1. Be prepared
The beauty of the smartphone camera is you can take it anywhere and everywhere without having to worry about it taking up room. Have it in a nice easy to access place and be at the ready, as the unexpected shots are sometimes the best – you’ll never know when exactly that thick snow will come tumbling down up on the alps or when that magnificently large whale shark is going to make an appearance.
2. Rise early
The early morning fresh start to the day is often the least documented – after all, doesn’t everyone love their sleep? You can often catch beautifully rare moments, such as fresh dew hanging off the edge of a flower, or a tourist hotspot that is hauntingly deserted. As well as the early morning activity (or lack of it!) morning light can be perfect for taking photos. So set your alarm and try not to hit that snooze button!
3. Be patient
Although you can get lucky with impromptu snaps, sometimes an incredible moment can be worth waiting for. Whether it’s a luminously-glowing sunrise perfectly aligned with a stunning stretch of beach, or a wild animal gazing straight into the lens, be patient and you might just get that once-in-a-lifetime photo.
Some of the best photos ever taken haven’t just presented themselves to the photographer – that would be far too easy! Sometimes a lot of patience and some careful planning needs to take place. A good photographer can sense that there is potential for a great shot in a situation and will wait minutes or even hours for that shot to happen. Some photographers have even been known to plan months in advance for a shot taken at a particular time of year – now that’s dedication!
4. Just ask
Rejection is never nice, but a stranger saying no to a photo isn’t the end of the world. Having the confidence to ask someone to take their photo is an important skill in travel photography, but don’t fret too much as it does take practice. Often you need to be close to your subjects at times to get a great shot and to pick up those tiny details, especially when you don’t have a zoom. Photos of people living, breathing, eating and working in their own countries can make a raw and meaningful travel shot, as it’s representative of the Country and its culture. So don’t be shy and remember that some people actually really appreciate being involved!
5. Seek the action
When travelling, local events and festivals are an ideal location to practice shooting. Not only are these types of events bursting with vibrant colours and lively movements, you also don’t have to feel self-conscious taking photos, as everyone and their mother’s at it!
Whether it be the wonderfully extravagant carnival in Rio or a bustling food market in France, there are plenty of places out there that are humming with activity, colour and movement. Festivals and carnivals are perfect events to practice portrait photography without feeling self-conscious about upsetting anyone, especially if you’re just starting out.
6. The infamous selfie
Not a day goes by without us hearing this new-fangled word, and it’s often associated with vanity and self-indulgence. However why not try taking a more artistic and thought-provoking approach than the usual ‘pout-in-the-mirrors’ we’ve all become slightly bored of seeing. Take one in an unusually beautiful spot, like in the reflection of a secluded crystal clear lake, for something more unique than the usual travel selfie, à la ‘under the Eiffel tower’.
Understanding lighting is crucial to any great photo as a stunning shot can so easily be ruined in the wrong light. But don’t worry, as trial and error will help you understand how to get the best from both natural and non-natural light. For portrait photography, try using natural light to gently illuminate the face of your subject. Incorporate local objects to do so, such as allowing natural light to flood through an old crumbling door opening up from a cobbled street or through an intrinsically-detailed French patio window.
8. Finer details
Whilst some photos are best taken from afar, such as a city landscape, it’s not always best to be a distant observer. Get up close or zoom in to pick up those tiny delicious details that you wouldn’t otherwise notice, such as the coarse marks on a roughened pebble, or the laugher lines on a local’s beaming face.
9. Use add on apps and accessories
From the more standard post production apps to clip on lenses, there are plenty of accessories to help your travel photos really stand out. Although Instagram and other phone apps offer many great filters to give your photo some atmosphere, don’t feel limited to just using them. To get some really unique shots, why not buy a waterproof case for your phone and shoot inside the barrel of a frothing wave, or a snap of yourself swimming amongst a school of vibrantly coloured fish.
When you’re on holiday or travelling it’s easy to document your trip as a bigger piece of work for your viewers by using the collaging apps to arrange your photos together. Illustrate your story of a day out cruising the sea, from a snap of the tumbling waves crashing into the side of the boat, to a shot of the beautifully-prepared seafood lunch.
For more travel photography and inspiration, follow dealchecker on Instagram here.