Saturday, December 19, 2009

10 Tips For Better Travel Photos

Whether you’re headed to the big city nearby or across an ocean, shooting on location is a lot of fun, and full of photographic possibilities.
By Rick Sammon Published in Shooting
10 Tips For Better Travel Photos

8. Watch the Background
When photographing people, the background can make or break the scene. Here’s an example. The background in one photograph is too busy—the horizontal lines are distracting. That was the first photograph I took of this man—at the spot in which he was standing. For the second photograph, I asked the man to move just a few feet to the left, where the background was more pleasing and less distracting.

If the background is distracting and you can’t ask the subject to move, you can use a long telephoto lens set at a wide aperture to blur the background. Another option is to use software like Bokeh, a plug-in from Alien Skin that lets you blur the background beautifully.


9. Tote a Tripod
You’ll not only need a tripod for HDR images, but you’ll need one to steady your camera in low-light situations, which you’ll often encounter in a city. I use a tripod with a ballhead and quick-release bracket, so I quickly and easily can attach and detach my camera from the tripod. I also use a strap on my tripod, so I can tote it over my shoulder to keep my hands free.

10. Have Fun
As those of you who have been on my workshops know, I like to have fun! Sharing the pictures I take with my subjects makes the photo session fun—for me and for the subjects.

So, no matter how much you’re focused on getting a great shot, take the time, maybe before you get your “keeper,” to share your photos on your camera’s LCD monitor with your subjects.

Speaking of the LCD monitor, don’t judge the brightness of the picture by the picture you see on the monitor. Rather, use the histogram and overexposure warning to judge a good exposure.

Rick Sammon is the author of 34 books (at last count) and teaches workshops around the world. Visit with Rick at

Basic On-Location Gear

Here’s a look at some of my digital-photography travel gear. You may not need all this stuff, but I wanted to give you an idea of the gear commitment a serious on-location digital photographer needs to make.
  • Laptop loaded with image-editing program
  • Digital SLR, lenses and flash
  • Battery chargers
  • Memory cards
  • Memory card reader
  • Portable hard drive
Not shown (only prime gear in this photo): other lenses, flash diffuser, polarizing filter, batteries for flash, extra camera batteries, surge-suppressor power strip, tripod and camera bag.

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