Firstly, I would like to say thanks to my friend Ben Ashmole for writing this great guide! He is the man behind Ashmole Photography and was also part of the inspiration which got Dan taking photos for OurOyster. But really, don’t listen to me… read this guide, check out his amazing photos, and then head over to his site to see more.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ben Ashmole is a freelance fine art travel, adventure and landscape photographer currently based in Brisbane, Australia. He also has www.ashmolephotography.com, his blog and portfolio site where he shares a new photo from around the world daily, as well as photography tips and tutorials.
5 Simple tips for getting more interesting travel photos
1 – Step away from auto mode – If you want a little more creative control to take cool photos, the first step is to not shoot on auto mode. Don’t get me wrong, auto mode is great for snapshots but if you want really interesting and different photos to anyone else, then you need to play with a couple of settings. It’s easier than you think!
I recommend changing to Aperture priority mode (A) on your mode dial. The aperture controls your depth of field, or how blurry or sharp the background is. The smaller the aperture number, or F stop (e.g. F/8) is, the blurrier the background will be behind what you focus on. All you need to do is set that number and your clever camera will change everything else for you! So for example, if you want to take a picture of someone and have a cool background blur, then set the number as low as possible (F/5.6 or lower). If you want a landscape to be all in sharp focus then set the number higher (between F/8 and F/11 is perfect). Have an experiment and you will soon get used to it. If it all goes wrong then you can always go back to auto and try again later!
2 – Try more than one angle or perspective – usually the difference between a boring snapshot and a great photograph is spending 20 seconds extra trying a different angle to everyone else. Try getting low to the ground or higher, closer or further away. Try different apertures as explained above and different angles. Even try different times of the day if you can. Everyone visits tourist attractions during the middle of the day but what is it like early in the morning just after sunrise?
3 – Face the opposite way to the sun – It’s very difficult to take a good photo when you are directly facing the sun unless you really know what you are doing. If the sun is behind your subject, then you will probably get a photo where your subject is really dark and covered in shadow. Either that or your subject looks fine, but everything else around is just bright white! This is especially annoying when taking pictures of people. As a rule of thumb, try and capture your subject with the sun behind you. That way, everything will be nicely lit and your camera won’t have a problem giving you a great shot.
4 – Use the rule of thirds – don’t worry it’s nothing scientific. The rule of thirds is just a way to frame your subject in an interesting way. Basically, try and make your subject take up either corner of your photo one third away from the edge rather than just placing it in the middle. Also, if you are photographing anything with the sky involved, place the horizon one third from the top or bottom rather than down the middle. This really, really works most of the time. It’s easier to explain with the examples below.
5 – Try and take candid, rather than posed for photos of people – If you really want interesting travel photos of local people then I find candid shots work better than posed for ones. If someone allows you to take their picture then try and get them to ignore the camera and carry on with what they were doing. It also helps to include their surroundings in the shot for more perspective. You should still always ask someone if you can take their picture and never photograph someone who tells you not to.
So there you have it. Give it a go and see if you get more of the photos that you want from your camera. The key is to experiment and most of all enjoy it. Your photography will be better for it!