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. These tips will help prepare you to make the most of your camera as you explore and as you learn the fine art of travel photography.

1. Shoot for HDR Images
As recently as a year ago, shooting for HDR (high dynamic range) images would not have been on the top of my city shooting list—or even on the list. Recently, however, I’ve dived into HDR big time because it’s so cool and so easy, and because city scenes are perfect for HDR.

This example is one of my favorite HDR shots, created from a series of five pictures: one taken at the recommended exposure setting, one taken under that setting, and three pictures taken at one-stop increments over the recommended settings.

New to HDR? Here are the basics:
Use a tripod; don’t change the aperture; bracket with the shutter speed; use the camera’s self-timer or a cable release; and take pictures at, over and under the recommended setting. Also, always shoot at a low ISO setting and remove chromatic aberrations before creating an HDR image.


2. Shoot Candid Photos and Posed Shots
Basically, we have two choices when taking pictures of people while traveling: posed pictures and candid shots. Me? I like to take both types of pictures. I like to take my time and work on nice travel portraits, and I also like to capture people being themselves.

Usually, I like to shoot when the light is soft and even, as illustrated by these pictures. That usually means shooting in the shade (or asking the subject to move into the shade). It also means shooting on overcast days, before sunrise and after sunset. If the sun is shining brightly, I’ll use a reflector or diffuser. As a last (but sometimes necessary) resort, I’ll use fill-flash to reduce the contrast range. And by the way, I never leave home without these accessories.

My favorite “people photography” lens is my Canon 24-105mm IS zoom lens. For portraits, I prefer the longer zoom settings. For candid photos, I might set it anywhere with the zoom range, depending how large or small I want the subject in the scene. These photographs illustrate the technique of placing the subject off-center. Remember: Dead center is deadly.

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