Having an expensive camera when travelling does not always guarantee great quality photos. You should also learn different strategies and techniques to be able to beautifully capture all the incredible sights and views you encounter along your journey. What should you do to take amazing pictures that you can proudly post to your social media pages, and you and your loved ones can enthusiastically look at again and again for years to come?
It is important to do some research on the best places to go to for photography in your destination city or country. Pick out highly recommended spots and landmarks, or hidden and off-the-beaten-path gems, and mark them on Google Maps or some other similar app. Look for photos of them online to get an idea of what they look like and know if they are your kind of thing. Create a rough itinerary so that you can efficiently manage your time, transportation expenses, and others.
Learn the different features of your camera.
Familiarize yourself with the different buttons and functions of your camera. Whether you are using a high-end DSLR, a cheap point-and-shoot compact camera, or just your smartphone, knowing which settings can best produce an image given a particular set of conditions can significantly give you better quality images.
Practice as much as you can.
Before you leave for your trip, dedicate a bit of your time to practicing taking pictures. Go out and snap photos in your backyard, at the park, neighbourhood, and others. Try using portrait mode on your dog, sports mode on a football game at the local stadium, panorama mode on the beach, and so on. Once you get the hang of it, deciding which one will work best for any circumstance should no longer be that difficult.
Get a secure bag for your photography gear.
Shop for a durable and waterproof bag where you can store your camera, lenses, tripod, memory cards, and other photography gear on your trip. Make sure that it is anti-theft too to keep everything safe and secure when you are in your hotel room, on a train or a bus, or hiking. There are different brands available these days, and every one of them have a wide variety of types and styles to choose from. You can choose a backpack one if you want to get around totally hands-free, or a sling-type if you want something that is easily movable from the back of your body to the front, and vice versa. You can also get a suitcase, complete with wheels and a retractable handle, to not have to burden yourself with all that weight.
Get advice from the locals.
Upon arriving to your destination, do not hesitate to talk to the locals and ask their recommendations on some scenic spots in the area to take excellent photos. They might be able to give you several places that not a lot of tourists know about and do not show up on Google search results.
Start early or stay out late.
It can be a challenge to take pictures of popular attractions free of crowds. World-renowned spots like the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Colosseum in Rome, Fushimi Inari Taisha in Kyoto, Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, and Brooklyn Bridge in New York City are usually packed during the day. But, if you wake up really early, before rush hour, or wait until late in the evening, you can beat the crowds and photograph these places without all the human traffic.
Sometimes, the most memorable moments of your trip are those that are not planned. You do not have to stick to your itinerary your entire vacation. Be open to doing something spontaneous. For example, after exploring a famous attraction, why not check out the small side streets in the neighbourhood? Who knows, you might come across one or more photography-worthy views that speak to you personally and strongly.
Apply the Rule of Thirds.
The Rule of Thirds is a basic and common tip given to photographers. By using it, you can create images that are more stable and balanced in terms of composition. It works by dividing a scene into several sections to keep key elements within the frame. It is applicable to both vertical and horizontal photos. Nowadays, cameras have a grid feature that utilizes the Rule of Thirds. On the LCD screen, you can see the grids that can guide you in snapping better and more pleasing pictures.
Experiment with angles.
Tap into your creativity. Make your photographs different and stand out from the ones you can find online by being adventurous. Do not be afraid to try out various angles and perspectives. Get low on the ground, stand on a rock, or even climb a tree! Just be mindful of your surroundings, and ensure that you are not being a nuisance or violating any laws.
Take your time.
It takes patience to take wonderful photographs. You cannot just drop by a tourist spot, click your camera’s shutter multiple times, and then leave a couple of minutes later, and expect clear, remarkable, and breathtaking pictures. Superb travel photography requires effort, time, and skill. As an example, natural occurrences like the Northern Lights, can take hours or even days to appear. Those stunning photos of this bright, colourful, and magical light phenomenon you see online were the fruits of labour of those who understood what it entailed to capture fantastic pictures, and sat tight, despite the cold and chilly weather.
Photography should be a fun and exciting hobby, and not something that causes stress and anxiety. If you find yourself not enjoying your trip because of it, you should take a step back and think things over. Determine what you are doing wrong, and work on that. Your pictures should serve as reminders of the fabulous places you visited, delicious dishes you had, wonderful people you met, and all your good experiences on your travels.