Every year, as you know, I write a round-up post looking back at all my travel experiences from the last year. I’m so lucky to have a job where I get to travel, and the photographs from my travels really are some of my most treasured possessions: mementos of experiences, people and places that I’ll keep forever (and happy memories are something we all need today, ‘Blue Monday’, traditionally the most depressing day of the year!). One of the things that always strikes me is how my blog photography has changed (hopefully for the better). I recently spotted the CEWE Photoworld ‘Top Ten Most Instagrammed Places’ campaign and it made me even more determined to keep travelling the world, and try to tick a few more off them off my list. It also inspired me to compile a list of a few of the things that I’ve learned over the years: little tips and tricks that I keep in mind when I’m travelling. Now, I’m no photographer (I’m mostly #iphoneonly), and I’m still on a bit of a learning curve when it comes to photos, but I genuinely think that these few things have helped me improve. So here are my top ten blog photography tips. See what you think:
- MOVE – for example, if you’re cropping the top off your landmark or focal point, try moving – both your camera AND your body – to find the best shot.
- CROP – to slightly contradict point one, though, sometimes a really brutal crop can work in your favour. I’ve had instances when I’ve hated a shot until I’ve zoomed right in or hacked a big chunk of the photo off and made another part of the shot the focal point. This one was just a small section of a photo I took of the London Eye. I decided to make Big Ben (number two on the most Instagrammed list) the focal point and it totally changed the image:
- DETAIL – when you’re composing a shot, try focusing right in on a particular part or detail of the subject you’re photographing. It’s a weird angle, but I love the row of statues on this part of Notre Dame (number five on the most Instagrammed list):
- FRAMING – I do love it when things create a natural frame for your subject: think overhanging trees, a church seen through an archway, even just a beautiful landscape through a window. It doesn’t have to be all the way around either – I love how this boardwalk leads the eye to the lovely sunrise:
- TIMING – try to avoid the crowds (now when I’m travelling, I find that I’m more inclined to get up early or arrive late to get great shots before all the people arrive, or when the light is pretty). On the trip I took to Barbados, one of the American participants was Lucy Laucht, a hugely popular Instagrammer. I remember being gobsmacked when she said she’d got up at 5am as someone had told her that locals take their horses into the sea early in the morning. She got the most gorgeous shots.
- LIGHTING – pay attention to light and shade, take notice of shadows. I generally try and get the sun behind me when I’m taking a photo, but then think how delicious that palm tree is when silhouetted against the beautiful sunset.
- RANGE – a photograph can be transformed by looking at it a bit differently. If you’re not loving a shot, maybe widen your range and include something more in the foreground. I love this picture of the Leaning Tower of Pisa (not in the top ten, surprisingly) with the focus just as much on the café. The people milling around make it a bit more interesting. I love the colours too:
- EDIT – don’t be afraid to add a little post-production magic to your shots. My favourite photo apps include VSCO (for lightening and brightening), Facetune (not just for faces – this app is brilliant for blurring backgrounds and disguising blemishes), Afterlight (great for adding light flares) and Snapseed (perfect for fine work and adding awesome filters). A good example here was our last trip to Walt Disney World, where there was a crane up against Cinderella Castle. I still got the shots, but then just edited the crane out afterwards
- PEOPLE – if you’re photographing a landmark, play about with your shots by photographing passers by (not in their face, obviously), or your travelling companions. A beautiful picture can be enhanced dramatically with the addition of someone or something (like a cat or dog!) interesting in shot. I love how the flock of birds enhances this sunrise picture (top).
- ORGANISE – consider how you will keep your photos safe after your travels for example a photo book or album will ensure your photos are organised into each trip and won’t get ruined or deleted from your phone.
What about you? How many of the top ten have you managed to visit so far?