6 easy photography tips for better travel images

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Here’s six easy photography tips for better travel images. The suggestions are sourced from professional photographers.

Looking for easily actionable ideas that will help improve your travel photography? This article shares six easy photography tips from widely published professional travel photgraphers.

Disclosure: Some of the links below, marked with a (£), are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Have you ever been out with your camera and impressed by what you’ve seen yet failed to capture the beauty or mood of the scene in your photos? It happens. Outstanding travel photography takes both skill and practice.

Tips for photography don’t always need to be technical. We’ve talked to six professional photographers to source easy photography tips for beginners and intermediate-level photographers.

Hopefully they’ll help you build a portfolio of outstanding travel images.

How to photograph in snowy conditions

“Finns look forward to the arrival of the white stuff for its reflected light in the otherwise gloomy northern winter days,” says the award-winning Tim Bird, who moved to Finland in 1982 and whose work you can see at www.timbirdphotography.com.

People walking on a snowy lane on a winter day in Finland
People walking on a snowy lane on a winter day in Finland by Tim Bird.

“Automatic meters in cameras respond as if there were more light than there really is, so one has to over-expose the photo to convey the actual dazzling white that your eye perceives. Most cameras have a ‘plus’ and ‘minus’ dial for over- and under-exposure. Experiment with dialling up to + 1, + 2, even + 3. This might result in a slow shutter speed, and this can lead to blurred photos if the camera isn’t absolutely still, so use a tripod. And if it’s really chilly, keep an extra fully-charged battery in your pocket! Some batteries won’t work in sub-zero temperatures,” adds Tim, the author of Motion Pictures – a travel photographer’s companion (£):

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Talk with people before photographing them

“Chat with the people you meet underway and get to know them before taking photographs. Breaking the ice helps put people at ease and look themselves in portraits,” says Stuart Forster, who is based in the north-east of England.

“There’s nothing flattering about photographs in which people look tense. Spend a bit of time in the vicinity of the person you want to photograph. Tell them why you want to take the photograph. If somebody doesn’t want to be photographed then respect their choice and move on to the next person,” he adds.

See a selection of Stuart’s work on his website, www.whyeyephotography.com.

Looking to read more? You may find Lonely Planet’s Guide to Travel Photography a useful book (£):

Man holding a lobster at Halls harbour Lobster Pound in Nova Scotia, Canada
Man holding a lobster at Halls Harbour Lobster Pound in Nova Scotia, Canada by Stuart Forster.

How to take outstanding photographs on water

The award-winning photographer Frances Howorth, who specialises in yachting and maritime images, has two tips for anyone photographing on or around water.

“Always take a polarising filter, it’s great for cutting haze, deepen blue sky and removing reflections,” suggests Frances.

“If you are photographing from a boat there is always some movement so don’t let shutter speed drop below 1/500th second if possible, especially if you are using a long lens,” she adds.

See more of the work produced by Frances and her husband Michael on their website, www.thehoworths.com.

Speed boat kicks up water as it speeds along on a sunny day by Frances Howorth
Speed boat kicks up spray as it speeds along the water’s surface on a sunny day, by Frances Howorth.

How about a camera suited for capturing action on water (£):

Rise early for stunning sunrise photography

“Use a compass to check the position of the sunrise,” suggests London-based photographer Diana Jarvis.

“Of course, if you’re staying on the east coast you can be sure the sun will appear to rise over the sea. That said, it’s always worth checking a compass or the digital equivalent on your smartphone,” she adds.

“Why? A kink in the coastline—such as an inlet or an isthmus—might mean your view is dramatically altered. Check out the smartphone app The Photographer’s Ephemeris, which tells you all sorts of localised facts about your location and can help you work out what the sun will shine on as it peeps over the horizon.”

See more of Diana’s impressive portfolio on her website, www.dianajarvisphotography.co.uk.

Ice on a sandy beach during a sunrise
Ice on a sandy beach during a beautiful sunrise photographed by Diana Jarvis.

Immerse yourself in the place you’re visiting

“I specialise in grass-roots sporting culture — it’s about as far removed as the ‘established’ international sporting events as possible,” says London-based photographer Emma Levine, whose insightful images can be seen at www.emme-levine.com.

“No zoom lenses for me! My main way of getting photos is to immerse myself into the situation and get familiar with the people—and vice versa. I shoot on a pretty wide lens— perhaps 28mm or 35mm. Getting close up and shooting wide is my favourite way of capturing the ambience. Often I’ll spend many days going back to the same location, when I have the time to do that, to get a real in-depth feel of the place and its people. And there will be times when events happen spontaneously and you always have to be ready,” adds Emma.

Cricketers in their whites in India by Emma Levine
Cricketers in their whites in India, photographed by Emma Levine.

Looking to take your photography to the next lever? The Advanced Photography Guide may be the book you are looking for (£):

Photograph even when it isn’t sunny

“Don’t always look to shoot only in the best weather,” says Parikshit Rao, a well-travelled editorial photographer working from the Indian cities of New Delhi and Mumbai.

“Travel locations take on a new mood and character during ‘bad weather’ such as rain and foggy days. Of course, you’ll need to keep your camera protected against the elements. But being able to use it in such inclement weather means your vision, and your experience, takes on a new meaning and perhaps even helps to translate the nature of the place uniquely,” he adds.

You can view more of Parikshit’s on his website, www.parikshitrao.com, where you can see travel, people and food images within his beautiful online portfolio.

Person walking with an umbrella on a lush hillside during a misty, wet day
Person walking with an umbrella on a lush hillside during a misty, wet day, photographed by Parikshit Rao.

We hope these simple photography tips prove actionable and useful when you’re next out with your camera.

What are the best photography tips you’ve ever been given? Got simple photography tricks that you’re willing to pass to others? You’re very welcome to share your suggestions with MannedUp readers by writing in the comments field below.

Looking for more easy photography tips? Here’s a link to a post with 10 tips for taking better photographs that you may find useful.

To better understand the mindset of a seasoned professional photographer check out this interview with Toronto-based Rick McGinnis.

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