Take Better Pictures of Your Travels

The past few years, I’ve had the opportunity to travel a bit, both for work and more so for pleasure.  Being a professional photographer (and traveling with other photographers), I’ve captured some pretty awesome pictures at every stop I’ve made.  From the Eiffel Tower in Paris, to the beautiful beaches in Maui, and the wonder that is Machu Picchu, I’ve had my camera in hand.  One common factor in all of my travel pictures is that absolutely NONE of them have been captured on my camera phone.  Reason being, no matter what kind of smart phone you have, the camera on your phone is absolutely inferior to a real camera, even the point and shoot variety. With that said, here are a few tips on capturing amazing images of your travels, especially on your honeymoon!

  1. Buy a camera – Now, not everyone is a professional photographer, so I don’t expect you spend thousands of dollars on a DSLR, however, if resources are available, I would highly recommend purchasing a “prosumer” camera like a Canon Rebel.  You don’t have to know the difference between aperture, shutter speed, or ISO, you can just put it on auto mode and snap away.  If purchasing a prosumer camera isn’t within your means, purchase a simple point and shoot camera, like a PowerShot.  The picture quality will not be as good as the Rebel, but it will still be leaps and bounds better than your phone.
  2. Get a tripod – In my travels, I have found that when you ask a stranger to take a picture of you, even if you give them specifics as to how you want it framed, they rarely if ever get it right.  So, the simple solution to this issue is to bring a tripod along with you.  You may think that carrying a tripod with you everywhere you go may be inconvenient, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.  There are plenty of tripods on the market that when folded are no longer than 10 inches and weigh a couple pounds.  That’s perfect for most backpacks and even some larger purses.  Another option would be to purchase a Gorrila Pod.  These things are awesome!  They’re small and super versatile.  Just take it out, attach your camera to it, set your timer, and voila!
  3. The Golden Hour – The hour to hour and half before sunset is known as the “golden hour” in the photography world.  The best lighting for pictures happens during this hour.  I know that when you’re traveling you’re going to be snapping away at all hours of the day, but just remember to spend a little extra time capturing pictures during this time.  This is the main reason I schedule most of my wedding portraits during the golden hour, so take advantage of it as well in your travels!
  4. Be mindful of the sun – While the golden hour provides awesome light almost everywhere, other times of the day, especially midday, provide the absolute WORST lighting for pictures.  During these times, try to put the sun behind or to the side of you in your frame.  You don’t want to be looking directly into the sun in your pictures and be squinting in every one of them.  Also, if possible, find open shade next to buildings and under trees.  This will minimize harsh shadows that tend to ruin otherwise awesome pictures.
  5. Take some solo shots –  When I travel with my girlfriend, I would say that the majority of the pictures taken are of us two, however, we still make time to capture a few solo shots as well.  It’s awesome to have great pictures of you and your partner during your travels, but it’s also cool to have some solo shots of your adventures too!  So, from time to time, just tell your partner to take a picture of you and then return the favor.  You’ll both be happy you did!

To summarize, put your camera phone down, get a real one!  Buy a tripod, avoid harsh sunlight, and take a few solo shots.  If you follow these tips, the likelihood of getting great images of your travels is pretty good.  Snap away and have fun!

Happy and safe travels, everyone!


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