4 Tips on How to Improve Your Travel Photography

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Accessibility to cameras has been a lot easier, thanks to the ubiquity of smartphones.

Each month our cameras are getting better, but the question is how do you take advantage of it?

So in this article, I will discuss on how to improve your photography skills by this simple 4 tips.

1. Rule of Thirds

This is one of the basic techniques in photography. You need to place your subject on the two-thirds of the image while the remaining one-third is showing the empty space, usually the background of your subject. In other words, do not place your subject in the middle of the image.

In this photo, then we divide the image into 9 divisions. The face of the child is occupying two-thirds of the image on the right side. It also has a darker tone compared to the background thus giving the subject the attention from the audience. This creates a dramatic interest in the subject.

Another rule of thirds example. The face of the cat is placed on the left side occupying two-thirds of the image while the remaining one-third is blurred on the background.

2. Perspectives and Composition

Compose your photos by trying different angles to understand what works and what does not work. By moving around, you are seeing different perspectives of a potentially good shot for your subject. 

Is the background to bright? Is the lighting on this side too bright? Or is my angle giving the subject the attention it needs?

This is the most tricky part of photography, you need to try it out and see for yourself. Do not be afraid to try other angles, always try to experiment.

In this photo, the subject is the closest flower on the left. It takes advantage of the perspective from below. However, the subject has a lower color contrast against the background because yellow is not a good complementary color for green. This camouflages the subject from the photo.

Meanwhile, in this photo, the subject (the red flower) has a higher color contrast against the background, which directs the audience's attention to the subject directly. The photo also follows the rule of thirds and does not feel cluttered at all.

3. Depth of Field

The depth of field is the distance between the nearest and farthest objects in a scene that appears acceptably sharp in your photo. There are two factors that may affect your depth of field: the focal length (how wide or telephoto your lens is) and your camera's aperture (the wider open your iris, the shallower depth of field).

In this photo, you have a shallow depth of field because you are focusing on one subject, the pink rabbit and as a photographer, you may want to showcase the distinctive color of the pink rabbit as opposed to the white background. Therefore the shallow depth of field works in this photo.

While in this photo, you have a deeper depth of field. This is a landscape photography showcasing the beauty of nature. The shallow depth of field does not work here because you are not focusing on one subject, rather you want to show the beauty of nature as the person in the hammock experiences the wonder of the waterfalls.

4. Tell A Story

Most importantly, your photos should tell a story. Great shots may come from an unexpected place, event or moment in your life. Always be prepared.

If you are doing a portrait, take a candid shot to capture your subject's genuine emotion.

If you are doing a landscape, use leading lines to capture the path of your adventure.

Try different focal lengths if you are using DSLR or a mirrorless camera. Experiment your camera's lighting modes very well, tweak as you need to be. And most of all, be authentic on your shots.

This shot is from Baler, Aurora. By looking at this photo of the mother and child running on the beach, you just feel happy for them.

This photo is from the Chiang Kai Shiek Memorial Hall in Taiwan. It depicts the grandeur of the white memorial hall and that photography requires a great deal of concentration where you need to shield yourself from the sun.

This photo is taken from a party in Central Mindanao. You can see the participants' genuine expression in this game. Clearly, the subject is the two kids on the right, but you get to ask yourself what they are running for? It is the lady on the left.

In this photo, despite being depicted as white and black it showcases actions in the game of Jenga. The light source on the right lets us feel the tension and suspense of the game. Jenga must be taken seriously.

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