Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mrs. Limestone's Inexpert Guide to: Taking Better Travel Photos

So as I’ve said, I don’t consider myself an expert by any means – just my own experiences to go on. So its with caution I humbly present my inexpert guide to: Taking Better Travel Photos. For more inexpert advice, read my guide to planning a trip.

While these tips are written with travel in mind, they definitely apply for all kinds of photography near or far. While I hope you find these tidbits handy, nothing will substitute for understanding how your camera works and good old fashioned practice at making you a better photographer.


Some of these may seem blatantly obvious while others might counter advice you’ve heard elsewhere. Take what works for you and leave the rest.


hong kong

Tell a Story: Rather than focusing on photographing the most picturesque landscape or tourist attraction of your destination, make a point to document other aspects of the trip. Imagine having the share the story of the trip with a friend using photos alone. That might mean you photograph your frightening drive through traffic or a long wait in line. The trip is more than just the picturesque parts. Extra points for photographing those less ideal moments creatively.


masai mara

Forget quantity, think quality: While practice is very important, try to resist the urge to take 10 or 20 shots of the exact same thing and angle. Spend that same time focusing on a few shots where you think and act carefully about the composition, position and timing. Really look through your viewfinder and think about how to make a better shot. It is often the difference between a lot of ok shots and one good one.


Carry your camera: And that means outside of its case, ready to go. (Having it turned off in your purse is almost as bad as not having it all.) This is a hard one for those with a bulky SLR like me. I hate to carry it around. Sometimes carrying it in plain view makes me uncomfortable. But invariably, the minute I don’t have my camera ready, something really interesting passes me and I’m left wishing I could have gotten a shot.


Vary your perspective: In addition to the landscapes you’ll not doubt be taking, include some close up of iconic or important items that are specific to your destination. That might mean photographing cans of sake at a Japanese supermarket or a pile of brass fixtures at a Paris flea market. Anything that has meaning can add interest.


buenos aires

Edit ruthlessly: Once your home, become your own worst critic. This is the time to take an objective look at your photos before you put your favorites online or in an album. Go through your photos with a careful eye so you keep the best ones in the final set. The goal isn’t selecting the most crisp or well framed photos but rather the ones that serve a purpose. Ask yourself: Does an image tell the story? Have some inherent beauty? Illicit an emotional response? Capture an important element of your trip? Make you look particularity hot? If the answer is no, don’t feel bad about deleting.


So those are my 'secrets’'. Anything surprised you? Do you have your own tips you’d like to add?