Has this ever happen to you? You’ve saved up all year to go on vacation to some beautiful locale, spending your time experiencing new, picturesque sights and sounds. Yet when you get home, and it’s time to share what you’ve experienced, you realize all your pictures are blurry, poorly lit, feature too many unwanted cameos or plain old fail to capture the magic of the experience. Travel photography can be extremely tricky to get right for your average amateur photographer. You don’t have as much to familiarise yourself with the location. You’re often competing with other tourists for a good shot. Here are our top tips for up your vacation photography game and getting the perfect picture for your memories.
1-Invest in the right equipment:
Any professional photographer will tell you that it’s the person behind the camera that matters more than the equipment. You don’t need the latest DSLR or fancy lenses to get great photographs, but it can help to have some useful tools in your stash. A lightweight, collapsible tripod is a great option to help you get stable photos (and hands-free shots) with your phone or camera while also being easy to cart around while sightseeing. Similarly, an apparatus like a selfie stick can get you better angles without straining. If you enjoy water-based activities, a waterproof camera like a GoPro works well for action shots. You could also take along sport camera glasses if you are a sports lover and passionate about photography as well. We’d also recommend taking along a backup power bank for your phone or camera and uploading your pictures to cloud storage daily to preserve them if your equipment breaks, gets lost, or is stolen.
2- Research beforehand:
When visiting a popular destination, it pays to do some research beforehand. Researching popular destinations like museums, national parks, and more not only prepares you for your visit but it gives you a chance to scope out the layout and routes and plan for your pictures. Research can also prepare you for other factors, such as whether the area is safe to film or weather changes. Feel free to ask around for tips or recommendations of places to shoot from other hobby photographers who’ve visited the area.
3-Get to know the locals:
Talking to locals can be an excellent way to get inside info on the best spots to visit for gorgeous photographs. Popular tourist destinations can be overcrowded and brutal to navigate while filming, and some photographers may want to add some more unique places to their portfolios. Befriending locals can get you the inside scoop on some lesser-known sights and places to check out. Its also worthwhile to research the culture of the site you’re visiting, especially if you want to shoot portraits of locals. Some countries may have opposing views towards being photographed in public by strangers, or some locals may ask for money to have pictures taken with them. Always be polite and respect the wishes of your subjects.
4-The early bird gets the shot:
While it may be tempting to spend your vacation sleeping in, some of the best shots you can get will only be achievable if you get there early. Going out before not only enables you to get some gorgeous sunrise shots of landscapes, but you also had the opportunity to film at popular locations without large crowds in the vicinity. If you’re going to be visiting iconic landmarks like the Taj Mahal or Eiffel Tower, getting there early is your best bet for the best shot.
5-Its all in the angles:
When you’ve found a shot you want to capture, don’t just settle for a simple point and shoot. Experiment with composition from multiple angles, closeup and far away, maybe even lie down for a low grade. Pick a focal point of the shot (for example, a statue or a person) and use it as your central point while navigating your camera. Practice some easy photography basics such as shooting photos with the rule of thirds or simple framing at home before your trip.
6-When in doubt, edit it out:
Sometimes the right editing tools and software can elevate a bare shot to a frame-worthy masterpiece. All professional photographers edit and retouch their photos, and with free online tools and apps available, it’s easier than ever to tweak an image from the comfort of your phone. Editing can fix many everyday photography issues, like a shot being out of focus, too dark, or even remove undesirable elements from the image. If you have pictures that you want to display, it may be worthwhile to hire an affordable retoucher to go over your photo for you. It’s always recommended to save the edited version of your picture separately from the raw file to allow flexibility in editing.