Snapping travel photos as a beginner is tough work. The unpredictable (and often less than ideal) conditions can be difficult even for more experienced photographers, and beginners will invariably struggle to capture impressive photos.
If you want to start to snap travel photos that look great but are worried that you don’t have the skill or experience to pull it off, there are several simple ways to get started.
Take Advantage of the Golden Hour
The golden hour is roughly the hour right after dawn, and the hour right before the sun sets. During that time the lighting conditions are spectacular and it is both diffused and directional.
On top of that the hues of color in the sky are normally a nice touch to capture in your photos as well.
Suffice to say the golden hour is the perfect time to be outdoors snapping travel photos – and you should make it a point to take advantage of it as often as you can. It will require that you wake up early and possibly stay out a bit later, but it is worth it.
Shoot Action in Burst Mode
If you anticipate that you’re going to be snapping any shot with rapid movement – try to switch your camera over to burst mode.
Every time you press the shutter in burst mode, several photos will be captured in quick succession. That makes it much easier for you to land the perfect shot.
Some cameras may let you adjust the number of shots that are captured in burst mode.
There is an art involved in taking photos in burst mode however, so if you have the time you should practice using a little bit. Always make it a point to review your photos on the spot or shortly after and decide which ones to keep – so that they don’t pile up and turn into a chore.
Bring Along a Portable Tripod
A decent portable tripod is a great addition to any travel photographers bag. It will provide many benefits, and can be used to:
- Ensure that the camera is completely still and level while you take a shot.
- Position the camera in a fixed location and keep it there while you wait for the shot.
- Capture delayed photos that you can be in.
Suffice to say you’ll be glad that you have a tripod with you in the long run, so if there’s one piece of gear you want to invest in – it is this. It is best to make sure that the tripod you choose is light enough that it is easy to carry around, and that you can set it up quickly.
Try Framing Shots from New Perspectives
Travel photos of popular sights and landscapes can easily look mundane because many are captured from exactly the same position and perspective. That is why you should actively try to look for new and unique ways to frame your shots.
The most common perspective that is used for photos is straight-ahead and at eye-level. If you instead look for other angles and positions, you should be able to make your photos look much less mundane.
Pay close attention to how the shadows fall and the position of the lighting when framing your shots – as that could add an extra dimension to your travel photos.
Use the Weather to Your Advantage
When you’re on a trip you shouldn’t look at poor weather conditions as a bad thing, but instead should try to use them to your advantage. The weather can add a unique element to your travel photos and make them stand out further.
Cloudy skies, frost, lightning, rain, snow, fog, wind – all of these conditions can make your photos look special. Try to see how the conditions affect and change the landscape around you, and capture them as part of your shot.
It should be noted that you may need to experiment with different camera settings to capture different types of weather effectively. Initially however you shouldn’t worry too much about that, and should just focus on incorporating the weather as best you can.
Improving your travel photography skills is a good start, but if you want your travel photos to really look great you should also try to hone your ability to edit them. That is actually a lot easier than you might think, and you could even try learning how to make a photo look vintage as per this guide.
The more that you practice the skills described above, the more of an improvement you’ll start to see in your travel photos. Keep in mind that you don’t need to wait until your next vacation to start trying them out – and you just need to take out your camera and begin looking for anything to shoot.