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Whether you’re wielding your camera phone, a Canon Powershot or a DSLR, Eddie Hobson from Capture The World has some basic tips and tricks to help you take better travel photos.
Rule of Thirds
The Rule of Thirds is one of the simplest principles of photography and an easy way to make your photos better. All you have to do is imagine there is a noughts and crosses board (tic tac toe) on your image – two horizontal lines and two vertical that divide your image into nine squares.
The idea behind the Rule of Thirds is that the main subject of the photo is placed on one of the intersections of the lines or along the lines. Studies have shown that peoples’ eyes naturally move to the intersection points of an image, rather than the centre. Using the rule of thirds leverages this behaviour and therefore balances and improves the photo.
Most cameras have a 3×3 grid option available in the camera settings (including Instagram!) Turn it on and experiment with placing your subjects in the intersection points of your noughts and crosses board.
You have to envy children sometimes. They are constantly looking up at everything and seeing the world in the most amazing way.
An easy way to make your images more dynamic is to simply get a shot from down low. Not only will it make your photos more dramatic but it will also add depth and create a more captivating image.
‘Leading lines’ is another basic principle of photography that uses the landscape to guide the viewer’s eyes to whatever the photographer wants the viewer to focus on. This can be as simple as a road, a park bench, a bridge or a railing.
Light and exposure
Have you ever taken a photo and your subject is in complete darkness but the background is looking amazing? This is because the exposures of your background and your subject don’t match.
Next time you’re taking a photo, ask yourself, “What’s the lighting on my subject and what’s the lighting on the background?”
If your background is in shadow, find some shade for your subject. If your background is in direct sunlight, have your subject step into the sunlight!
If you don’t want your subject to be staring directly into the sun, this is when it’s time to use the flash on your camera. People often think the flash is only good for night time and when you’re taking photos inside, but it’s actually perfect for when you are outdoors and in the shade.
Get a tripod (a good tripod)
Tripods are great and perfect for people with DSLR, mirrorless cameras and ‘point and shoots’, but they’re even useful for the smart phone photographer. They are perfect for taking night time shots, long exposure shots, epic selfies, and if you’re like me, sequences of timelapse photos.
The key to tripods is to invest in quality. You’ve just spent all this money on a camera so why skimp on the tripod? I use a light, small, and hellishly strong tripod called the Sirui T-1005X. It has been opened and closed thousands of times and visited over 20 countries. It still works better than ever and it cost me $150.
Too often you will take a photo of a beautiful landscape and it just looks small and flat. I’ve done it before, and it’s frustrating as the extraordinary grandeur of the scene is lost.
An easy way to fix this is to look for something in the foreground – rocks, trees, or even a person. It will add a sense of depth that the shot might be missing.
Stop. Breath. And shoot.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people walking and taking photos at the same time. They see something nice, raise the camera up, and click without considering composition or exposure.
Stop for a moment, appreciate what you are looking at, take a deep breath, and raise the camera. Find the perfect angle. The perfect framing. Then take the photo.
This one is my own little photographic tip, and it couldn’t be simpler! Always look for new and exciting angles, and always remember to look up.
Break the rules
It’s good to know about the Rule of Thirds, leading lines, exposure, and shutter speeds. But at the end of the day, these are your memories captured in time. Decide on your own angle, your own framing, and how you want to remember the moment.