Here are our top travel photography tips for beginners – perfect for anyone who is making their first foray into capturing their travels. If you want to take better travel photos, this simple advice is just what you need to get you started on your photography journey.
Work with what you’ve got
If you’re a beginner, there’s no need to rush out and buy a fancy kit. Work with what you have, whether that’s an entry-level DSLR that you’re trying to get to grips with or your smartphone. You can upgrade your kit later on, when you know more about your style and have a basic understanding of what lens you need to capture the shots you want to take.
Good light is the most important thing
If the light is good, it’s hard to take a bad photo. Avoid artificial lighting and don’t use your flash, waiting until you have good natural light to take your photos. The best time of the day to shoot is around sunrise and sunset, when you can take advantage of the soft, diffused light of the low sun – known as the Golden Hour.
Composition is key
Frame your shot well and you’re on your way to taking excellent travel photos. A good technique to remember is the rule of thirds. Imagine your screen divided into three horizontal and three vertical lines, creating a grid with nine rectangles. The points the lines intersect are the strongest focal points of the image, followed by the lines themselves. Use this knowledge to set up your shot, positioning the horizon in line with one of the horizontal lines and your main subject in one of the intersections.
Play with depth of field
Create more interesting photographs by playing around with depth of field. If you have DSLR, your aperture controls this – the wider the aperture, the smaller the number, and the more depth of field. If you want to put the focus on your subject and create a blurry background, set your aperture to the smallest possible number (in Aperture Priority mode, your camera will help you figure out the other settings). It’s also possible to get this effect with Portrait Modes on new smartphones.
Don’t be afraid to take lots of photos
The beauty of digital cameras is that you can take as many photos as you like and delete the ones that don’t work out. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different settings and take several shots of the same scene – you can later delete the images you aren’t happy with.
Have your camera with you at all times
Carry your camera around everywhere you go, having it on hand to take photos whenever inspiration strikes. If you’re travelling in an area that feels safe, carry it on a strap around your neck for ease of use. If you leave your camera in your hotel, you could miss the perfect opportunity for a great shot.
Do your research
Before a trip, take some time to research exactly what and where you want to photograph. Look into the best spots to shoot from, check weather conditions and tides, and make sure you are prepared. It’s also important to check if photography is allowed in certain locations.
Think outside the box
Don’t take the same photographs as everyone else. Think about what you could do differently, such as trying a different angle or perspective, or getting creative with depth of field. Create your own photography style, rather than copying other people.
Emma Lavelle is a UK based writer and photographer and has her own blog Field and Nest.