Sometimes the best way to remember moments is through photography. There are times I’ll pick up a photo album or an old post online and only remember its finest details through imagery. A sunset photo in the Negev Desert in Israel helps me recall the taste of warm Bedouin tea in tents that evening, or a photo of the texture of a stone in Guatemala evokes what it felt like to stand amongst the Mayan ruins at Tikal. Photography is naturally a large part of most people’s travels. Here are 5 Travel Photography Tips from a Pro Photographer. Test these tips out and then enter the We Said Go Travel Photo Award!
Rule of Thirds
This is the most valuable lesson I’ve ever learned in photography. If you imagine a picture divided into nine boxes – three rows, and three columns – the Rule of Thirds states that the subject should be in one of those thirds. I once heard a photographer state, “Dead center is deadly,” and it stuck with me! Thus, in most case, it’s best photography practice to place the main attraction of the image in an “odd” third – so either the first or third, not the second or middle.
Here is an image with boxes to illustrate how a rectangle, or your viewfinder when you look into a camera, would divide for a Rule of Thirds concept:
Here is an image with the main focus in the third column of the image:
Consider Different Angles
Go high, go low! Often your height isn’t the best way to capture the image. If there are children running in the street that best tell the story of the scene get low. Shooting from their height can open the viewer of your photo up to surrounding details he or she otherwise would have missed. Conversely, getting high above things, or an aerial view, can result in unique, stunning images. I very often stop to look around me to see if there’s a balcony nearby I can access.
Put the Camera Down for a Moment
Often timing is of the essence with capturing an image. Lightning striking, or the sun sinking below the horizon, or an animal running by our viewfinder. But in most cases, you’re able to put the camera down to take in everything around you before you get “the shot.” Often, it enables you to see what is the best viewpoint to capture. Ironically true, putting down the camera for a few minutes has often resulted in some of my best work. I encourage you to put down the camera in order to pick it back up to ace the shot.
Get the Overall Shot
I try to carry one lens with me that allows me to either capture an overall views, like a 24-70mm lens or a wide 20mm prime lens. Be sure to capture the entire scene in a shot if a wide view allows you to recall important things, like the lay of the land.
Shoot the Details
I am such a lover of details! Even if I capture a wide landscape showing what an orchard in Belize looked like in the image above, I like capturing a close up view too like the below image. What did the leaves look like? What did the tree’s fruit look like? It’s the details that can best help evoke senses like touch, smell and taste in our memories. This is why I ensure I travel with a lens like a 50mm, which enables me to get fairly close to what I want to capture while still having my subject stay in focus. A zoom lens can be a good solution for those wishing to travel light with one lens that covers a range of wide and close up capabilities.
This is a valuable post on How to Organize and Edit Your Travel Photos if you’re looking for an efficient process to help keep track of and enjoy the hundreds or thousands of images you capture on a trip.