
When photographing a popular subject (like the Grand Canyon) you should try to make the photo about something else. For example, if you are taking a photo of the “Old Man of the Mountain” (the crumbling form embedded in New Hampshire’s Cannon Mountain), let the subject be your companion striking a funny pose or an interesting piece of wildlife. This allows you to simultaneously capture a popular subject and make it unique.
Tell a Story.
Sometimes, just taking snapshots on a whim can yield surprising and often memorable results. However, really looking at a scene and thinking about what you want to capture can allow you to piece together a story. This is the secret of the most well-known photographers. By just spending a few moments surveying your surroundings, you’re much more apt to develop a story behind an image and figure out how exactly to capture it.
The best way to create quality travel pictures is to have fun. Experiment with different techniques until you find features that work for you and your environment. A sense of friendliness and fun can go a long way—especially if you’re interested in taking photos of others. Putting too much pressure on yourself to take the perfect photo can be tiresome, and this lack of joy will come across in your pictures. By putting down your camera for a while and just being in the moment, you can fully experience your surroundings. Doing so will help you notice striking details that compel you to capture them.