Have you asked yourself why your photos are sometimes dull and lifeless? If you need a better camera to achieve the results you want and need on your travel photos? How can Fotostrasse show the places you’ve been before in such an amazing and vibrant way? Well, let me give you some extremely useful travel photography tips for you to use whenever and wherever!
Because, once more, you do not need to spend hundreds of euros to get your photos to the next level. We’ve covered that before on the previous posts, remember?
I’ve set up a quick list full of useful information and easy travel photography tips to bring your photos from 0 to 100 but always keep in mind one thing: taking good photos is just like play an instrument, you must practice if you want to go somewhere with it!
And if you need an extra push you will always have our lovely monthly challenge, the notorious Fotostrasse Missions!
But first let me start with the basics and showily evolve deep into travel photography tips level I-am-a-fucking-awesome-photographer.
Spend a bit of time researching about the destination
Nothing beats having everything you’ll need before hand, huh? The old saying “Better safe than sorry” is one of the pillars of travel photography. If I’m giving you travel photography tips for something with a lot of snow, you will probably not be able to use if the place you’ll be traveling in winter does not snow during the winter months, right?
Don’t leave it to chance and learn as much as you can about the place you are about to travel. Learn if you’re doing hike, if will be nature or city, if you will be seeing things from above or from the ground… Basically all the information you need to know to choose wisely when you’re packing. On this post here I told you all a bit of what’s on my bag, remember?
Nothing beats having everything you’ll need before hand, huh? The old saying “Better safe than sorry” is one of the pillars of travel photography. If I’m giving you travel photography tips for something with a lot of snow, you will probably not be able to use if the place you’ll be traveling does not snow during the winter months, right?
Don’t leave it to chance and learn as much as you can about the place you are about to go. Learn if you’re going to hike, if the place will be more nature or more city, if you will be seeing things from above or from the ground level…
Basically all the information you need to know to choose wisely when you’re packing. On this post here I told you all a bit of what’s on my bag, remember?
Be the early bird or be the last one to go to bed
Besides having the best light to capture most kinds of subjects, the golden hours (one hour before sunset and 1 hours after sunrise, depending where you are in the globe) usually offers you the best time to photograph the city you are.
But, why? Simple, because people don’t usually wake up that early on vacation or they don’t stay on touristic places that late, that’s why!
So if you want that great photo of the Brandenburger Tor without the billion tourists or if you’re just looking for the right time to get that perfect shot of the sky when you’re in the middle of the nature, do one of the following (or both): Wake up super early or go to sleep after midnight.
Know your shit before you do shit
I can’t stress thing enough: study your equipment. You must understand your camera 100% so it can understand what you want and what you need from it. No travel photography tips will be useful if you don’t know how to perform the actions on your own equipment, right?
Don’t waste your precious and sometimes super expensive traveling time on learning how to operate that new camera you just bought but did not have time to test or on that new lens you’ve got as a present but you have no idea how it behaves and what is it for.
Do your homework at home, it is cheaper.
Think twice when choosing the accommodation
Sometimes staying in the center or having a room with a wonderful view can help you create the most amazing photos ever. Think about that when you’re booking your hotel.
Sometimes that extra coast for the hotel with the highest tower is worth it!
Get Inspired and get creative
Read some blog posts about the place you’re going, search for some photos on flickr, get some ideas and inspiration online before you go out and shoot.
Check out the angles that most people use and do the opposite of that (or just do it better!), check the surroundings of the place you’re photographing and try to find an unusual detail or just look up or look down when you’re walking.
Many hidden things will appear to you if you just shift your way of viewing the world. These travel photography tips is aiming to get you closer, upper, from a bit down, maybe to the side, anything!
Quick bonus travel photography tip: Zooming is good, but your legs are better.
We all know that Cuba has cigars and that in Germany they drink beer, tell your viewers something fresh and new. Share your own point of view of the place.
Have you heard about our monthly missions? It was created to inspire people to get better in photography! Every month we set up a theme and all you have to do is read the rules here and start using your instagram to show us your progress!
Be patient, little padawan
Don’t try to get it all in once, ok? Don’t try to see and do everything on your limited time. The secret for better photos is a bit of patience sometimes.
Most times the perfect shot will happen if you only allow yourself to truly see a place for more than just 5 seconds.
Composition takes time, specially in the beginning.
Learn about composition
This is where we separate boys from men, people! Learn all the rules, read all the articles, practice it a lot and only them start breaking the all the rules.
This is the part of this text where you’ll know how you can bring home some of the wonderfulness you’ve experience abroad inside your memory card.
This is where you’ll learn that you don’t need fancy equipment to obtain those great travel shots you see here and in other sites, what you need is just a bit of knowledge for your brain and a bit of training for your eyes.
Here are some honorable mentions when we’re talking about composition in photography:
1- Learn the rule of thirds
I think the famous Rule of Thirds is the most famous one, right?
You just need to divide your frame like in a tic tac toe game and place the most important subjects around those lines and/or intersections.
2- Place the dominant eye in the center
You must place the dominant eye of your subject on the center of your frame.
3- Find the Leading lines
Leading lines are the lines that paves an easy path for the observer to follow through different elements of a photo. Good examples goes from roads, rivers, dunes, waves, buildings.
Anything that makes your eyes go from point A to point B in a smooth and natural way.
4- There is beauty in symmetry
Really used on Instagram, symmetry is pleasant to our eyes. Try to find it everywhere you go.
5- Find Patterns around you
Patterns are good when you follow them but they are exceptional when you break them.
6- Look for diagonals
Diagonal lines are used specially to create the sensation of movement and direction. Diagonal lines generally work really good to draw the eye of a photo’s viewer through the whole image. The lines creates points of interest as they cross with other lines and often give images depth by suggesting perspective.
7- Figure to ground
The simplest way to tell you what it is is this: Figure to ground is pretty much having a strong contrast between your subject and the background.
8- Frame your subject
Simply try to find natural frames for your subjects. Keep an eye for mirrors, windows, holes in the wall, actual frames like the ones you can buy on the shop…anything goes. It is pleasant to the eye to see something framed already.
One of the best ways to explain all those rules is through videos, and the best video I found is this one here where all those – and much more – rules are well explained.
Keep it Natural
One of the most influential and important photographers of all times is for sure Henri Cartier Bresson. If you don’t know him, please open a new tab and google him! Now!
Well, Cartier Bresson never ever ever ever EVER used flash in his photography. Why? Because he considered that rude and impolite, just like attending to a concert with a pistol in your hand.
Natural light is the best light, specially in travel photography. Try to learn and enjoy the benefits of the natural light. And I personally rather spend money in an tripod than a flash, but I know that is not case for everyone and every situation.
Use what is available
One of the great things people sometimes forget when they are out there on the field, if that you can use whatever life gives you on that time to make your images better.
We’re talking about reflection on a car window or on a small plash on the road, we’re also talking about that rock on your left that could be a great tripod for a long exposure shot.. anything.
Be more aware of what’s around you.
Quit whining about stuff
“If someone would pay me to travel”, “If I had an big and expensive camera and lenses like you do” or “but..but…but.. you have so much time on each destination, I can’t do that”.
All of those, every single one of those: excuses! I always hear it from my friends, co workers and family members. Excuses and more excuses.
Excuses seems always to be the answer the question: “Why can’t I get better and strong pictures?” News for you guys, at least half of the photos of this blog are done with a cellphone camera.
Equipment is important? Of course it is and it certainly makes life easier. I’m not denying this, ok? But do not dismiss from your mind the camera is just an instrument, a tool. A “box” that can captures your thoughts and vision.
You don’t need to be sad for the equipment you don’t own or the time you don’t have, guys. Take the time and money to learn photography, go to some classes, read books about it and travel as much as you can! Travel photography is the same as I’m-in-my-city photography, go out and do more!
This is the only way you can get better! =D
If you like out photography tips, you should take a look on what we wrote about our favorite iPhone apps and what we wrote about motion blur.