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5 Travel Photography Tips for Non-Photographers

Photo credit: Stuck in Customs (flickr)

Photo credit: Stuck in Customs (flickr)

The photographs you take while travelling will probably become some of your most treasured possessions. Nothing captures memories as well as a photograph and exploring the world will give you access to stunning landscapes and fascinating sites worthy of National Geographic magazine.

Of course we don’t all have photography skills that are up to the standard of published travel photographers but it’s easy to improve your skills with a little practice and some simple tips and tricks.

DSLRs, like the Canon T2i can take some impressive shots but there’s no need to carry an expensive and bulky camera around with you, especially if your interest in photography is limited to the length of your trip. Point and shoot cameras and even phone cameras are sophisticated enough these days to take some amazing photographs and it’s mainly the lighting and composition that makes a great photo, not the camera it was taken on.

1. The rule of thirds

Photo credit: zilverbat (flickr)

Photo credit: zilverbat (flickr)

The rule of thirds is one of the basics of photography and is a very easy tip for anyone to implement. Most non-photographers position the subject in the centre of the frame but it often makes for a more interesting shot if you image the photo divided into three and position the object that is the focus of the shot in the left or right third. Try it and see what a difference it makes to your photos.

2. Know your light

Photo credit: mariotto52 (flickr)

Photo credit: mariotto52 (flickr)

The best light for beautiful photographs is generally the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset. In these hours, the sun is low in the sky, casting long shadows and the light is soft and golden. Of course when you’re travelling, you’re probably going to be out all day so this doesn’t mean you need to leave your camera at home during the middle of the day. However if you’re planning a trip to a temple or other photographic location, it may be best to plan it in the early morning or at sunset to make for the best photos. Getting out early in the morning has the added bonus that there won’t be many other tourists around and you’ll probably have the place to yourself

3. Try changing your angle

Photo credit: danorbit (flickr)

Photo credit: danorbit (flickr)

The best photos are rarely taken at human head height. Try getting down on the floor or climbing up higher or trying out other interesting angles, which will make for more artistic shots

4. Look for details

Photo credit: Stuck in Customs (flickr)

Photo credit: Stuck in Customs (flickr)

Everyone takes the same landscape shots and boring images of famous landmarks but you’ll find some of the most photographs focus on details. Look for small things like a pile of fruit in a market, the texture of brickwork on a wall or an interesting and colourful sign.

5. Include people

Photo credit: Martin Sojka .. www.VisualEscap.es

Photo credit: Martin Sojka .. www.VisualEscap.es

The people are what give life to a place so don’t just focus on buildings and landscapes. Portraits of a local busy working in a market or kids playing in the street can make for great shots that really evoke the true atmosphere of a place. If you’re taking landscape shots, try to include a couple of people in the foreground to give a sense of scale. Try to be respectful when you’re taking images of people – ask permission when you can and take a few minutes to talk to them – don’t just shoot and run. Most people in developing countries (especially kids) will love to see their photo on your lcd screen, so don’t leave without showing them the shot, it’s only polite.

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