How to Take Great Travel Photos
Want to blow everyone away with your sense of creativity, composition, and perception? Want to ensure that your friends don’t get bored when you excitedly show them a pictorial tour of your trip? Want to take photos worthy of a frame in your hallway?
Then try these tips to take the perfect photo!
1. Follow the ‘Rule of Thirds’. The ‘rule of thirds’ is a simple principle to help you take well balanced and interesting shots. Imagine your viewfinder is split into two equally spaced horizontal lines and two equally spaced vertical lines-thus creating nine equal parts. Then place your subject across the intersecting lines. This not only includes your main subject, but also areas of interest, such as the horizon. You will find, when looking at landscape photography, that the sky ‘portion’ of the photo tends to occupy only the top third of the photo. Sunset photography on the other hand, where the sky is the main focus, tends to have the top two thirds of the photo occupied by sky.
2. Avoid the middle. This goes hand in hand with the ‘rule of thirds’ above. Pictures with the main object smack bang in the centre can often look dull and uninspiring. If you want to take a photo of an object of interest (such as a tree, building, etc), place the object to the side of the frame, or on a diagonal angle. It will draw the eye across the entire photo, making it easy for the viewer to picture themselves there.
3. Look for a natural frame.A natural frame is anything that naturally forms a border or part of a border around your subject. A tree branch or outline of a cave is perfect, but you can also use non-natural frames such as a door arch or bridge. It draws the eye straight to the subject, creating a sense of depth and importance.
4. Use colour to create bold compositions. Photographing a subject with one strong colour against a background of another opposing colour creates a bold statement (for example, a red flower against a green background). It’s also one of the most effective ways to convey a mood in an image.
5. Watch the light. Late afternoon and early morning offers the most spectacular and dramatic light, spectrums of colour and silhouettes-and is at it’s best shortly after sunrise and up to an hour after sunset. Light is the most important element to good photography-so make it a priority to find decent light for all your photos.
6. Get up close and personal. Most cameras these days have a macro function-in fact, you can even take decent macro shots on an iPhone! Macro simply means close-up photography-not zoomed, but the lens being physically close to the subject. But not too close-a great macro photograph requires perfect focus.
7. Create a soft background. When taking a photo where the subject is close-up, such as a flower, leaf, animal or portrait, or if you just want the focus to be on a specific object, blurring the background will make the subject really ‘pop’. You can do this by adjusting the aperture to a larger size, zooming in on the object of focus, and playing around with the shutter speed (start off with a 1/125 second speed).
8. Simplify the scene. When you look at a scene with your naked eye, your brain quickly picks out subjects of interest. But the camera doesn’t discriminate-it captures everything in front of it. The best way to keep your subject as the main object of focus is to eliminate all unnecessary elements in your composition. You can’t always take objects out of the frame, but you can try to keep them in the background.
9. Be patient. If you’re like me, you’re happy to spend a couple of minutes clicking away, but then quickly want to move onto the next thing. My husband, however, is happy to sit and watch for hours, waiting for the perfect time, the perfect light, or the perfect subject to come along. Patience is a virtue-and a quality of all professional photographers.
10. Forget the rules. Once you know the basic rules, there is no limit to personal expression. All that really matters is that there is a strong point of reference and a sense of symmetry. Learn the rules, and then break them..that’s when your photo’s will really start to shine!