It is hard to travel without taking pictures as both activities usually go hand in hand. These days, there are tons of social media pages and blogs dedicated to traveling. Also, many people have to work for 6 months a year to get the chance of having to travel and take pictures of their experience. And if you’re among those who want to know how to take travel pictures, this can be frustrating.
Honestly, most of these travel photos are not just cliché, they’re mundane and bad. If you have the chance to travel, it’s an opportunity to showcase the lesser-known parts of the world. So you shouldn’t do what everyone is doing. You should explore different things with these 10 important tips for better travel pictures.
1. Get a Good Camera
If you desire to improve the quality of your travel pictures, then you should get a decent camera. And the best way to buy a decent camera is to make research on the best travel cameras before set out.
The price of decent travel cameras usually varies from $400 to $1200. This means that you have to use it often to get your money’s worth. And of course, you can use your old cameras from school. But you shouldn’t expect high-quality photos. Also, if you intend to upload these pictures on a website or submit them for contests, you have to get a camera of high resolution to achieve this.
Also, if you do not want to always take your expensive camera with you, you can use your smartphone camera. Although it won’t be as clear as a good digital camera, there are still smartphones with high-quality cameras on the market. Some even partner with dedicated camera companies so you can take high-quality pictures with your phone.
2. Make Use of a Gimbal
For you to take excellent pictures, you need to stabilize your photos. It’s very frustrating to check your pictures after witnessing some amazing scenes on your travels and realizing that the pictures were blurry. Of course, the perfect pictures you’d hoped to get would be ruined.
You can prevent this by using gimbals—both for your smartphone and your camera. A gimbal gives you that much-needed stability and also allows you to rotate easily. With a gimbal, your camera will be steady as you try to take that perfect video or as you try to take those panoramic shots of those beautiful landscapes.
Buying a gimbal for your camera or phone will enable you to take pictures of greater clarity and quality. They have 3 axes, so you don’t have to worry about your unsteady hands while capturing the perfect pictures.
3. Get a Tripod
If you are traveling with your friends, you’d want to take the perfect group photos wherever you go. This, however, presents a problem: one person has to miss out (to be photoshopped in later) or you can have poorly framed selfies that might not include everyone.
Buying a smartphone tripod is a wonderful solution to this problem. With it, you’re sure that everyone will be included in the photo and the scenery will be captured as well. This also gives you much freedom to take photos in whatever poses and positions you want, giving you a memorable time together.
Tripods have adjustable legs, have different sizes (from the small to the large), and can stand on the roughest terrain. And as such, they give you ample time to set the timer, get yourselves in the perfect position for the perfect photo.
4. Know How to use your Camera
A lot of people find it hard to take photos because they don’t know how to make use of their camera. I understand this, you’re on the move, going from city to city, jumping down from buses into the next hostel, so you want to take a photo of every scene you witness.
Therefore you depend on auto-focus, which is good, fast, and convenient, but it won’t get you those great photos you want. And even when you use the preset modes like Low-Light, Landscape, Beach, and others, you effort can’t get that perfection you desire.
Before you embark on your trip, take out time to study things like ISO, white balance, exposure, and other tiny features that will turn your photos into something amazing. Yes, it seems like a lot of work, but you can check YouTube videos for help in that area.
5. Explore in Private
Every traveler has special locations they want to visit and see with their eyes. But there’s the possibility that these special visits have been spoiled by other people doing the same thing you want to do. Of course, it’s understandable to be disappointed by this, but it should not ruin your holiday.
I think it’s a traveler’s curse that other people want to see the same thing you want to see. How then do you make sure that you can get that perfect, crowd-free photo with just you and your camera?
The trick is simple. Just wake up early, pick up your travel bags, your camera, your spirit of adventure, and get there before anyone else. It sounds cheeky, but this is the best way to capture that perfect picture you’ve dreamed about.
But if your sleep is so enjoyable that you can’t make it in the morning, then you should visit later in the day, or staying later is another way of getting a (mostly) private photo. The only thing you should worry about is losing the light quicker, so be sure to have your exposure level correct before getting started.
6. Have a Theme for Each Day
You should have a specific theme in mind each day. This would help you to focus on the type of photos to take. It can be a serious temptation to snap everything you see and there are lots of strange things to witness.
If you continue like this, you’ll end up with thousands of photos of the same, ordinary things. At that time, it might be cool, but when you get home, you’ll realize that your travel pictures are filled with almost the same thing.
Choosing a particular theme enables you to try out different things you might encounter each day. This will help you to always be on the lookout for the perfect picture. It will also make your photos to be versatile. You can choose any theme, so try architecture, food, animals, or other strange things you find. It’s your trip after all.
7. Understand Your Subject
It’s useless to just snap a picture without considering what you want to portray in the picture. This isn’t much of an issue for casual photographers who just want to capture the moments of their trip. However, if you’re a professional travel photographer, then you should take your time to understand the subject of the photo as it will go a long way.
Whether it’s a natural scene or a lively city street, or a simple local market, you have to take your time to study the scene for the first time. This is not a simple task and it will take a while before you can master the art of proper subject study. But when you get it right, you can be able to notice things in scenes most people won’t.
And with more practice, you’ll be able to notice shapes and themes in your frames that you can utilize in making your pictures more than simple snaps. When you take your time to study the area, you can pinpoint what is unique to you and improve your photos.
8. Do Something Different
If you’ve ever browsed through different travel pages on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or any other social media platform, you’ll notice that there are typical travel pictures you need to get. These kinds of pictures have been overused and are no longer thrilling.
The answer to this is to pick something a bit different. Yes, it’s nice to take the pictures in the same place as others so you can bond with them, it kind of gets boring. You shouldn’t follow the crowd, rather choose your path, use the freedom of being a traveler, and do something different in getting a unique and amazing photo in the world’s most famous places.
It’s even better if you can find a place no one has ever seen. You might inspire a new style of travel photography of your own.
9. Maximize Vantage Points
Lots of people, when they see something nice, would take out their cameras and take a quick snap without trying to see if there are better angles to the photo. When you start taking advantage of the possibility of new vantage points, you’ll notice a dramatic change in the quality of your photos.
It’s easy to get the best vantage point. Rather than just standing with your camera out, step back and back till you capture the key points in the frame. You can also crouch, lean, or angle the camera away from the eye level. When you do this, you’ll capture as much detail as possible and make your photos more amazing.
When you understand that not every shot needs to be taken with the camera pointed forward, you’ll be surprised at how much your photography will improve. Try to squat, twirl, twist, and lean to get the best possible pictures. Vantage points allow you to present the world in a different light.
10. Light is Your Friend
It’s can be challenging to get the right amount of light for your photos. If you’re outside, the sun constantly shifts shadows and can be blocked by floating clouds that can damage your beautiful scene. You have to find the perfect light balance as you don’t want your picture to be too light or too dark.
That’s why it’s necessary to learn how to use your camera. It’s not enough to know how to use your camera in dark rooms, you have to know how to use the natural light to get the perfect photo. The reason is that it’s important to know how to use light in your surrounding and not feel like your photo will be ruined by shadows, dim subjects, or light diffusion.
Getting the best travel photos will make people want to look at them, and not feel forced to do so. And with time, you’ll have your hard drives filled with pictures from around the world with each one being of high quality and clarity. Yes, memories fade, but the pictures of you will be there forever.