I love looking back on my photos from adventures around the world and relive the amazing memories. However, what I don’t love is cringing a little inside at how some of my older photos turned out. Last year I started to take photography seriously and really invested in learning how to take great travel photos!
Photography is really a skill that takes a lot of practice to master. While i’m not expert I want to share my 5 tips to take high quality travel photos on your next trip!
Lighting is probably one of the most important aspects to taking photos. I know getting up at sunrise can be though when you’re on vacation. However, it is so worth it to capture that gorgeous glow.
Golden hour is the BEST time to take photos. This is right after sunrise and right before sunset. The reason is the sun is lower in the sky and emits a soft glow rather than a harsh light during the afternoon. Blue light is also a pretty time for night photography, this is right after sunset.
While you can still capture great shots in the day time it is recommended to utilize golden hour for great travel photos. Also in post production it’s a lot easier to edit rather than trying to deal with over exposed photos and dark shadows.
Tip: If you’re lighting is off or your settings weren’t the best you can edit in your photos on Lightroom, which is what I use and love!
Understanding how to use the rule of thirds to balance your photos is key to composition. The Rule of Thirds is 2 horizontal lines and 2 vertical lines that divide and guide your eye to aesthetically pleasing photos. Your goal is to place objects or people on those lines or at the points where the lines meet. There are definitely a lot of exceptions to the rule and beautiful photos can come out of not following the rule.
You can easily turn on the grid feature on your phone to start practicing and its also a feature on all cameras. To turn on the grid feature on iPhone’s – Settings > Camera > Grid
Learn your camera
I can’t stress enough how important learning your camera is. When I bought my first Sony mirrorless camera in 2018 right before my 3 month Europe trip I didn’t take the time to learn all the features on my camera. While I did eventually teach myself as I went, it wasn’t soon enough and no matter how many tricks I apply on Lightroom, it can’t fix my photos.
Manuals can be super useful for learning where buttons, features and basic camera functions. I personally love learning how to use my camera by watching a million Youtube tutorials! Some of my favourite tutorials for Sony cameras are by Kyle Taggart, Arthur R and Julia Trotti has amazing videos for shooting with prime lenses.
Tip: Shoot in RAW (example above), the camera doesn’t compress the image data on file and it’s easier to correct photos in post production! It does take up a lot more memory though, so buy a large memory card.
Focusing on your subject is very important to get crisp shots. The eyes are what draw a viewer in so you want to make sure the eyes are always in focus.
Many newer or high end cameras have face detection and continuous eye auto focus as a feature that you can enable. Once the feature is enabled you can now take photos of moving subjects at high frame rates and the camera will follow the eye to ensure you get a sharp shot.
Research your destination
Doing research before any trip is key to getting great travel photos! By reading blogs and websites you can find well known and hidden gem locations. They will give you insight on ideal times to go, cool vantage points, what time of day is best etc. All my photos above were locations I found through blogs or on Instagram.
Don’t under estimate the power of research! Once you get to your destination another great tip is to reach out to other photographers, they might be able to lead you in the right direction for cool photo locations. Also asking locals is great for some insider knowledge! By finding these unique locations or perspectives you will definitely capture really awesome content.
These are some of my best tips to capture high quality travel photos on your next trip! As long as you put in the work to learn your camera, adapt to the weather and find unique and interesting photo spots you can definitely take amazing high quality travel photos!