Because I love travel and photography, folks sometimes ask me for travel-photography advice. I’m always happy to help, even if I’m not an expert (I’ve never taken a formal photography class and am still learning the basics).
Still, here are some ideas I’ve picked up along the way. Maybe they will be of use to you too.
(This is me, picking up a photo idea.)
1. Fill your frame … and vice versa
What is your photo about? Fill the frame with your subject — or use other elements to “frame” the subject.
2. Tilt your camera
One of the photo first tips I got was to pay attention to my horizons — and it’s indeed critical for landscape photography. But tilting your camera every so often can make your shots more dynamic. Plus, it can help squeeze in the monumental architecture!
3. Meet Geometry, your new friend
Experiment with looking beyond nature and architecture, and making geometry the subject of your photo.
4. Focus on the foreground
When we’re traveling, we usually focus on our mid- to far-range vision. Add interest to your images by focusing on elements in the foreground instead.
5. The devil is in the details
Our instinct as travel photographers is often to try to capture sweeping vistas, but the feeling you get from a place often comes from the small details.
6. Shoot in the morning — and in the rain
Many photographers especially like working during the morning “golden hour.” But don’t discount cloudy or rainy days. When you’re traveling, try to make the most of whatever light you get.
7. Emphasize texture
Weathered wood, cobbled streets, peeling paint … all of these can add an element of tactile interest to your images.
8. Play with repetition
Play with repetition. Play with repetition.
9. Shoot through something
Shooting through a window can add texture and context to your images. (But shooting through a car window just makes things blurry.)
10. Include people
A lot of photographers wait (im)patiently for people to leave the frame. But do you really want your shots to look like a post-apocalyptic ghost town? Plus, it’s the people and the everyday moments that give a city its character.
Bonus tip: Be here now!
A wise friend once told me that “expectations are the killers of good travel,” and the same is true of good photography. Yes, Flickr is a great source of inspiration. But don’t waste your trip trying to merely duplicate others’ images. Find your own beauty in the world. Be open to the moment, and to the unique experience of being there at that moment.
Safe travels, and happy shooting.