Ever wondered why your holiday snaps don’t come out quite how you want? Do you look at other people’s photos and wonder why they look better than yours? Well, here are 5 Travel Photography Tips from photographer Clare Malley that will help you to take better photos every time.
Travel Photography Tips by Clare Malley
Here are my top tips for travel photography, to capture the essence of your travel destinations. They are all simple and easy to apply. You don’t need a fancy camera – an iPhone or something similar, or a basic compact camera, will fit the bill perfectly. I do hope they inspire you.
Travel Photography Tips – #1
Use the Rule of Thirds
Photographs have more impact when the subject is a third of the way across, rather than in the centre. The photos above show the difference that this can make. In the top pictures, the ‘rule of thirds’ is used: the eye is drawn first to the scooter and then it looks further around, to take in its surroundings. The photos underneath don’t use the rule of thirds – they just show a rather snazzy scooter (in Rovonj, Croatia) slap bang in front of you. Use the grid on your camera’s display to use the rule of thirds to compose your shot. (For recent iPhone models, go to Settings > Photos > Camera > Grid, to switch it in or off.) You can also use the grid to make sure the horizon straight.
Travel Photography Tips – #2
The hour before sunrise and after sunset is a wonderful time for landscape photography
The light at these times of day can make for beautiful and unusual photography. This photo was taken just before sunrise, near Motovun in Croatia. If you’re using a digital camera, you can keep the camera shutter open for a comparatively long time to get a good picture so use the ‘shutter delay’ setting on your camera. If you are touching the camera at all it will almost certainly spoil the picture so a tripod can help. Plenty of tripods are available online relatively cheaply, even for smart phones. Some have flexible legs to hold them in position and there are also versions with magnetic feet to keep them steady. If you don’t have a tripod, just balance the camera in position, propping it in place with something, like a bean bag, to keep it absolutely still. Of course, you can take some fab photos without doing any of this!
Travel Photography Tips – #3
Use lines and patterns in the photo to draw the viewer in
Look at the way the subject of your photograph pulls you in. These photos from County Kerry, Republic of Ireland, demonstrate how this works in different settings. The lines of the rocks on the left draw the viewer’s attention straight to the heart of the lake. The bridge in Killorglin leads you to a building a third of the way into the photo on the right, which adds to the effect. (Red in a photograph attracts the eye quicker than other colours.)
Travel Photography Tips – #4
Check the camera display screen carefully
It sounds very obvious, but it’s so easy to forget to check the screen when you’re somewhere unfamiliar or in a hurry. The difference in the photographs above (also taken in Rovinj, Croatia) is purely down to the camera shutter being open for different lengths of time. To avoid the problem, with an iPhone or iPad camera, tap the screen where the main subject of the photo is, until you are happy with the display. Other basic cameras will have a means of achieving the same effect.
Travel Photography Tips – #5
Don’t be afraid to be quirky!
Sometimes, look at your photos from a different perspective. This was part of a dull photo of sheep in a field near a river. Rotating the original 180° and cropping it made it far more eye-catching.
And Finally… I hope these simple travel photography tips will inspire you to try different ideas with your camera and composition. You’ll find you’re learning all the time, acquiring the know-how to be ever-more creative. Have fun!
Clare Malley is a professional photographer working in and around the Lake District. She specialises in portraits of pets and people. She loves travel photography and, whenever the opportunity arises, gets out and about with her camera to capture the sights she sees around her. You can see more of Clare Malley’s photographs here. Follow her on Twitter @ClareMPhoto and on Instagram @ClareMPhoto