Hi Readers and a happy Monday to you! I hope you guys had a peaceful and fun weekend. I did; maybe that’s why I had a somewhat difficult time getting up this morning. I think it was so cold, despite it raining, so I just listened to some music. It was only until my kitty Coco Bean mewed that she was hungry that I got up. Something about rainy days, I guess.
Those who are my loyal followers and royal you-know-whats know my blog is not known for its photographs. And I am not searching for excuses, but I have spent the last year or so finding my niche, refining my signature writing skills, and just getting a hang of planning and running a blog. Photography is like the last thing on my mind, even though it shouldn’t be. But don’t worry, I plan on improving my blog’s photographs and visuals in some distant future.
I talked about photographs and visuals in the last paragraph as a nice segue to today’s topic. I may not be adept with photography angles, lighting, or color correction, but I can write a mean piece of literature. That’s just my forte. So, I am writing a blog post on photography tips. Keeping that “shock value” in mind, I will include some tips I have learned mixed with some already well-known professional techniques so YOU can improve your own amateur skills. And no I am not including any of MY pictures.
Some bloggers just photograph anything and everything. They run into trouble such as this article details (See HERE). On the other hand, that explains why their blogs are so visually appealing. However, I use photographs to document important events and trips only. I don’t see myself as a photographer in search of that elusive subject and then showcasing it. But, that’s just me!
One of the most important aspects of photography is an image’s composition. A composition is knowing what to include in a photograph and what to keep out. This can include arranging items on your table to be photographed or framing a monument or building on your travels. Although there is no one rule of how a composition should look like (that’s the beauty of photography where like writing, you can learn a lot about the photographer through the photographs he/she composes), I have heard of “The Rule of Thirds”. According to Wikipedia, the rule of thirds is a guideline which applies to the process of composing visual images. The guideline proposes that an image should be imagined as divided into nine equal parts by two equally spaced horizontal lines and two equally spaced vertical lines. Knowing what object or placing the subject along those intersecting lines is the most important compositional element in photography. Proponents of the technique claim that aligning a subject with these points create more tension, energy, and interest in the composition than simply centering the subject.
So when you are traveling and taking pictures of your family members (or yourself!) in front of a point of interest, stand at a distance from it. And don’t compose the picture with anyone in the middle. It looks so awkward. Imagine or use the grid feature on your camera and take several shots with the person/persons standing along different intersecting points. It adds depth to the image like no other posed picture.
Dress Nice On Down Days
Some fashion bloggers like to dress up and stand in front of walls, or museums, or even fountains as pretty backdrops. There’s nothing wrong with this aspect of travel photography. Some bloggers would rather have memories of what they wore and when than documenting what they saw. Maybe you are spending a day at the spice market in Turkey, or spending a day on the beach in Florida, these are the moments when you can dress up and have fun photographing yourself instead of taking the usual point-and-shoot travel photos.
Look For Props
A creative approach to travel photography is when you look for come subjects that are easily ignored by others but, will remind you of your awesome trip. Maybe it is a pretty pink bike standing next to a brick wall, or a flower growing in your favorite park, or even a souvenir that you can’t afford to buy, but want to capture it as a memory (those who don’t believe that these souvenirs exist should visit Venice, Italy. There is such beautiful artwork, but the prices are steep! On the other hand, Venice is a photographer’s dream). Apply “The Rule of Thirds” and look at the subject’s surroundings. If it is a lonely bike next to a wall, then it is a pretty easy task to have it stand out in your photos. But, what if you find a beautiful bike in a schoolyard (or at an antique shop in Toronto, Canada like me) where there is a lot of “clutter” around? What do you do then? I would recommend playing with camera settings and the Photoshop app with this one. You could blur out the background OR enhance the color of the “bike” (or the subject) to a point where it is unrecognizable. OR you could just have the owner or shopkeeper move it somewhere to your liking. Honestly, it is YOU documenting the memory of your travels so you are in charge.
Pick Colors To Set The Mood Of Your Whole Trip
There is kind of a fun aspect of photography when you go to a location you have visited before. On these trips, to make your photos fresh and stand apart from your previous (and maybe usual) photos, “focus” on a color scheme throughout the trip to set the tone or mood of your pictorial documentary. For example, London is known for its gloomy days and its grey, cloudy skies, so how about focusing on gray’s when you go back. Or for a surprising effect-pink! Cuba and Mexico are such lively and exotic countries. How about showcasing vibrant colors of their walls or food (or festivals!) when you go back? It makes the whole digital album just as meaningful and memorable as pictures from your first trip.
This is kind of a fun aspect of travel photography that I have practically NO experience in. But this is probably for the more advanced photographers out here. A great intro for new photographers can be accessed HERE. Angles are an integral part of the composition as well. It is the part that is not OBVIOUS and is entirely dependent on the photographer’s expertise. So guys, practice, practice, practice your angles before you take that trip.
I know I have readers who are proud owners of major equipment and photo software in addition to their DSLR’s and I have readers who are proudly equipped with their smartphones and photo editing apps. I am kind of old-fashioned (yes, still!) when it comes to photography. I like to depend less on the digital filters and editing programs and more on how I can control the outcome of the click button on my camera. To me, unedited images “expose” more about the story behind the image and filtering it through photo programs just dilutes that story. But, that’s just ME. I have met numerous professional photographers who swear by Photoshop and Lightroom so I know I don’t want to anger those monsters ( 😉 ). So in the end, use photography to tell your own travel story.