5 ways to improve your travel photography

It’s not a contest to be the best, so take some time developing your style

Has every beautiful picture of every beautiful spot been taken? You don’t have to be a professional to enjoy your hobby, develop your own perspective and style, and tune your skills even further.

1. Try to find a theme in every photo

To follow this “Theme” philosophy, it is necessary to have a good eye for what might be an interesting focus, and also to have a great zoom camera that can catch details – whether close or far away. With Landscape shots, the same philosophy applies. Make sure there are one or two main features which fill or almost fill the frame. Having a tripod or a larger sensor can help catch some of the smaller details, and make your photo really interesting.

2. Getting the right gear

Every travel photographer is different. Some like to carry around a bag of gear with them, others like to travel light. Finding what you like to do will help you have the most enjoyable experience with your photography. Equally important to finding your style and technique is having equipment that matches your focus. For this reason, I think starting off with unspecialized equipment is best. Sticking to a capable camera that can span many different styles is good for experimenting with your style.

  • Phones can be good for capturing color and themes, but often fail in capturing detail and texture.
  • GoPros are great for action videography, but present some challenges with capturing color and stills.
  • Bridge Cameras are my favorite range, with professional capabilities in a compact, easy to use combo camera.
  • Stylish looking cameras may match your clothes, but don’t buy a cutesy camera that can’t deliver good content.
  • Don’t be afraid to go second-hand. You’ll be amazed at how great a deal you got for excellent gear, sometimes in great bundles with extra batteries, cases, and more!

3. Don’t try to capture too much!

Trying to capture too much can overwhelm your viewer quickly, and will leave them unable to understand the meaning behind your photo. It will leave them zooming in on each photo (or you trying to do it for them.) Try to pick one or two focus points for your photo, and cut out as much as you can. Sometimes, with luck or good planning – you can get a larger focus immediately behind your closer subject.

If a city sprawls beneath you with many areas of interest, it might be your urge to get as much in the shot as possible. You might try to get the clouds, the ocean, every building in shot. While a shot with a lot of information can be useful if there is a common theme (such as a sunset,) when these common themes are not there, be careful to judge what is necessary – and maybe a little unnecessary in your shot.

4. Don’t be overly afraid of people

Sometimes, crowds and tourist hoards can be overwhelming. I know it’s led me to overly crop a shot or two… and I was only left disappointed.

  • Try not to crop if it takes away from your focus
  • Adjust your vantage point and find another focus – if the crowd is really a killer to the shot
  • Try to catch something happening. A random person enjoying their vacation can actually provide some context to your photo (I know, it sounds strange.) The truth is, many times empty photos make for boring pictures.
  • Sometimes the people in your shot contribute nothing to help describe the shot. If this is the case (like the trevi fountain) try going at night or early morning for an enchanting experience. Remember to check if your subject is open during those hours.

5. Relying too much on your subject

This is a mistake I’ve made over and over again, and i think is self explanatory.. Don’t think that just because something is already interesting that your photograph will be magically amazing. Do some work and find a creative angle! Find a way to add different colors into your photo, or find a cool texture to focus on!

Trevor Carson

Trevor is an adventurer, husband, father, writer, and musician that loves to find travel tricks and jet around the globe.

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