Revisiting photos from a journey should be an evocative experience. The best photos are the ones that capture the atmosphere of the place and transport you through space and time, as if you were actually there, surrounded by the sights, sounds and smells of your destination. Pictures are your most valuable souvenir, which is why it’s important to learn how to take good travel photos. Read on for a simple guide through travel photography and the best nature photography tips.
Do your research
When you stop to think about how to take good travel photos, you will see that a lot of the times, chance plays a significant part. Perhaps you found yourself at a location just when the light was perfect, or you managed to capture an amazing emotional moment between people. However, you can’t rely solely on luck. Before you travel to an area, Google and guidebooks should be your best friends. Always check reliable tips for international travel before you go. What are the attractions? Is it a bustling melting pot of a city? A region with ancient ruins? The site of amazing natural wonders? If you will be taking pictures of a very specific landscape, like a desert, a swamp, or a waterfall, check out some tried and true nature photography tips beforehand.
Make your own opportunities
Capturing some truly unforgettable pictures is not something that happens very often. You might get one exceptional shot among dozens of mediocre ones. To maximize your chances, spend as much time as you can outside. Get up at the crack of dawn, stay out as late as you can. Immerse yourself completely in the landscape, or among the locals. Try to capture their customs, traditions and their way of life. However, before dealing with locals, always explore tips for international travel first. Cultures differ, and you don’t want to unintentionally offend anyone. Embrace adventures. Wander and get lost. Mingle. And always look at your surroundings with one eye on the viewfinder.
Rely on your feelings
The biggest mistake newbie photographers make is not taking their feelings into account. In fact, the best photos are the ones that manage to capture a mood, an emotion, an atmosphere. With people, that’s obvious enough. When it comes to landscapes, cities and attractions, allow yourself to just observe for a while. Immerse yourself in your surroundings, and explore what feelings arise. Is the place tranquil? Menacing? Desolate? Vibrant? Pinpoint your emotions and impressions, then look for ways to capture them in your pictures.
Don’t be afraid to play around. Photography is all about experimentation. Take a single scene or object, then shoot it at different times of the day to see how the light changes. Perhaps an unusual angle might transform your photo from mediocre to extraordinary? Maybe the best shot is a close-up of an intricate detail? Change the composition by placing different elements in the foreground or background. A tripod can be pretty useful in these experiments. It might not be convenient to bring it wherever you go, but have it with you at least some of the time.
If you are shooting human subjects, bear in mind that although they might be used to tourists, that doesn’t mean they always want to be photographed. It’s polite to ask for permission, unless, of course, you are shooting a crowd. At most popular tourist locations, people are already used to being photographed so they will likely accept without a fuss. However, be prepared to hear “no” sometimes too. Some might even ask you for money.
Whatever you do, always take your camera with you. The best pictures are often ones that were never planned or staged. Yes, you can get incredible results on a planned shoot, with all of your equipment and the ideal light. However, plenty of times you will just happen to find yourself serendipitously at the right place at the right time. Don’t let the moment slip by, just because you left your camera at the hotel. A passionate photographer is never off duty.