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How To Take Great Travel Photos

Chronicling your vacation is important; you’ll want to have something to remember it by, after all, and photos are so much more interesting and entertaining than most souvenirs. The best t-shirt, mug or key chain can’t hope to compete with a well taken photograph. How do you take great travel photos, though? What sorts of things make up a great photo? Learning what to look for before clicking the button on your camera can help you generate some phenomenal photos, and will make looking back on your vacation that much more entertaining. Below, we discuss a few great tips for taking standout travel photos.

Use Creative Poses

An otherwise exciting picture – i.e., the Leaning Tower of Pisa or the Colosseum – can be ruined by a boring, disinterested pose. Although you’ll want to snap a few pics of the landmark by itself, including a travel companion in at least a few shots is mandatory. Rather than have him or her stand there looking bored, try to come up with a clever, funny angle for a pose. With the Leaning Tower, of course, you can have the person pose as if they are supporting it. In other words, have them interact with the subject in some way to bring your photo to life.

Take Candid Shots

If every single picture you take of another person is posed, then you’re not taking the best photographs you can. Candid shots – photos where the subject is unaware that they’re being photographed – can add a bit more interest to your picture collection. When you and your group is wandering around exploring a site, try to snap pictures of the others at random to catch them at their most natural. The results are usually quite entertaining, and allow you to look back and truly remember how it was the day you saw that world famous attraction.

Look For Offbeat Things To Photograph

You’ll obviously want to take as many pictures as possible of well known sights and landmarks, but to truly capture the essence of a culture or a region you’ll want to include a few photos of offbeat things, too. A funny sign, for example, or a local resident dressed in something unusual can make your pictures more visually appealing. Try to take pictures of local people going about their everyday business, too – this can be as offbeat as anything else, and equally amusing.

Try To Find A Pattern

Patterns are everywhere, and using them to form the basis of a photo is a wonderful way to generate some exceptional travel photos. Taking a picture of a door within a door within a door, for instance, is a clever way to create an intriguing picture. Mother Nature has many patterns to it as well, so try to find patterns in the surrounding countryside to form the focus of a picture or two. Queues of people can form very interesting patterns, and since you’ll probably see a lot of people lined up during your trip, use them to create a neat photo.

Don’t Focus On Centering Things

Our natural inclination is to put the object of any photo we take at the center of the frame. In reality, though, it’s much more interesting to place the object of the photo we’re taking at a 1/3 ratio, with the rest of the photo taking up 2/3 of the frame. In other words, an off-center picture is more visually appealing than one that places the subject smack dab in the center. Besides, taking an off-center photo allows the viewer to catch a glimpse of other things that otherwise might have been missed entirely.

Be Conscious Of Light

Many perfectly good travel photos are ruined because the photographer paid scant attention to the light in the picture. Indeed, a lovely landscape shot can be completely obscured by a too-bright sky; similarly, people can be unintentionally silhouetted and rendered unrecognizable by a carelessly taken photo. Before snapping the picture, pay attention to the lighting going on and how it interacts with the subject and background of your photo. This way, you’ll avoid taking a lot of pointless photos. Better yet, learn how to use natural lighting to your advantage.


Derek Rogers is a freelance writer who represents a number of UK businesses. For more information on travel photo sharing, he recommends Gawwk.com.
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