I was delighted to be invited to write about my top 5 travel photography tips for the award-winning travel blog, @quirkytraveller recently. It seemed a good idea to share them with you too, so here they are. May they help you get the best results with your holiday photos this year!
Man dyeing wool in Marrakech
Here are my top tips for travel photography, to capture the essence of your travel destinations. You don’t need a fancy camera – an iPhone or something similar, or a basic compact camera, will fit the bill perfectly. I do hope they inspire you!
Travel Photography Tips – #1
Use the rule of thirds
Photographs have more impact when the subject is a third of the way across, rather than in the centre. The photos above (from Rovinj in Croatia) show the difference that this can make. In the top pictures, the ‘rule of thirds’ is used: the eye is drawn first to the scooter and then it looks further around, to take in its surroundings. The photos underneath don’t use the rule of thirds – they just show a rather snazzy scooter slap bang in front of you! Use the grid on your camera’s display to use the rule of thirds to compose your shot. (For recent iPhone models, go to Settings, Photos and Camera, Grid, to switch it on or off.) Use the grid to make sure the horizon is straight too.
Travel Photography Tip – #2
Make use of the so-called golden hour
The light in the hour before sunrise and in the hour after sunset can make for beautiful and unusual photography. This photo was taken just before sunrise, near Motovun in Croatia. As the camera shutter will need to stay open for a comparatively long time, use the ‘shutter delay’ setting on your camera. If you are touching the camera at all it will almost certainly spoil the picture, so a tripod can help. Plenty of tripods are available online relatively cheaply, even for smartphones. Some have flexible legs to hold them in position and there are also versions with magnetic feet to keep them steady. If you don’t have a tripod, just balance the camera in position, propping it in place with something like a bean bag, to keep it absolutely still. Of course, you can take some fab photos without doing any of this!
Travel Photography Tip – #3
Use lines and patterns to draw the viewer in
Look at the way the subject of your photograph pulls you in. These photos from County Kerry, Republic of Ireland, demonstrate how this works in different settings. The lines of the rocks on the left draw the attention straight to the heart of the lake. The bridge in Killorglin leads you to a red building a third of the way into the photo on the right, which adds to the effect. (Red in a photograph attracts the eye sooner than other colours.)
Travel Photography Tip – #4
Check the camera display screen carefully
It sounds very obvious, but it’s so easy to forget to check the screen when you’re somewhere unfamiliar or in a hurry. The difference in the photographs above (also taken in Rovinj, Croatia) is purely down to the camera shutter being open for different lengths of time. To avoid the problem, with an iPhone or iPad camera, tap the screen over the main subject of the photo, until you are happy with the display. Other basic cameras will have a means of achieving the same effect.
Travel Photography Tip – #5
Don’t be afraid to be quirky!
Sometimes, look at your photos from a different perspective. This was part of a dull photo of sheep in a field near a river. Rotating the original 180° and cropping it made it far more eye-catching.
I hope these simple travel photography tips will inspire you to try different ideas with your camera and composition. You’ll find you’re learning all the time, acquiring the knowledge to be ever more creative. Have fun!
The Quirky Traveller is Zoe Dawes, who writes about seeing the world from a different angle, finding the unusual, the interesting and the fascinating. You can follow her on Twitter at @quirkytraveller.