12 WAYS TO SHOOT THE PERFECT TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPH

Today, professional photographer Laurence Norah of Finding the Universe, continues his five-part series on taking better travel photos. Photographs are important for the memories they represent so Laurence is here to help us take better pictures! Part two of the series is on how to get the perfect shot.

In my first post in this series, I talked about the key compositional rules that you can use to create better travel photos. If you’re new to this series, I recommend you start there.

Today I’ll be covering how to deal with challenging light and some introducing some advanced ideas for controlling your composition, including being selective with your focus and making objects seem closer together than they are.

Then I’m going to get into specific tips for common travel scenes to get you taking better photos faster.

I’ll begin, though, by talking about the most crucial element of photography — the light. The middle of a sunny day might seem perfect for photography. In truth, it’s the worst time to take pictures — the light is harsh, shadows are challenging, and your photos will not do your subjects justice.

The best times to shoot are closer to sunrise and sunset when the light is soft and warm. These times are known as “the golden hour.”

You can’t be everywhere at the right time for the perfect light, especially when traveling. Here’s how to get the best shot from a bad lighting situation.

12 Ways to Take Better Photos

1. Be Aware of the Sun

beautiful travel photograph of a snow-capped mountain in New Zealand

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This is the most important tip of the lot. Ideally, you want the sun behind you so that your subject is fully lit. If the sun is behind your subject you’ll end up with a much darker, poorly lit image. While this can be done intentionally for effect, for most shots you’ll want the sun to properly light your subject. To do that, position yourself so you are between the sun and your subject, as I did in this shot from my journey around New Zealand:

2. Get Creative

Dazzling picture of hot air balloons in Napa Valley, CA

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Don’t just take the same shot every time. Mix it up and get creative. Instead of having the sun behind you, take advantage of the harsh light for a more interesting image. Try shooting into the sun to create silhouettes, or use a high aperture to create a starburst effect, like in this Napa Valley balloon photo:

3. Use the Weather

Using weather to a photographers advantage when taking a pic of the mountains and sky Painted Desert

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Think about how you can use the weather to your advantage. How can you embrace a grey sky or a rainy landscape to capture a unique photo? How can you snap a picture of a blue sky without it being boring? Be aware of the weather so you can adjust your style and subject accordingly.

For example, when the sun is behind clouds, the light is diffused. Clouds also add interest and scale to otherwise plain, boring skies, as in this shot of the Painted Desert in Australia:

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