Shoot It Now: How to Take Travel Photos

PHOTO by Geribody / Depositphotos
Nine simple tips that will help you capture the best moments of your adventures

Finding new angles, points of view, natural settings and lighting to shoot a beautiful photo sometimes requires maximum concentration. Rambler.Travel will teach you how to take travel photos so you can take pride in framing your results.

Rule of Thirds

This principle of composition, based on a simplified version of the golden section, is called the rule of thirds and enables you to make your photos more vivid. This rule is easy to observe: these days most cameras can put a mesh overlay, built on the rule of thirds, on the frame to help build the composition. The key objects, the “anchors,” should be placed on the points where the lines cross.

It’s believed that if there's only one object in the photo, then it's better to place it on the left-hand side. The horizon should be located along one of the horizontal lines.

Timing

The best photos are taken in the morning or evening light. The first hour after sunrise and the last hour before sunset are considered the “golden hours” among photographers: at this time, the soft diffused light, reduces the contrast, as well as adding texture and volume to photos. The very best times for shooting are 15 minutes after sunrise and 15 minutes before sunset. In southern countries, noon is the worst possible time for photography because of the sharp light.

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Through the Glass

To get rid of glare when shooting through a window or porthole, wrap the lens in a dark jacket or sweater and keep it very close to the glass.

Shooting Sights

In order to take a good architectural photo, it is important to choose the right position. If you want to enhance the beauty and the rhythm of the facade of the building, you can take the shot front-on. Ideally, the natural light should illuminate the facade on both the front and sides. However, to put the building into an urban environment, it is important to shoot the building “from the corner,” therefore emphasising its location and surroundings. In this case, the sunlight ought to be hitting the building's front and side.

To avoid the “falling walls” effect, you can try shooting the building from a distance. In this situation, it is best to use long-focus optics (200-300 millimetres). If you don't have any more room to move away from the building, if it's in a narrow street for example, shoot it so as to be able to equalise the “falling walls” using a graphics editor.

The best time for architectural photography is the morning and the evening, when the sun is low and the shadows are at their most expressive. At dusk, the light make images yellowish. You can avoid this effect by adjusting the white balance, which you can do on any modern camera.

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Shooting in a Museum

You should not use the flash in museums: paintings and other works of art on display may suffer from exposure to bright, direct light.

At the same time, natural light often enters the museum halls through narrow doorways and small windows. These small paths of light may help you get full-bodied images.

Shooting Underwater

If you want to shoot underwater, choose light land cameras with interchangeable lenses and inexpensive waterproof boxes. You can also buy an amphibious camera which can shoot both on land and underwater, however these cameras have a relatively short lifespan. Plus they are not designed for great depths, and their boxes are quite bulky and heavy.

At the same time, you don't have to go scuba diving in order to shoot underwater. You can find a lot of interesting stories on the water's surface, too. Getty images are often shot at the “air-water” line.

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Shooting Food

If you cannot help taking photos, even during lunch or dinner, remember that it is best to shoot your meal near the window. If you notice dark shadows, then put any bright object on the shady side. The tablecloth or even a plain sheet of white paper will do.

Shooting Animals

Photos of animals taken at the zoo or at the circus often suffer from the “green eyes effect.” This is the reflection from the retina of the animal’s eye, which appears if you shoot with a flash. The only way to avoid it to shoot using natural light.

Shooting People

People may feel uncomfortable having the lens directed at them. So you should photograph them whilst blending in with their surroundings as much as possible. Shooting through glass, shooting people’s reflection in a mirror (especially, in irregular shaped mirrors, which are darkened at the edges) or shooting them through doorways, will give you the chance to go unnoticed.