Photographs tell a lot more than a thousand words! With a strong presence of social media in our lives, there is no way you can go to a trip and not have the photos to share with the world. If you have wondered how some people get amazing images, while your pictures look as if taken with a potato! Here are the best-kept secrets of getting incredible travel photographs.
Get the right camera
The most important thing to keep in mind is to have the right camera for the task. Mobile phone cameras have come off age, but they are still no match for proper cameras. If you want great photos, you are going to need the right equipment. Nowadays, you can get really powerful mirrorless cameras, and even beginner-friendly DSLRs to get started with your photography journey. Having said that, do not limit yourself to the hardware.
Play with light and shades
Learn how to make the best use of the ambient light in the scene. Keep the key light zones of the day in mind, and avoid harsh lights during the midday. The golden hour (5am – 5:45am) is perfect for warm lights that bring out an ethereal aspect in your subjects, but once you learn how to use the light in the scene to your advantage, you will start seeing new compositions that would not be apparent otherwise.
Shooting with flash/speedlights
Carrying flashlights on your trip may not be quite feasible for the obvious reason of their bulk. But if you know where to find, there is a wide range of portable flashes that you can use to get great photographs when the ambient light goes down. Open the lens wide at f1.8 or f2 and let it pull in as much light as is possible. While using a flash learn how to make the best use of its throw. Reflected light is great for images with more textures and tonality.
Wide open aperture for Bokeh!
Love getting those delicious bokehs in your photos? Try shooting with a wide open aperture which will give you an amazing shallow depth of field as long as you are relatively close to the subject. For good boheks, you need a good amount of subject separation. The second thing that you need to keep in mind about getting good bokehs is to have a shutter with more blades. The more blades in the shutter, the more circular ‘bokeh balls’ you are going to get.
Want your vacation portraits to pop? Make use of props in the images. Ask the subjects to use interesting props available in nature that will help you bringing out the unique aspects without taking the focus from the subject. Even a motorcycle helmet or a pair of motorcycle gloves can be a wonderful story-telling prop! If there is no prop avail, make use of things available in the scene. There could be some architecture of special visual interest, or you can leverage something else in the scene that can make the picture worth keeping!
Get better at composition skills
The immortal images that you see in galleries and websites are not great because they were shot on the most powerful cameras, they are amazing because of the composition of the image. Learn to see interesting compositions in boring scenes that the human eye would otherwise not see. It is all about the perspective and creating an image that looks different than what the normal eye sees. Keep on trying with different angles and compositions and you will get better with time.
Shooting RAW Vs. Straight out of camera
Shooting RAW gives you a vast range of colours and tones to play with. A lot of the data is preserved in RAW format which can be recovered with a compatible RAW manipulation software. You can make a vast range of tweaks and modifications to the image and make it look completely different than what you get directly out of camera.
Colour Vs. B&W
Arguably B&W images preserve a lot more tone and texture in the images compared to colour images. The decision to shoot in colour or black and white lies with you. Whether you want to get the colours or keep a classic high contrast B&W look is a decision you have to make.