Travel Photography: Our Tips For Making The Most Of Your Moments

Could you even imagine coming back from anywhere, even a quick day trip to have zero, I mean nada not a one photo to show for it? With cameras at our fingertips- thank you cell phones- the likelihood of this happening is almost zilch.

What’s worse than no pictures you ask? Well, how about going on an epic trip and getting all the way home only to realize that what you thought were going to be National Geographic worthy shots are blurry, fuzzy, and look more like they were taken by a 5 year old who’d been fed too much sugar. Laugh, it happens… I speak from experience.

brightmountainThis Shot Is From The Rocky Mountains NOT Grandfather Mountain There’s A Lesson And A Reason For That….

About a year ago we took a trip down the Georgia Coast to Cumberland Island National Seashore, an absolutely magical place. But you won’t see a single photo from it on our site. Why? Experience, and lesson learned. The lens I was using was too slow for the new camera I had it mounted to. All my shots looked wonderful on the camera’s LCD but there was no fixing the hardcore pixelation taking place on these shots.  Talk about a bummer. The good news of it all was that we didn’t spend thousands of dollars on this trip so the kick wasn’t as terrible as it could have been but still, it sucks.

We’re all about sharing our failures so that you guys don’t have to repeat them. Over the years we’ve learned a lot about making our moments into memories. Here’s a couple quick tips from all we’ve learned.

You Don’t Need  Professional Camera Equipment

You really don’t I promise. It helps, sure it helps but more importantly than an incredible camera is a person with a good eye.  You can spend thousands and thousands of dollars on cameras, but if you can’t master the basic don’t chop of grandma’s head maneuver well than, you should probably seek a refund.

If you’re not really feeling your skills, a few easy trick to getting better is to take a peek around at travel photos you like. Other than location, figure out what it is you like about them. Is it the composition? Is it the lighting? Figure it out and then try it out. Keep try and studying until you get the results you want. You’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll improve!

Feeling like you’re good to go? Check out our favorite camera gadgets & gear, for a full list of our favorite camera gear including my beloved Canon 70D!

Get Personal

For a long, long time we took photos of all the places we’d been and the things we’d seen and out of it we got a lot of beautiful shots, that made outstanding wall art. But the more I looked at our photos I started to realize they were missing one very important element, us.

JONBW2contrasted

Travel photography should achieve one basic goal above all the rest- tell the story of your adventure. If your not in it, than that’s just not possible. Put people in your photos, that means yourself, your travel buddies, and the locals. Faces, and profiles are all a part of the bigger tale, and will bring a ton of dimension to your story telling.

Don’t Miss Out On The Details

Sweeping landscape shots are awesome. Sweeping landscape shots with billowing dramatic clouds are even more awesome. We jokingly call instances like these cloud porn, cloud porn makes good photos better! The difference is in the details, and not just when it comes to the sky.

Take pictures of everything, that means go for it! Get those big wide angle set the scene shots, but don’t ignore the tiny bits and pieces that make up the whole. Waterfalls are stunning. Moss growing along the rocks with tiny water droplets on this are part of what makes waterfalls stunning, see what we did there! Zoom in on that moss, on those rocks, on the water drops, get it all. Get close and focus on those details!

image

Edit Your Photos

Edit your photos. Edit your photos. Edit your photos. There I said it three times, so now you know. Good editing can make the difference between a pretty shot, and an awe inspiring one. I don’t want to give away any secrets here, but I do. There have been many times where I’ve looked at a shot pre- edit and thought, “yeah thats nice” and then edited and thought” whaaaaat, that’s perfect”!

foggysunsetJust The Right Editing Tweaks Makes the Colors Dance!

With tons and tons and tons of editing software available out there, you don’t have to be a pro to make your photos pop. There are tons of options to chose from- personally we’re huge fans of Adobe Creative Cloud (includes Photo Shop & Lightroom) for anything super technical and Snapseed for  quick basic fixes on the go.

Break The Rules

 

So you get back from a trip, browse over your photos and think, “eh”. If you’re anything like me you probably immediately go and reference trusty old reliable Mr. Google to give you some fast facts on how to improve your shots. Chances are you’re going to get a lot of info about the best time of day to shoot, what aperture, fstop, etcetera, etcetera,etcetera, and about maybe 10 percent of all you read is actually going to make sense to you .

ARCHESShooting In The Harsh  Mid-Day  Light Of The Desert Isn’t Highly Recommended But It Worked For Us Here…

Now don’t get me wrong, there are some very helpful hints out there, and I do think that if you invest in a fancy camera it’s good to be confident in all its functions BUT when it comes to any art particularly photography, rules should be broken. Break the mold and see what works best for you! Which brings us to the next point…

Experiment, Often

These are your travel photos after all, find what works for you and roll with it. Don’t be afraid to mix things up, try new angles, play with light, compositions, anything you think will add to your shot.

HazydaysShooting Into The Fog Was A Chance Worth Taking!

A quick note from someone who learned the hard way. On any trip, before you start experimenting too much, make sure you get a standard shot or two off as well. You want to be sure you’ll have something to take home with you just in case your experiment doesn’t quite work out the way you wanted it to!

Know When To Put The Camera Down

“Sometimes I don’t. If I like a moment, for me, personally, I don’t like to have the distraction of the camera. I just want to stay in it.”  ~ Sean O’Connell, The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty

There is something to be said for living in the moment and being present. As many photos as I take to me it is as important to know when to put down the camera as it is to know when to pick it up.

A lot  is happening in those moments that you’re staring down the lens, what are you missing out on? The small smile slowly spreading across your partners lips at the sight of something new? The look of awe and wonder in your child’s eyes? Perhaps the approach of a hungry tiger about to make you his lunch? The point is we gain so much through imagery but it comes at a cost. It’s as important to know when to put down the camera as it is to know when to pick it up.

What tips do you have for us? We love growing and learning from this wonderful wonderful community! Drop us a comment, and share your thoughts!

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