Better Travel Photos Made Easy
Go for the great shots you can hang on the wall or use in a dramatic slideshow of your trip
Finding The Light
A key to great photography is finding your subject in the right light. Although we can't all photograph like National Geographic pros who have the time to wait days for good light, there are some tips we can use on any trip to improve our travel images.
•Be ready when good light happens. In most locations, best light occurs when the sun is low, either early or late in the day. This is the time to have the camera ready, no matter what else is going on in your trip.
•Be patient when light is bad. If the skies are gray and everyone at the location says this never happens at this time of year, trust them and don't leave the location because this is when the weather frequently will break. I have some Machu Picchu, Peru, photos with few people in them, even though this is a hugely popular tourist destination. Why? The weather was rainy and most tourists left. Since this was a time of year when "it never rains," I suspected it wouldn't last. I waited and got the shots.
•Use fill-flash. Most digital cameras make it easy to add a little light to a dull scene with flash, and with the LCD review, you instantly can see if your flash is balancing the conditions properly. The flash will clean up colors and add drama.
•Look for backlight. Backlight is dramatic at any time, gives you silhouette and glowing color possibilities, and adds dimension to a scene. Even on dull days, you often can find a direction to the light. By shooting toward that light, your photos usually will gain more power. When people are in the foreground, use a flash to balance the light.
It's tempting to take every piece of gear—you just might need it, right? Three problems arise: You have to carry it all, a weight that can get oppressive after a few days; all that gear can be distracting from the goal of getting the shot; and more gear means more bags, which can equal big trouble when moving from place to place.
There are some ways to deal efficiently with your gear. Backpack camera bags are a great way of carrying your gear between destinations. A number of bags feature wheels and handles, making them convenient for moving through the airport. Porter Case offers a rolling case that can be used as a cart to wheel all your baggage at once.