There’s no better way to remember a favorite vacation than through pictures. When I travel, I know that it may be a rare opportunity to capture the places and memories on my vacation – so I want the pictures I take to be the best they can be. Plus what is it about a photograph that can take you back to that long-gone vacation in an instant and feel like you’re back there at that spot?! That feeling is worth taking the time to learn more about photography.
My loves include travel and photography. I just recently finished taking a photography composition class here in Atlanta and wanted to share some of the tips and basic rules that I learned to all of our travel pictures that much better!
First, think about your light.
Is the light casting a cool reflection on the ocean? Are you seeing a light-studded landmark at night? Light almost always makes or breaks a good photograph. Common knowledge is that you’ll get the best shots while the sun is low in the sky (at sunrise/morning and at sunset). If you want to include some loved ones in the shot, the warm glow of the sun at sunset is especially flattering. In general, you’ll get harsh shadows during noon or when the sun is high in the sky. If you insist and can’t miss the moment, turn the flash on to brighten up shadowy areas and make the subject the pop in the frame.
Get physically closer to the subject, zoom in, or use a macro lens or setting. Showing too much information in a photograph can be distracting and often unnecessary. What are you trying to focus on? Get in there! Less is more! Find those details because sometimes the best shots are the most simple.
Frame your subject.
The rules of good composition make pictures better because they tell the viewer what we want them to see. One way of doing this is to use elements to act as a frame or border around your subject and tell the viewer what to look at. Taking a beautiful cliff-side shot of the view? Allowing a tree branch to hang over the top and sides of your photo helps frame the view and brings the viewer deeper into the scene. Want to grab a shot of a unique view out your hotel window? If it’s interesting, take a step back and let the window literally frame your view out. Get creative. Almost anything—like people, gates, people, even shoulders can help frame a scene.
Change your perspective.
Find an unusual vantage point. Whether it’s shooting from the top of a building down or getting low, find a new and surprising way to look at a traditional scene. We’ve all seen the same pictures of our favorite landmarks around the world. Can you find a new way to depict that beautiful and recognizable place?
Share your favorite travel picture with us! Let us know what other tips you have for great composition. I’ll be back with more tips soon.