One of the most common mistakes an amateur/novice photographer makes is to take the majority of their photos standing up with the camera held near chest or eye level. Although this is the most comfortable/natural orientation it’s not the one that is going to yield impressive or unique photos. Everybody else is doing it and if you’re interested in taking photos that are going to impress an audience outside of friends and family it’s time to get down & dirty, climb, contort & twist your body all over the place 😛 These are five travel photography tips to improve your photos by changing your vantage point.
1) Look Up / Look Down
As mentioned previously, taking photos from chest or eye level is what 90% of other photographers are already doing. Start noticing what’s going on up & down. You might notice a man shaving nearby an overhead window or a cute dog scurrying about at ground level. Try taking photos of somebody climbing up steep steps from an overhead perspective. The next time you take a portrait of somebody have them sit down and look up towards the sky or ceiling before taking their shot from an above perspective. Try capturing architecture or a statue from a close-up perspective pointing your camera upwards to capture a distinct or select element.
2) Climb a Mountain, ladder, tree or just some steps 😛
One of the easiest ways to change your perspective is to shoot from a higher vantage point. In other words, be prepared to get physical and do a little exercise climbing a mountain, ladder, tree, or just some steps 😛 When shooting above and looking down it’s almost as if you have a bird’s eye perspective of what is going on below. From a higher vantage point you can take great shots of parades, crowds, traffic or scenic valley views. The rewards of doing this are that ‘many’ other photographers are simply too lazy to ‘climb’ something. This is a travel photography tip that can’t be underestimated: putting in a bit of grunt work 😛
3) Get Down & Dirty
I’ve often mentioned that one should wear their worst clothes out when taking photos. As a general travel photography tip, if you’re not prepared to get some stains, tears or a little dirt on your shirt or pants you haven’t noticed what’s doing on at ground level. Capturing a photo of a cat, dog or other animal from the eye level perspective the creature is experiencing provides a whole new dimension to the photo. The exposure will speak to the subject’s way of viewing the world as opposed to your own. Furthermore, landscape & street photography is greatly enhanced with some shots of traffic, insects & scenery from a low vantage point.
4) Shoot from the perspective of your subject
If you’re taking a travel photo of an ant or small insect be prepared to get down on your hands and knees and shoot from the perspective of it crawling on the ground. If you’re shooting a large animal or billboard try crouching down and shooting upwards at a wide angle to exaggerate its already impressive size. Whatever subject you are photographing try to mentally visualize what you are trying to emphasize in the photo (subject’s size, background, foreground, etc) to capture the moment from a unparagoned viewpoint.
5) Twist & Shout
To improve your travel photography you need to be willing to twist, contort & misalign both you body & camera from typically held positions – shouting is optional 😛 When it comes to your camera, try shooting in orientations other than typical landscape and portrait poses. Try twisting the camera in a diagonal manner (left or right) for some creative shots. When it comes to your body be prepared to contort it in positions, as if you were playing a game of twister and you suddenly noticed something interesting that involves capturing it in an awkward position.
These are just are a few ways a photographer can improve his/her photos from the majority of others who are taking the ‘typical’ shots from ‘typical’ angles and vantage points. None of these tips involve upgrading your camera or lenses to see the world from a unique perspective. It’s just a matter of using whatever you’ve currently got available and improving your skills & techniques to produce better photos. Sometimes, just a few refinements in your techniques can aid in your quest to have a top travel blog.
As a travel photography tutorial, check out the following photos & see if you can match them with some of the 5 tips I’ve mentioned above:
Nomadic Samuel Jeffery