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Travel Photography: Looking Beyond the Landmarks

by Kristen Gilbert

October 20, 2016

3 minute read

Travel photography is a lot of fun, and taking good photos is really important if you want to capture the look and feel of a destination. It’s not quite enough to simply snap a photo without paying attention to whether or not you’re truly capturing more than just an image. You want your photo to convey the sensations of the place too. This means taking things like the scale of a mountain, the sound of rushing water or the scent of a flower in a beautiful garden into account before taking a photo.

We want your photos to be extraordinary, so we consulted our photography team and put together a list of tips that will help you take photos like a pro.

  1. Use signs to introduce the location. That “Welcome To” sign would be flattered if you took its photo.
  2. When photographing people, ease and expression are more important than technique. Try to capture as many candid moments as you can and don’t worry about getting the perfect shot. That photo of your husband enjoying the heck out of a dish of gelato just wouldn’t be the same if he posed for it.
  3. Children are best captured from their own viewpoint, so get down on their level if you can. Show them in their element or use a prop to help keep them engaged.
  4. Try to photograph animals in the morning or late afternoon if possible. Shoot at eye level, use a fast shutter speed (or Sports Motion) and pay attention to your background. Whatever you do, don’t get too close to them. Some animals look adorable but will actually take your face off if they feel threatened.
  5. Experiment with color, texture, lines angles and apertures when photographing nature.
  6. When shooting close to a subject, use the macro setting (flower icon).
  7. Landscapes and scenics are best shot with an element in the foreground to create depth of field.
  8. Change up your viewpoints and orientation. Don’t be in a rush. Move in an arc around the subject to find new perspectives and angles. Is there something you can add or take away from your photo to make it better? Try shooting upwards or downward.
  9. Simplify your photo by making use of negative space or fill the frame.
  10. Create a frame within a frame.
  11. include elements that give the viewer a sense of scale and size.
  12. Look for shadows and reflections.
  13. Light is everything! Morning or late afternoon is best, but learn to use whatever light you have.
  14. Work with the weather. Cloudy days are perfect for black and white photos and close ups.
Follow these tips and National Geographic will be knocking on your door in no time!

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