Being present and in the moment while exploring new places is definitely a priority for us here at Modish Wanderer. However, we also feel it's important to be able to look back at all of our adventures and share those memories with loved ones, which is why we always have a camera with us while wandering.
Over the years, we've learned a lot through trial and error about how to capture photos that draw you in and help tell the story of where you've been. And whether you’re traveling with a DSLR in tow or keepin’ it simple with your smart phone in hand, we’ve got 8 tips to help you capture better photos on all of your travel adventures.
#1: Choose The Right Time of Day
Depending on where you’re wandering off to, the time of day that you choose to venture out can make or break the quality of your photos for two reasons:
- The number of people exploring in the same location at the same time
- The type of light that is available during that time.
We’ve found that earlier in the day and right before sunset tend to be better times to take photos not only to avoid large crowds, but also to get the best lighting possible for your photographs.
If you do find yourself taking a photo in the middle of the day when the sun is highest in the sky, try using a lens hood. Or, if you’re shooting with your smart phone, simply put your hand over the top of your phone to create a make shift “hood” for the lens. Doing so will lower the chance of unwanted lens flare and haze allowing your photos to stay crisp and vibrant.
#2: Do Your Research To Find Prime Photo Spots In Your Destination
There’s nothing we love more than going with the flow to see where our travels take us - we are wanderers after all! However, if you’re looking to capture some epic shots to commemorate your trip, it helps to do a little research to find out where the best photo spots are within your destination - you'd be surprised how much information is out there! Once you've done your research, we suggest creating a list and mapping out directions ahead of time. That way, you can make the most of your time in the area and walk away with some incredible photographs.
#3: Use The Rule of Thirds
You might have heard the term “Rule of Thirds” at one point or another in reference to photography and it may sound like something that's super technical. But not to worry - the Rule of Thirds is simply a creative tool that can help make your photos more interesting.
Start by picturing a 3 X 3 grid over the image. Many cameras come equipped with this grid in the viewfinder and most smartphones have the option to turn this feature on in the camera app as well.
To apply the rule of thirds, position the subject of your photograph on one of the intersecting lines or at one of the four intersecting points of the grid. Doing so often adds an element to your photo that automatically seems more compelling and pleasing to the eye.
#4: Get Creative With Your Angles
Sometimes when we’re in the moment of shooting, our first instinct is to just get the shot from whatever angle we’re currently standing at. However, if you’re looking to add a little more variety to the style of your photos, consider experimenting with different angles that you wouldn't normally shoot at. For example, getting close to the ground and shooting upwards or positioning yourself above your subject at a high angle can help to create a more compelling photograph.
#5: Make Sure Your Horizons Are Straight
We've been there - you come across the most beautiful scene or landscape and you think to yourself "This shot is going to be awesome!" Then you snap a few photos only to notice after the fact that the photo looks slightly off. And that's when it hits you - the horizon line is crooked.
Sometimes when you're in the moment, it's easy to over look horizon lines while taking a photograph. And although it can be an easy fix on an app to re-adjust, it saves you so much time when you get it right in camera.
A helpful tip to ensure your horizon lines come out straight is to really take your time when composing the image. Look through the view finder and use your grid to align the horizon evenly. Instead of taking multiple photos in a row, snap one, take a look and re-adjust as needed. If you feel like you're still struggling, using a tripod can be extremely helpful, especially when shooting landscapes.
#6: Add A Human Element Into The Mix
Have you ever taken a photo while exploring a new destination only to find it totally underwhelming, despite how vast and beautiful it looks to the human eye? In these situations, sometimes all the image needs is the addition of a human element such as shoes, backpacks, camp mugs and of course, an actual human ;) Making this adjustment helps the photo feel more authentic and personal while also giving viewers a sense of the scale and enormity of the landscape itself.
#7: Stay Away From Using Flash
When you take a photo and it comes out darker than you would have liked, you might be tempted to turn your camera or smart phone to “flash mode” to compensate in lower light situations. But the problem with flash is that often times, it leaves the photo looking much different that what you’re seeing with your natural eye.
Instead of opting for flash mode, try lowering the aperture and or increasing the ISO in the settings of your camera by switching to Manual Mode. If you're using a smartphone, you can hold down on the screen and drag your finger up and down to control the brightness of the photo.
And don't forget - you can always use photo editing apps to lighten and brighten your photos in lower light situations. Which brings us to our next and final tip...
#8: Give Your Photos An Extra Pop In Post Processing
We're all about getting the photo right in camera, but sometimes it needs a little bit of editing to really make it stand out and reflect what you saw with the human eye. We tend to use Lightroom as our tool of choice to edit photographs, but if you're looking for something a little more low-key and easily available on the go, here are a few apps that we recommend:
- Lightroom For Mobile
- Instagram Editor (You'd be surprised how much control you have here!)
Each of these apps has multiple controls, settings and filters to help you elevate the look of your photographs to get it just right.
We hope these tips have been helpful and that they inspire you to get out and shoot on your next travel adventure!
Keep wandering, friends.