Make travel pictures great

Pragmatic tips
Of course photography involves a lot of technical aspects. Practice before you go, particularly with the camera (or cameras) you intend to take. Remember that you will be taking shots in different kinds of light, so experiment with your camera’s lenses, settings, and flash to become familiar with all your options.

Don’t forget to notice the direction and quality of light. Front lighting (where the light is on your subject) makes it easier for most basic cameras, but pictures often appear flat. Side lighting highlights three-dimensionality which makes it a good choice for landscapes or objects where you want to show their texture. And backlighting is very dramatic, but if you don’t know how to adjust your exposure, you may find that details are lost to shadow.

Consider composition. Entire books are written on composition, and for good reason. But some basic tips may help:

• The number one tip: move closer. It’s amazing how much richer a photograph is when it really gets up close and personal. But be careful if you are using an inexpensive digital camera – a digital zoom may leave pictures grainy and of poorer quality. It’s better to move in closer yourself.

• Experiment with different points of view and angles.

• Consider simplifying your photographs so that you are taking a picture of a particular thing and not trying to capture the whole scene in one go. You can use the artist’s “rule of thirds” to experiment with placing your subject in different areas of the shot – divide the frame mentally into both horizontal and vertical thirds. Where the lines meet are spaces that the eye tends to emphasize.

• Use natural frames – a doorway, archway, or overhanging trees to provide a frame through which to photograph a view or object.

Keep track of your photography: jot down the shots you’ve taken and their subject to jog your memory when you get home. If using a digital camera, invest in extra memory – it’s worth it to be able to feel free to shoot whatever captures your interest.

And don’t forget to look beyond the lens from time to time and enjoy the trip as well. Travel photographs are wonderful mementos – but they need the experience to go along with them!

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