Let me start first by making a disclaimer – I am not a professional photographer and still have a lot to learn on photography. I mostly shoot using the auto mode and usually only make a few adjustments. That said, I did pick up some tips from a few photography talks and from experience. And what I learned is I daresay enough for smartphone travel photography, or for Instagram.
My craft is really writing, but when I started travel blogging, I realized the need to take photos to accompany my words. While my words can give the readers a feel of the experience that photos sometimes can’t give, with a single glance, photos can show what a place looks like. Photos are especially important when I write travel guides. That way, readers will be able to have a more objective perspective of the place.
In personal essays or travel narratives like this on my seven-week solo backpacking trip, I used fewer travel photos and focused more on making the readers feel the experience through my words.
As a travel blogger, photos to me are a companion to my storytelling through writing. I try to make them work together.
Here are some travel photography tips I have picked up and have been applying over the years:
Take photos that give a sense of the place
I won’t forget what a professional photographer who is also a travel blogger said in a talk even before I considered starting a blog – that travel photographs should give a sense of the place. I believe this is especially important if you only have one travel photo of the place, or if you have an album and need a main or feature photo. Make sure there are elements that are characteristic of that place.
For landscapes, use a wider orientation as much as possible
Of course, there are exceptions, but generally, landscapes look more majestic and sweeping when shot at a wide angle or with a wide orientation (usually 16 x 9).
Follow the rule of thirds, especially when you have a specific subject
Imagine a photo to be divided into nine squares – the subject should be on the line on the left or the right. To make sure you are following the rule of thirds, activate the grid lines on your camera or smartphone.
Again, there are exceptions to this, but in general, it would be good to follow this rule.
Use leading lines and perspective
As in the photo above, there is a foreground (subject) and a background (the rock formations) that give the photo depth.
Below, the photo uses lines and curves that lead to the horizon.
Include an element of a different size if you want to show contrast in scale
If you are photographing a vast and majestic landscape or a towering structure, it would be good to include an element of a smaller size, like a person, especially if you want to emphasize the bigger object’s size.
Wait and pay attention to capture the perfect moment
In street photography especially, you need to be attentive to capture the perfect moment. In fast-paced scenes like festivals, you might also need to set your camera in burst mode to get several shots and pick one or more later.
These are some of the things I learned while taking photos for this blog (If you would like to see more of my photos, do follow me on my Instagram). I am interested to learn more, which is why I am planning to attend this photographers’ conference below. You might want to check this out, too.
For more details and to register, visit www.photoworldasia.com. You may also call (+632) 524 7576 for registration. See you there if ever!