Travel Photography for Bloggers
To me having a good visual aid to help tell your travel stories is as important as everything else when being a travel blogger. Not everyone is a born photographer though and it might not come as naturally to take good photos while travelling.
I am by no means a professional but I have had 15 years of travelling and Travel Photography experience and I have learnt a few things along the way that might help anyone that is a bit lost or wants to improve their photos.
Back in 2007 I went on a trip to Costa Rica and Bahamas, this is probably where I wish most that my photography skills and equipment was better. The photos were by no means bad but they were low quality and I took more photos of faces or random places when I should have focused on telling more of a story with the photos I was taking. You learn as you go though and through the years I have become way more conscious of how I want to photograph the area that I am visiting.
Travel Photography is not always about having the most expensive equipment although a good quality phone or camera ( note that it doesn’t not mean the one with the highest price tag ) it’s more about who is taking the photo than anything else.
Canon 5D Mark III with 24-70mm lens
Gopro Hero 5
Know your gear
There is nothing worse than taking a whole bunch of photos with your brand new camera only to stare at a very dark, completely over exposed or blurry screen when you check your pics. Always check your settings before you start shooting because spending that little bit of time might save you frustration later.
Knowing what your gear is capable of also makes it much easier to take good photos. Some lenses are better for landscape and will distort faces while some do much better in low light than others. Get to know everything before going on a trip so you know what to use in different situations.
So before you go buy a crazy expensive camera, rather see what your current one can do.
Leading lines are important
To make something interesting and draw their eye to your photo it needs a few things. Its almost like a little recipe although one that should be tweaked as you see fit because at the end of the day photography is about being creative. The human mind does work in certain ways though and it likes seeing certain things. Roads, bridges and coast lines all make for great leading lines and mostly awesome photos but there are plenty of other ways to draw someones eye in. From the curve of a swimming pool to an interesting tree branch, leading lines are everywhere if you start looking. Up your game by creating a point of interest within your leading lines like someone walking or having a mountain range or sunset at the end of it.
Capture moments that tell stories with your Travel Photography
My boyfriend Michael ( @thelawry on instagram ) is a boss at capturing moments that tell a story. He has been on some pretty crazy adventures and always comes back with images that speak to your soul. This is something you might have or might not have but trying is the only way you will know. These photos might not always be easy to take and will sometimes be uncomfortable but the end result and the story that comes with it will make it worth it.
Know your location
One of the things I always do before going on a trip is finding out as much about the area as possible. I check the tides if its near the ocean, the weather for the time I will be there and of course all the interesting and epic places. I check instagrams from the area and read blog posts. Then I try and figure out how I can create an image at those spots that is different to everyone else. I also always check where the sun sets to avoid any disappointment. Travel Photography is all about being prepared but also working with what you have.
Don’t rush it
Its almost impossible to take one photo and have it be perfect. I sometimes take hundreds at one location and you obviously don’t have to be crazy like I am but my motto is the more you take the more you have to choose from. That doesn’t mean just putting your photo on burst and snapping away without a second thought though. Snap a couple and change your angle or maybe take a few with changing light conditions. Take with people and without and always check your photos after each few shots.
Invest in a Tripod
Ok so I know I just said that you don’t need to buy a lot of things to be a good photographer but tripods can be lifesavers when it comes to good quality photos. You can experiment with star piotos or use it to get yourself in a shot as well if you are travelling alone. In low light it can help with the sharpness of a photo or if you use your phone you can use it to create awesome slow shutter photos.
Ok so this one is a bit weird but also very true and as soon as it happens to you it will make sense. There has been so many times where everyone is taking lets say photos of the sunset and I turn around and it actually looks way more epic behind me. What I mean by turning around is don’t always go take the photo everyone else is taking, look around and you might see things in a completely different way that will make people question where the spot is even though it might be a familiar one.
People love fun travel photos and its easy to see why. Someone jumping into a lake or paddle boarding on crystal clear water makes you want to do it as well right? Travel is about a lot of things but most people travel because they want to enjoy themselves and believe it or not they love seeing other people do the same. Gopro’s are perfect for capturing those adrenaline pumping adventure shots and they are also pretty easy to use. Use them under water or do other cool things to make people go wow! It will definitely give a different spin on wherever you are travelling.
Are you staying somewhere cool and unique? Try and take a photo inside to give people a different perspective. I love seeing photos taking inside hotel rooms, cool cabins or even tents! Set up a shot to make it more interesting than your standard run of the mill brochure photo. Drink a cocktail on the balcony or sit in bed eating breakfast and reading a book. Create situations that your readers will want to find themselves in.
Post processing is important for Travel Photography
I use Lightroom, Photoshop and sometimes VSCO to edit most of my photos. You can buy a monthly subscriptions to Lightroom & Photoshop on the Adobe website for $20 a month which is something I highly suggest to everyone.
If you shoot in RAW format on your camera its very easy to fix things in Lightroom like photos that are slightly over expressed or to enhance certain colours. Photoshop is great for removing elements that you might not want in your photos and doing a whole host of other awesome things.
You can have those two programs on your phone as well and then another phone option is VSCO which I love using when I don’t have a whole lot of time to edit photos for lets say a tweet.
Everyone has their own unique style and I am not telling you guys to take photos that look like mine, I am simply offering some ideas on how to make your photos even more awesome!