10 Ways To Improve your Travel Photography FAST
We constantly get asked about how to make better photos while traveling. A short answer would be - "Practice and go through a lot of trials and errors", BUT there are some good advices that can help you to improve your skills fast.
During our journey we have learned a lot, especially in travel photography, so here are our 10 tips for beginners to capture the perfect vacation memories.
1. Light is KING
Light is the number #1 thing in photography. This is the most important part behind every great photo - you need to have good lighting, because bad lighting will ruin all your images.
If we are looking at travel photos, what is considered as bad lighting?
Try to avoid the midday sun. When the sun is directly overhead, it casts really harsh and ugly shadows, this looks bad on everybody. You need to search for soft light. Midday sun can be better when the sky is cloudy, because the clouds act as a huge diffuser and the light gets more even and soft.
If you want to capture good travel photos try to shoot early in the morning or late around sunset.
This is great for 2 reasons:
1. Light is softer.
2. You can avoid the crowds around touristy places.
2. Use props or wear clothing that stands out on your travel photos!
Props are extra elements that can enhance your images. This can be an ice cream, umbrella, hat, fruit, etc. There are a lot of things that can make your images interesting, try to search for those that can tell a story or provoke emotions.
Clothes can also add another dimension to your holiday pictures. Try to play with complementary colors - for example if the background color is green, wear red clothing. Plan your shots and create high contrast between the background and your main element, this way you can create more focus on your subject.
Avoid busy backgrounds, because these can create a lot of distractions.
3. Edit your photos
The majority of people don't think about editing, but with a little time invested you can create a huge difference and create extraordinary images.
There are a lot of softwares you can use to edit your photos and most of them are also available for free.
Just to mention a few - MOBILE: Snapseed, VSCO, Adobe Lightroom; DESKTOP: GIMP, Capture One, Adobe Lighroom.
We know that they look a bit scary when you first open them, but they are quite easy to use if you give them a try.
We edit our photos with Lightroom and mostly use presets to speed up our workflow. Lightroom Presets can correct the colors and grade your images with just 1 simple click. They save you a lot of time as they create a good starting point for editing the photos, so you don't need to spend hours to achieve the look you want. It's also really quick and simple to install them, make sure you check out our blog post on how you can do this the easy way.
4. Search for interesting angles
Most people only shoot from eye-level. There is nothing wrong with this, but we encourage you to find some angles that will make your images more interesting. Move around, crouch down, shoot from the bottom level or go to stunning heights by using a drone. Find different angles that stand out!
Drone images are always extraordinary because the perspective is new to the eye. You can also try shooting underwater - most of the new phones are waterproof, or you can get an underwater case for $2-3 and you're ready to shoot.
5. Use a tripod or selfie stick
When you travel solo or as a couple you need to take pictures of yourself. You can ask someone to take a photo of you, but the outcome is not always the best :)
Tripods can help you compose your photo and get that shot you want. They are also great if you are shooting in low light, because this way you can take long exposure images, as it gives that stability you need for these kind of photos.
6. Use a polar filter
The most important thing we can tell you about it that IT’S A MUST! You would never believe how helpful it can be both inside and outside.
Polar filters can reduce glare and reflections, so your images will look more stunning (and they are also available for phones).
We use a circular polarizing filter - this is a more universal one, because you can rotate the front of it and this way block different reflection angles that enter your lens. So we absolutely encourage you to try one!
7. Try different composition rules
There are a lot of rules on how you can compose your shots, Rule of Thirds, Leading Lines, Contrasting Colors or use Framing for Composition.
The fastest to implement is Rule of Thirds - go to your camera settings and enable "Grid" (or it should have a similar name, like "Assistive Grid", "Assistive Lines", etc). The lines will divide your screen into 9 equal parts, try to compose your subject where the lines intersect.
8. Know your camera (and also your mobile phone)! Understand the basic camera settings
We know, it's hard to leave the AUTO camera settings and switching to MANUAL, and if you're a beginner you don't necessarily have to, but you need to have a basic understanding of how an image is captured. Let's quickly review the 3 main things that define your photo.
1. APERTURE - this is the "hole" within a lens, that let's light into your camera. The larger the hole, the more light hits the sensor. Aperture also controls the depth of field - the larger the whole, the background gets more blurry, the smaller the whole, everything gets crisp clear.
2. SHUTTER SPEED - the length of time a camera shutter is open. When the shutter is open it let's light into the camera sensor. Slow shutter speed (long exposure) allows more light to hit the senor - this means if you move your camera the image gets blurry. You can use slow shutter speed in low light conditions (night photography), but you need to hold your camera still or use a tripod. Fast shutter speed (high speed) let's little light in, so you can "freeze" the motion, because you only capture the fraction of a moment ((1/300 sec or faster). You should use fast shutter when you capture children, athletes, animals, etc - so fast-moving things.
3. ISO - this is the sensitivity of your camera sensor. The lower the number (ISO 100) the better the image quality, but it can only capture "few" light. The higher the number (above ISO 1000) the more grainy, noisy your image will get - but it can capture more light. Good advice - try to keep your ISO as low as you can and play with the other two settings (Aperture and Shutter Speed).
So next time you shoot, try to keep these settings in mind when exposing your shot ;) This was only a basic introduction, if you want to learn more, there are a lot of sites online where you can dive in deeper into the world of photography.
9. If you have a camera, shoot in RAW
Forget JPG when shooting with a camera, RAW (uncompressed) images have more flexibility and details if you plan to edit your photos later on.
Yes, it increases the file size, but you will have more possibilities when color grading your images - you will able to change temperature, there will be more details in dark and light areas, etc.
10. Find an interesting background
Behind every stunning image there is a great background :D That said, try to find new and interesting places to shoot - search for great locations and creative elements.
If you plan to shoot a portrait, try to avoid busy backgrounds as they distract the focus from the subject.
Thank you so much for reading this blog post! Now you can go out and put these tips into action!
If you have any questions, leave a comment or send us a DM @tropicexplorerspresets!
Don't forget to DOWNLOAD our FREE E-Book "Our Insta Growth And Photography Guide" and boost your social media presence in no time. Go >>here<< or click the image below to claim your free copy!
During our travel journey, we took dozens of photos from jungles, beaches, oceans, cities (not to mention drone and underwater photography) and developed our unique style. Now we would like to share our secret with you guys - how you can achieve the same style in minutes.
>>DOWNLOAD our Master Collection - Lightroom Presets<< and get ALL THE PHOTO FILTERS we have created during our 18 months journey so far.
Lots of Love ♥
Anett&Lorand x Tropicexplorers