Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Top tips for taking better travel photographs: Part 1

Following on from my recent posts offering advice on how to become a travel writer, I thought I'd also share some tips on how to take better travel photographs. With many editors today asking writers to provide a package of text and photographs, it pays to know how to take a better than average picture. So here are my top tips to help transform your travel photographs from mere holiday snaps into great pictures you’d not only happily hand over to any editor, but, better still, would be proud to hang on your wall.

Do your homework
Before you head off on your next trip spend some time researching your destination. Buy a guidebook or do a little surfing on the internet to find out what there is to see and do. Then make a list of possible shots including information on whether it's better to be there in the morning or in the afternoon. Pay particular attention to events and festivals or local markets which will provide you with the perfect opportunity to capture the colour and flavour of the destination.

Include personality
The best way to add more depth and atmosphere to your photographs is to include people within your frame. They not only provide local flavour to a region, but can also add a sense of scale to vast landscape features such as the Grand Canyon. Be sure to ask for permission first and respect people's wishes if they don't want to be photographed.

Move your subject off-centre
Whatever you do resist the temptation to place your subject dead in the centre of your picture. Instead, bring your photographs to life by framing them off-centre. Simply following the 'rule of thirds'. That is, place your main subject roughly one third of the way from the top or the bottom of the frame, or one third of the way from either side of the frame.

Get in close
There's nothing worse than looking through someone's pictures and seeing their subjects appearing as ants in the distance. To make your photographs bolder, fill the frame with your subject. By getting in close you'll not only leave no doubt as to what your subject is, but you'll also reveal more fascinating details such as the lines on a person's face or the texture of fabric.

Look for a unique angle
Just because you hold your camera at eye level or view a sight square on doesn't mean this is the best view. In fact, it's probably already been done to death, so why not find a view that is a little more unusual and make your picture stand out? Try moving a few steps to the left or right or turn your camera at an odd angle. Better still, get down low and shoot up or stand on a chair or step and shoot down.

Happy snapping!


Emanuele said...

Great post, Kim! I'm looking forward to reading number 2. I'd really appreciate if you could give me some quick feedback on how to improve my skills, based on this album . If you can't I'll put your blog in the "bad blogs" list in my reader :-) just kidding! If you want you can email me at e.siracusa at gmail dot com.

Kim Wildman said...

Hi Emanuele. Well I don't want you to put my blog on your "black list", so I'll be sure to stop by and let you know what I think :-)