Do you ever look at other people’s travel photos and wish that yours were better? Some people can make absolutely anywhere look gorgeous, and other people struggle to make the most beautiful scene on earth look appealing. You might look at travel blogs and Instagram jealousy. Eager to make your own photographs look more exciting. Whether to share them with the world, to create your own successful travel blog or solely for your own pleasure.
A Guide to the Basics of Travel Photography
To take your travel photography to the next level, you should get a DSLR camera. While smartphones today have great cameras and are certainly an excellent way to start, if you want to take your photography more seriously, investing in a camera is ideal.
You might also want to add extra equipment to your kit, such as prime lenses and a tripod. I love my low aperture 50mm f/1.4 and 35mm f/1.8 lenses, which I use it to create depth of field in my photos.
But, to start with, there is no need to spend too much money. All you need is a basic camera and practice with what you’ve got! Here are some travel photography tips for complete beginners.
1. Learn the Basics
You don’t need to be an expert to take great travel pics. When you are travelling to the most wonderful locations around the world, half of the work is already done.
The more you learn about your camera, the more you will be able to do with it. Books, blogs, online guides and courses can all help. Even reading your camera manual will help you to get to grips with shutter speed, aperture and ISO. Which all work together to determine how much light is let into your camera, and the depth of field of the shot.
Always try to take photos in the early morning: you will get the best light to create dramatic and unique shots. But also, that’s when destinations are usually empty and quiet and you – as a photographer – you will have more time and space to roam around!
2. Get On Instagram
If camera controls are one side of the coin, composition is the other. Some people understand the technical aspects of their camera entirely, but their shots still don’t capture the magic of their setting. The secret is in “your eye” and your style…it’s all about working towards finding that!
Some people have a natural gift when it comes to composing a shot. They can choose the right angle easily; they choose a subject, add props and move the camera to find the perfect picture. Others struggle to see what is in front of them.
A great way to improve your composition skills is by looking at other peoples pictures for inspiration and ideas. That is why I always loved Instagram since the early days of the app! Get on Instagram and start following some other photographers that inspire you, whether it’s in travel, portraits, architecture or food. Here are 8 Instagrammers to follow for food photography and styling.
3. Don’t Force Yourself Off Auto
Learning how your camera works doesn’t mean that you have to be on manual all of the time. Many great photographers use aperture or shutter priority most of the time. These settings allow you to control say the aperture, while the camera adjusts the ISO and shutter speed to complement for the perfect picture. They only got on full manual when they need more control.
You might also enjoy practising on auto, taking note of the settings the camera chooses and learning from them. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your favourite photographers (for example, on Instagram or Flickr) to ask them which camera lens and settings they used for a particular photo you love. Then, try to recreate the same set-up and shot.
4. Edit Your Snaps
Learn how to edit photos and invest in some photo editing softwares, and you’ve got more options. Whether you just want to crop a shot a little, or completely change the exposure settings, being able to edit gives you an extra tool.
To edit my travel photos, I use a range of different desktop and smartphone apps. The time to edit a single photo can be between 5 to 15 minutes, so overall it’s a lot of time and effort that goes into making my photos perfect…but it is absolutely worth it!
It might sound obvious, but the best way to become a better photographer is to…take photos! Even when your out of your comfort zone, like photographing the northern lights at night in Norway!
Get out there and practice all of the time. You don’t need to have a big trip abroad planned to start shooting; even if you are in your hometown, you can take your camera out with you and find interesting angles and scenes to photograph. If you don’t have your camera with you, practice taking photos with your smartphone.
Remember: don’t expect all of your pictures to be perfect; just keep taking them! The more of practice, the better you will become!
Disclaimer: this is a collaborative post.