How to Become a Better Travel Photographer in One Week



This article was originally published on SPI Study Abroad


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Whether you’re preparing for a high school exchange program in France or packing your bags for a summer language immersion program in Spain, your upcoming trip of a lifetime deserves to be preserved! Brushing up on your photography skills is a must – how else will you get those killer shots to post on social media? Follow these simple yet helpful photography tips, and you’ll be well on your way to snapping incredible photos of your time abroad – in just one week!

Day 1: Spend time getting to know your equipment

Though this tip comes on Day 1, it’s probably best to do before you even leave. You don’t want to spend precious travel time trying to figure out how to use a certain kind of lens. Familiarize yourself with your equipment before leaving on your trip.

Day 2: Step into the light…the “golden” light, that is

Learning how to effectively make use of natural light is one of the best first steps a novice photographer can take. Just remember: the optimal time for light is either one hour after sunrise or one hour before sunset (depending on where you are on the globe). Using natural light instead of an artificial flash will help to give your photos a rich depth.

Day 3: Move your body

If you think about it, most photographs are normally taken from a standing position. So, why not try taking a picture from a different angle? Lie down on your stomach or go to higher ground for a bird’s-eye view. Lean in towards a subject or try and find an overlook where you can take in a broader space. Looking at something in a unique way brings a higher level of interest to the picture.

Day 4: Get off the beaten path

If you’re exploring a brand-new city, you’ll undoubtedly want to hit the main tourist attractions and centers. And while those places make beautiful, memorable photographs, true depictions of life abroad will most likely be found in the quieter, less-frequented locations you explore. Find subjects for your pictures that reflect authentic life in the area you visit. Capture the moments and images that really sum up your unique experience in that country.

Day 5: Research some general rules on composition

Before leaving for your trip, do a quick Google search on “The Rule of Thirds” and “Four Corner Composition.” Both strategies deal with the placement of a subject within the frame of a camera. Knowing one or two basic photography tactics will greatly improve the composition – and quality – of your photos.

Day 6: Become a true observer of your new surroundings

In order to take better photos, it’s important to become an excellent observer of the world around you: so, make sure you take the time to really view your surroundings outside of your camera lens. Soak in the sights, sounds, tastes, and smells of the goings on of your new city or country – this will alert your senses to those quiet, special moments that are really worth capturing.

Day 7: Practice makes perfect

Our final tip to becoming a better travel photographer is simple: keep taking pictures! Living in the digital photography age means that you have the luxury to delete pictures that don’t meet your expectations. Take time to look over those pictures, think about how you could have improved upon the shot, and then keep on clicking!

Visual images truly enhance any travel experience and help to tell stories that, sometimes, cannot be put into words. Bring out the best in your photos by following these tips, and you’ll return home with amazing memories to share with your family and friends!

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