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How To Take Better Travel Photos

by Brooke Tasovac (follow)
Blog (395)      Articles (166)     
Travel photos are all about preserving memories but how often do you see people share photos taken in front of the same landmarks, in identical poses, without any originality?

Try some of the tips below to turn your snapshots into a beautiful visual story of everything you do and see on your trip.

1) Do Your Research

Any time before I travel, I literally write down a list of photos I want of the places I know I’ll be visiting. When we went to Hawaii I knew I wanted a long shot of Waikkiki Beach and all the hotels on the shore, a shot of the lanterns along the path lit up at night and pictures of people relaxing under beach umbrellas. Obviously I had to return several times to get all of these shots but because I planned ahead I didn’t forget.


2) Take Photos While In Transit

Shots taken of your family sitting in aeroplanes or airports, looking out from cruise ships and sitting on the top of tour buses will be the part of the wider story you’re telling of your holiday through your photographs.


3) Go In And Out

Start by shooting wide. For example, if you’re at the beach capture the whole beach, the people and the landscape. Then move away and find quiet spots with different perspectives, such as in the rockpools or up in the sand dunes. It’s amazing how different your photos can look when you do this, even when they’re all taken at the same place. Don't forget the details either, such as footprints in the sand or shells in a bucket. Get in close to shoot them.

4) Approach From Different Angles

Find vistas that aren’t typical front-on shots of major sights and you’ll find you get more interesting photos. Take the traditional photos first but then search for a different vantage point such as photographing from the side, behind or on a different eye level.


5) Photograph Outside Peak Hours

The best time to take beach shots is in the late afternoon when most families have left and the best time to take street shots is early in the morning before everyone has woken up. Organise specific times to shoot and spend the rest of the day enjoying the holiday with your family.


6) Take Panoramas

Some places are so incredibly varied in the landscape that taking single photos just doesn’t do justice to the setting. For example in Hawaii, you have the beach, the cityscape and the volcanoes and rocks all together, but they are spread across the entire horizon and can’t all be captured in one photo. You can create breath-taking panoramas by taking several photos in a row with certain points overlapping, and then stitch them together in Photoshop.

7) Capture Colour

Sometimes just the amazing transparency of the sea, the gorgeous shade of a flower or the bright pop of a beach umbrella is the most entrancing thing in a photo, and deserves the most focus.


8) Shoot While You’re Waiting

If you’re sitting in a restaurant and have a few minutes before a meal arrives, duck outside and grab some street shots. If you’re in a queue for a ride, leave your family in the line and use the time to get some great lifestyle shots. It shouldn’t take away from being in the moment if you’re not gone for long and you’ll be back to enjoy the ride or meal when it happens.


9) Shoot Away From The Action

Think lifestyle photography. So instead of just focusing on the place, try to capture the vibe and atmosphere of the place you’re visiting. So when you’re at the Eiffel Tower turn around and take a shot of the people picnicking in front of it. Or if people are gathered to see a fireworks display, look back and snap their faces as they watch. Lifestyle photography is all about capturing natural moments without intruding on them.

10) Experiment

Get creative with shutter speed, aperture and framing. Travelling on trains or capturing people on rides is great for playing with motion and parks with animals and plants are great for practising aperture. Obviously if it’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss it-moment that will only happen once, it’s better just to use simple settings, but if your child is coming down the same waterslide for the fourth time and you’ve already got the shot, play around and try different effects.


11) Capture The Moments Outside The Experiences

Take photos of your family relaxing on the balcony, sleeping on the fold-out sofa bed or playing cricket in the front yard of the holiday house, to give a full picture of your time together. They’ll be the moments you might forget most easily if you don’t get them on camera.


12) Organise Family Photos

Of course there will be lots of times when you’ll want to take family photos while out and about, such as in front of buildings or when posing with characters at theme parks. However for classic family portraits in beautiful locations, a little forward planning can help. Go out in the afternoon when the light is soft, golden and most flattering, and take a remote or a tripod to make sure you get in some shots too. Lots of people don’t know how to use SLR’s and you could end up with badly exposed or blurred shots if you ask a stranger to do it for you.

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