Tips for Better Travel Photography – Popular Photography | Ad On Picture

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Charles Harris Rwanda

According to Charles Harris, the secret to good travel photography is simplicity – the fewer elements in your frame, the better. “For this image, shot in the tea fields of central Rwanda, I waited for groups of workers to reduce to a few colorfully dressed women, and then I took my shot,” he says.

In the course of interviewing more than two dozen professional travel photographers, we got some advice. Here are the best tips for the trip – and photos – of a lifetime.

conduct your research

– Learn as much as possible. Start with the tourism website of the destination you are going to visit.

– Read this lonely planet Guidebook for your destination, and then try to avoid recommended must-see spots. You will swim with tourists.

— Browse Flickr.com to see what other photographers are shooting at your destination.

— Despite the previous three tips, your best research will happen when you hit the ground at your destination. Whatever you learn before the trip is secondary to the sources you find there.

Go there and stay

— Visit at the right time and find out what “the right time” is by talking to locals.

— Couchsurfing.org and SERVAS International (joomla.servas.org) are homestay and hospitality exchange services that can help you find free accommodation around the world.

— When booking rooms in sensitive locations, ask if the hotel has a secure place to store equipment.

— Look for hotels that are centrally located, close to potential topics, offer views from your room, and have a rooftop terrace. If you’re staying for several days, try changing rooms — even hotels — every night for a better view.

— To remember battery chargers or laptop cables, keep them next to your car keys, wallet or purse—never on the floor.

What gear to pack

— Most of the photographers we interviewed travel with surprisingly similar kits: a full-frame DSLR, an f/2.8 ultrawide zoom lens, an image-stabilized 70-200mm f/2.8 zoom, a 2 -x teleconverter, a lightweight carbon fiber tripod, an electronic cable release, and a portable storage device for backing up image files.

— Try to bring a spare camera body, preferably one that is identical to your main body. Working with different button configurations is confusing and inefficient at best, and disastrous at worst. In many other countries, cameras are significantly more expensive and often outdated compared to what you get in the US. Getting a camera body to you overnight can incur hundreds of dollars in local customs fees.

— With a camera poncho like the Aqua Tech SS-Sport Rain Cover, you can still shoot in wet weather.

— Bring lenses that match your subjects. If you mainly visit cities, wide angle is more useful than telephoto.

— Folding reflectors are better than flash units. They are battery independent, fold flat and produce a softer, more flattering light. They also show their effects in real time and can be slowly adjusted for nuanced changes in direction and intensity. Of course, someone else generally has to hold the reflector, but the help of a nearby local can often pay off in unexpected ways.

— Use many smaller memory cards (2 GB) instead of fewer large memory cards. So if you lose one or it gets damaged, you haven’t lost too many pictures.

— Bring a compact digital camera if a larger camera is not practical. A Canon PowerShot G11 or Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH1, for example, can be invaluable in situations where shutter noise is inappropriate. Waterproof compact cameras like the Pentax Optio WS80 are perfect when the weather isn’t cooperating.

— A small digital voice recorder like the Olympus WS-400S can help record ambient noise, interviews and notes or reminders for yourself.

— In remote locations where your subjects may never have seen a photo of themselves, a pocket-sized, battery-powered printer like the Polaroid PoGo can build trust, inspire collaboration, and open doors.

— You can get through the lunch break with energy bars and mineral water. Why waste time eating?

****Gallery: The Best Places to Take Pictures Around the World****

shooting strategies

— Don’t stop shooting just because it’s wet outside. The time just before and after the rain can produce amazing light and more saturated colors.

— Try to plan your daily and shooting schedule based on the position of your subjects relative to the arc of the sun.

— Get up early to take photos while the sun is rising. Use the lunchtime for a nap or location scouting. Start shooting again in mid to late afternoon.

— Return to the best locations multiple times to capture them in different lights and weather.

– No rush. Better to capture a few spots well than many spots superficially.

— Stay patient and focused. Travel can be distracting and overwhelming. Creating a “mood board” can keep you on track: cut out some inspirational photos or images of artwork and paste them onto a piece of paper. Store it folded in your pocket or purse. If you’re feeling lost or drifting, pull it out to regain focus and the sense of mission.

Regarding themes

— Learn a bit of the language spoken in the places you visit. The more obscure the language, the more you will be rewarded for your efforts in memorizing words and phrases.

— An effective and affordable way to learn a language is through an exchange (www.mylanguageexchange.com): you teach others your native language while they teach you theirs.

— The main trick to taking better photos is to connect with people in your destination and use them as resources. If you don’t have human contact there, you might get a great landscape or architectural photo, but you’ll rarely feel like you’ve captured the soul of a place.

— With politeness and good manners, you can get better pictures of people than with the high-tech cameras and lenses.

travel security

— Get a web-based (not server-based) email account. Attach scans of all your important documents (passport, credit cards, driver’s license, hotel and flight reservation numbers, etc.) to an email and send them to yourself.

— Before traveling abroad, visit the US State Department’s website and check travel advisories.

— Women in particular should consider carrying their gear in a large hobo-style leather bag rather than a traditional camera bag. It can attract less thieves.

— Get travel insurance like Global Rescue.

****Gallery: The Best Places to Take Pictures Around the World****

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