Based on the questions I’m asked about pictures I’ve taken, I think there are a lot of misconceptions about what you need (and don’t need) to create beautiful images. Today I’m sharing my top five tips to take better pictures when documenting your next trip!
1. You DON’T need fancy equipment.
It’s more about how creatively you use what you have than it is about how expensive your lens or camera is. Those things definitely make a difference, but for travel pictures, it’s way more important that you just have something you’ll actually carry around with you and use.
2. Shoot what you see.
I think the most important thing to do is just capture the sights and moments that speak to you. Trust your eye and don’t get caught up in trying to recreate something you’ve seen on Instagram or in a movie. If you see something unique or a landscaping framing your subject perfectly, shoot away! You can learn a lot from reflecting on how your camera captured what you saw. Whatever feedback that image gives you, make adjustments until you get it just right.
3. Learn a little about light.
There is really only one thing to avoid in natural light; full sun. My very favorite time to take photos is right before sunrise. The other is “golden hour” which is basically the hour preceding and/or including sunset. Life and travel doesn’t always happen within those perfect light hours so just keep in mind that shade is your best friend. It’s easy to lighten pictures later, it’s really difficult to lower exposure and still have a crisp photograph after editing. Colors are more vibrant, skin tone is creamier and your creative options are basically endless in evenly lit, natural light. Pop quiz! What should you do if you wake up to a gloomy cloudy day during your vacation? ANSWER: Jump for joy and bring your camera. Cloud cover means bright, evenly lit photos all day. *Party emoji!
4. Edit stylishly.
Editing is where you get to be an artist and let your style show. Make a conscious decision to edit all of your photos with the same style so that they tell a story in a fluid way. Editing is way less about erasing blemishes and much more about telling a story so that the photos make sense together. There isn’t really a right way or a wrong way to do this, just make a decision and try your best to let that style show in every photograph. I suggest downloading the Lightroom app before you leave on your trip!
5. Be wild.
Your photos should convey moments that moved you. The best way to get better pictures is to do more things! One of my favorite pictures of me ever, is from a road trip Kyle and I took when we first moved to Arizona. I was laying in the freezing ice melt water in Sedona, laughing because I totally wiped out trying to look adventurous climbing a rock. Don’t be afraid to go for it and try new things, look silly or pull over for the sunset from the side of the road and just enjoy the moment of “being”. Photographs are simply a way to capture a moment. They’re empty and meaningless without real life to give them a story.