1) Research your destination
Before you set off to take a photograph, you should research the place you’re going. Take inspiration from other people’s travel photography and think about where the sun will be at particular times of day.
2) Avoid camera shake
Camera shake is a common problem and it can’t always be detected by checking the small viewing screen of a digital camera. To avoid it, use a monopod or adopt a steady stance, preferably with your arms supported. Having a higher shutter speed than the equivalent focal length of the lens will help to reduce camera shake.
Use the lowest ISO setting you can and try to avoid using the auto ISO setting. It’s also a good idea to turn off the auto white balance, which sometimes removes atmospheric colours like pink/orange glows in sunsets. Generally, it’s best to avoid the flash completely as it obscures backgrounds. In dark situations, raise the ISO and reduce the flash power.
The aperture controls how much light enters the lens and affects what’s in focus. A smaller aperture focuses on more objects, while a wide one picks out one particular object. Both are capable of producing impressive photographs. It just depends on the effect you’re after.
5) Shutter speed
Faster shutter speeds are best for action shots. With a slow shutter speed, you can pick out still objects in sharp focus while moving ones in the background appear blurry. This is an effective method of conveying movement. With a slow shutter speed, you can also pan with the movement of objects, which makes the background streaky instead.
Wide-angle lenses include more in the picture, while telephoto lenses are for specific details. To emphasise something close but still include the background, a wide-angle lens is best. Very extreme wide-angle lenses are called fisheye lenses and create a curved effect. Telephoto lenses should be used when you can’t get close to a subject. They compress things and make them seem closer together.
7) Use of light
Light can be used to enhance an image. A photographer should focus on the way light falls on the subject, and not just on the subject itself. The position of the sun in relation to you can change a picture dramatically. If there’s an interesting shape in the foreground, taking a picture towards the sun can produce a sharp silhouette. Side lighting reveals texture, and shooting towards the light when part of a building is obscuring the actual light source can produce long shadows for a dramatic photo.
8 ) Experiment with viewpoints
Don’t always take the obvious shots. Shoot around the subject. Take the same photograph in portrait and landscape, especially if you sell images to stock libraries. Remember that you can crop images later too. Some landscapes look best as wide panoramas, but you shouldn’t end up cropping both the width and the height from the photo.
High viewpoints can give a different perspective, while low ones usually create more drama (for children and animals, you don’t always want a background of pavement!). To capture buildings, stand far enough back to get the whole of it in without tilting the camera. Tilting means that the lines of the building’s edge move closer together towards the top of the building. This can be done on purpose to exaggerate perspective.
9) Rule of thirds
Create more interesting compositions by imagining a nine-segment grid. Important elements should be on those lines and not in the middle. A horizon should not be in the centre, for example. The exception is when you are purposefully trying to create symmetry in a shot.
10) Shoot raw
Shooting raw produces more detailed, higher-quality images, and effects can always be added later using computer software.
And a few extra considerations:
- Have something or someone in the foreground to create a sense of depth or magnitude
- Shoot through natural frames
- Look for leading lines that lead the viewer to an object of interest
- Search for interesting patterns/bright colours and make them the subject of the photo
- Photograph reflections or focus on the reflection only
- Don’t avoid bad weather; it creates atmosphere
- Keep your camera round your neck to snap candid images of people; these shots are more natural