Are you no good at all at taking pictures, especially when travelling? Do you come back from a trip all excited about the pictures you took but when you show them they are far from what you expected? Don’t worry, it’s something very common, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to settle for just anything, are you? Here go a few tips that won’t make you worthy of publishing your pictures in National Geographic, but they will make your travel photos (and non-travel pictures too) a bit more interesting.
1. Photograph what interests you but also the unexpected; stay away from stereotypes: Yes, the Taj Mahal is awesome, precious, but don’t try taking a picture with 500 tourists buzzing in front of you. It makes more sense to buy a nice postcard and instead you can take pictures of the street vendor dressed in vivid colors.
2. Choose the best time of the day: The morning hours are usually the best time for taking pictures. Light shines laterally and everything is brighter. You can avoid shadows and the hustle and bustle of people.
3. Try out different viewpoints: Even if you have to be an acrobat! Try and play with the possibilities of your camera. You can take pictures from different heights, using mirrors or other reflection effects, or photograph a monument from a non-typical angle. Experimenting will help you achieve great pictures.
4. Use the rule of thirds when laying out the picture: The rule of thirds is a simple photographic layout technique where the subject is located where the lines dividing the picture into thirds meet.
In short: when taking a picture, imagine that there are two horizontal lines and two vertical lines dividing the picture into nine equal portions. The key to success is placing the subject at the junction points of any of the nine portions. It may seem difficult and even silly but it is actually neither of the two. Try it and you’ll see that it works.
5. People, people, people: Nothing says more about a country than its people. Portraits and urban pictures show aspects that are often neglected by tourists: locals and their life at the destination being visited. Be respectful, ask for permission before photographing someone and if they say no, well then it’s no. Some people or cultures are more uneasy than others about having their picture taken. People in India will be eager to appear in your photos, whereas reactions in London may differ.
Both traveling and photography share a trait: they are both perfected by improvisation, practice and spontaneity. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your pictures, don’t follow rules, trust your instinct and enjoy your camera. You’ll see how you improve!
And don’t forget the most important thing: The most powerful images from your trip are those that become embedded in your memory, the experiences you live, the people you meet and the things you learn. Let your camera rest for a while and live your trip. This is the best tip of all.
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