As most travel-savvy people might tell you, traveling is one of the most freeing and liberating activities that you can take part in. Not only can you discover new places and meet new people, but you also get to enjoy the freedom of experiencing new cultures. And with these new memories and experiences, it’s only natural for you to want to document the unfamiliar yet enchanting things that you may be encountering in a few of your travels – which is where travel photography enters the picture. If you’re a frequent globetrotter, like the surf enthusiast and frequent traveler Nadav Berenstein, you may be wondering how you can effectively present visuals for maximum immersion for your viewers and followers. To help you, we’ve compiled some useful travel photography tips and recommendations so you can capture breathtaking photography during your travels.
8 Travel Photography Tips for Beginners
- Do Your Research Beforehand
Before visiting an unfamiliar country or any place in the world, it’s a good move to first do in-depth research so you’ll have a background of the customs, traditions, and social practices. This way you’ll be able to mix with the locals easily and be familiar with the place you’re planning to explore. But another reason why this travel photography tip may be useful is that you can learn of notable locations and picturesque scenes that you can capture on film straight from the locals. Because the internet is a rich source of information – not to mention a lot of travel enthusiasts now have blogs where they share their escapades – you’ll surely find morsels of travel wisdom that will help you navigate better to the best destinations.
- Never Forget the Rule of Thirds in Photography
If you’re familiar with the basics of photography, you probably know what the rule of thirds is. Used as a compositional tool for photography, the rule of thirds divides each image into threes horizontally and vertically. The grid lines that divide the spaces are the ideal place where you should situate key elements. For example, when you’re shooting the horizon during sunrise or sunset, it’s best to align the horizon with either the upper horizontal grid line or the lower one. This will help put a sense of balance in all your photographs. However, while this travel photography tip is a great rule of thumb, it’s also important to know when to break it, especially if you’re dealing with symmetrical subjects and patterns. You can also put your subject dead at the center if you’re planning to put all the focus on it.
- Find Leading Lines
Leading lines in images help photographers lead their viewers seamlessly to the focal point. By knowing how to find and where to situate leading lines in travel photography, you can frame your shots better and get better image composition. Some leading lines that you may want to look for in landscapes and other settings include roads, shorelines, bridges, and doorways.
- Add a Human Element
While travel photography can primarily focus on landscapes, structures, and architecture, adding a human element can bring a better sense of belonging to your viewers. In a way, landscape photography can typically harbor a sense of disconnect, especially for people who haven’t been to those places before. By adding a human element, you can help them better understand the scale of your subject and compare themselves to the human included in the photographs.
- Ask for Permission or Even Try to Befriend Locals
When traveling, one of the most important things you need to know is how to embed yourself into the culture of the locals. While you won’t be able to grasp their language and social customs perfectly, it would still be a good idea to at least be familiar. A great travel photography tip also puts this into practice. When you’re photographing locals, try to ask permission before, since not all people will be welcome with getting their photographs taken by strangers. You may also try to build rapport with potential subjects before you try to ask them for a photograph. The better you understand them and the more you’re familiar with them, the higher the chances that they’ll be open to being your subject or being included in your shot.
- Allocate a Specific Amount of Time for Photography
Are you a stickler for plans and travel schedules? If you are, it’s best that you allocate enough time for your travel photography plans. A great travel photography tip for scheduling is maybe add in a few minutes where you can just focus on finding the perfect shot or a beautiful subject to capture with your camera. Not only will this allow you to get more pictures, but it’ll also give you enough time to just bask in the scenery or immerse yourself better in what you’re witnessing. While capturing and practicing your travel photography is important in all your travels, it’s also necessary to experience things in real-time.
- Never Leave Your Camera Behind
As every photographer would probably tell you, leaving your camera behind means that you’ll be missing a whole lot of photo opportunities that may not happen again. A travel photography tip you should always heed is to make sure that you always have your gear on you, whether when you’re out hiking or even when you’re just planning to enjoy a leisurely walk. This is why a few travel and documentary photographers advise beginners on getting compact, yet powerful cameras, such as mirrorless options. That way you can easily pull it out from your bag when something happens that’s worth capturing. In addition, smaller and more compact cameras will also help you avoid lugging around large baggage when you’re out and about.
- Know When to Use Manual Mode
Cameras nowadays are equipped with groundbreaking technology that can help you capture breathtaking pictures by adjusting your camera settings automatically as you shoot. For beginners, this might be an extremely useful tool, especially if they’re not yet familiar with all the settings and camera navigation. You certainly don’t want to miss something while you’re trying to figure out your camera’s controls. However, while automatic camera modes are useful, a useful travel photography tip is to know how to adjust your camera settings manually so that you can tweak and control exposure, brightness, and focus. If you’re practicing your travel photography skills, try to get familiar with your camera’s features to have better creative control over your shots.
Document Your Travels, But Don’t Forget to Enjoy the Moment
Sharing your escapades and breathtaking snapshots from your travel is a priceless endeavor, especially since you’re sharing your passion with other people. While it is easy for you to get lost in the flurry of finding the perfect subject or framing a great picture, don’t forget to also enjoy sceneries as they are. Remember that you’re traveling to widen your experiences and get immersed in unfamiliar settings. While you document your travels, still try to bask in the moment. And when you’re done marveling at breathtaking sights, then start to shoot the best travel photographs.