5 tips for better travel photography

five tips to help you improve your travel photography

I love photography. and I love travel. in the past few years, I've had the opportunity to capture some amazing places with my lens. below are a few tips that I've found to be helpful - all of them learned from experience! I hope that you'll find them helpful on your next trip, or even shooting around your own backyard.

Hong Kong travel photography tips
Thailand travel photography

1. try a new perspective. 

if you’re visiting a major tourist attraction, chances are that thousands of people have stood exactly where you are and clicked the shutter button. go ahead and take the “classic” shot, then start experimenting. try a new angle. get in close. then get in even closer. look up. look down. find the details that make this place unique. [just don't cross any barriers and get yourself kicked out!]

3. get up early. 

let's be honest: jetlag sucks. but when I find myself awake on vacation at an inhuman hour, I walk outside with my camera. [the above sunrises were both from early-morning jetlag walks.] most people come home with sunset photos, but the light is usually pretty fantastic in the morning. arm yourself with a cup of coffee and try it out sometime.

4. avoid the crowds - OR - use them. 

if you can, visit a location during low season or right before open/close when fewer tourists will be around. pay attention and time your shots carefully if you want to keep strangers out of your frame. if you are at a high-traffic attraction, this may mean getting creative. [when we visited the Grand Palace in Bangkok, it was swarming with people… but I made a game of trying to shoot without people in my frame.] OR. use the people around you to make your photographs more interesting. I get wrapped up in just the scenery a lot of the time, but capturing a few of the locals can really add to the atmosphere of your shot.

Wat Pho Thailand

4. use what you know. 

vacation is not the time to experiment learning full manual on your new DSLR. I fully encourage you to learn how to use manual. but. you should practice when it doesn't matter rather than while shooting a once-in-a-lifetime scene. practice shooting lots of everyday things before your trip - your dog, your dinner, your local art festival - and you'll be comfortable using your skills. OR if you haven't had time to figure it out, shoot using the mode/lens/camera you are comfortable with. you'll end up with better shots if you feel confident in the equipment you're using.

Boracay sunset

5. don’t spend the entire time behind the lens. 

yes, you want to bring home memories of this amazing experience… but you also want to experience it. I’ve been guilty of getting so caught up in taking pictures that I don’t give myself time to actually enjoy what we are seeing/doing. every now and then put the camera down and just look around. not only will this help you be in the moment, but taking some time to view the scene may inspire a great shot you wouldn’t have thought of otherwise. besides, you're on vacation!

want to improve your travel photography skills? these five tips will get you started

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