Travel is wonderful in many ways. Besides giving you a chance to post pictures of the most picturesque towns on the planet to your Facebook page (as long as the town says it’s okay), it also gives you a deeper insight into the world you live in. It’s one thing to read about people, places, and things on the internet and it’s quite another to actually meet interesting people, experience fascinating places and do adventurous things.
Still, to get the most out of your experiences, you should capture all your adventures on film. Here are five tips on how to take professional photographs when traveling!
1. Take A Photography Class
While you can learn a great deal about photography by reading books and blogs about it, it’s fun to take a class to learn all about how to use a camera. You’ll learn about how to use shutter speed to control light for daytime or nighttime photographs. You’ll learn about photography rules like balancing elements, viewpoint, leading lines, depth and background. And you’ll learn about different cameras and interesting ways to shoot.
2. Develop An Eye for Patterns
The best composition involves capturing some kind of pattern. Our minds love the shape of clouds, buildings, roads, rivers, flowers and breaking waves because these all show us fascinating patterns. Although patterns are around us all day long, we seldom pause to appreciate their intricacy—until a pattern is frozen into a still picture.
Take pictures of things that have interesting patterns, and if it’s a picture of someone make sure that the background is interesting, too. And, of course, use a tripod if you don’t have a steady hand because you don’t want blurry lines or slanted skylines.
3. Break Images Up Into Thirds
When you look at anything, your brain is immediately overwhelmed by the sheer abundance of detail. One way we make sense of the world is to simplify it. Although the human brain can process about 400 billion bits of information a second, we are only aware of about 2,000 bits of information a second. For this reason, photography has come up with a simple rule of thumb, which is called the rule of thirds.
Essentially, break any image up into three of the most interesting aspects of it. For instance, if you’re taking a picture of a magnificent ocean, then make the ocean one-thirds of your photograph. The sky will then make up the remaining two-thirds. What you don’t want to do is split the scene in half, as it will make the composition too predictable.
4. Foreground, Mid-ground and Background
This photography concept is similar to the idea of thinking in thirds. The way to scale an image is to think of any scene as consisting of a foreground, mid-ground and background. If, for instance, you’re taking a picture of your friend, but also want to show the ancient temple behind them, you have the mid-ground and the background. Now place a little foreground before the image of your friend to create a sense of perspective. Or, if you’re taking a picture of an old country house against a mountain, include the garden before the house, too.
5. Find A Natural Frame
We often make sense of the world by putting a frame around it. When taking a picture of a natural scene, find something that creates a natural frame around your subject. Rivers, paths, a line of trees—all these are natural frames. The idea is to direct the viewer’s eye to the central subject of the picture. For instance, if someone is walking on a road, the sides of the road form a natural frame.
In conclusion, think of your photography as serving two primary purposes. The first purpose is to help you notice what’s most interesting in a scene. What is it that you notice when you look at a street? What makes this street more interesting than any other street you’ve seen before?
And the second purpose is to share your vision with others. If you are true to your craft, they, too, will have a sense of awe and wonder when they look at things—catching the extraordinary in the ordinary. They will see the street vendor on the streets of Mumbai selling samosas from his cart as an interesting person and get a glimpse of his world and his experience. They will see the cuteness of the puppy by the way you capture its wistful eyes shining in the evening light. They will see the world your eyes capture through your lens as unique, beautiful, mysterious and, perhaps, even magical.