Take Better Travel Photos: It’s a Snap

Travel Tips — By Carlo Alcos on July 1, 2010 at 3:46 pm

It’s easy these days to snap away mindlessly with your digital camera, knowing it’s not going to cost you anything (except time) to delete the shots you don’t want. But if you take some time to learn what makes a great photo and to be more cognizant when shooting, it’s actually quite simple to improve on your travel photos and take higher quality pictures in less shots.

At Google News, Douglass K. Daniel from the Associated Press digs in and talks to pro photographers for some tips. Here’s the gist:

  1. Learn your camera. Besides learning about the different functions that are available, practice with it before you leave home. And what about all those wacky functions? Eliot Cohen, a DC-based photographer, says:
  2. You don’t need all the functions on the camera, only about 10 per cent of them. Knowing the things that are important to you is enough.

  3. For landscape shots, foreground is important. Scott Stuckey, author of National Geographic’s Ultimate Field Guide to Travel Photography, says you can use a rock, tree, or statue to add interest.

    Even better is a shot of a person doing something that relates to the landscape — a fisherman tending his nets, a cowboy on horseback, even a tourist taking a picture.

  4. Don’t be a poser. At least not always. Associated Press photographer, Susan Walsh, reminds us that “vacation pictures are about remembering moments, not just places.” She suggests taking action shots to capture the fun of a trip and pictures of locals to give a place character.

Other tips Daniel includes:

  • Get as close to your subject as possible
  • Take your outdoor photos during the first or last hour of sunlight
  • Learn when to use your flash (sometimes it’s required in daylight, and sometimes not at all at night)
  • Check the edges of your frame when composing to keep unwanted objects out of the picture
  • Buy the largest memory card you can afford

Another tip worth mentioning: be respectful. Adhere to the no-flash policies of museums and art galleries (know how to turn the flash off). Before taking pictures of locals, ask their permission. You don’t even have to know the language; a smile, a nod toward the camera, and they’ll get the picture. Hopefully, so will you.

[Image: author]

Tags: camera, photography, tips, travel


  • jimdavidson says:

    One off the tips from the NG travel photographers guide is ‘participate in rituals.’ I’ve found this invaluable in integrating with foreign cultures, and getting some of my best shots.

  • Carlo says:

    Any tips on how to participate in rituals?


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