Having only taken travel photography seriously for the past two and half years I have to admit I already have a number one pet peeve. When somebody takes/shows/displays a great photo it’s the tendency for others to immediately ask the following question: “What camera are you using?”
It’s not that the particular camera and its feature set had nothing to do with the final image being shown – it certainly did. What really is annoying though is that it is likely the least important factor in terms of getting the shot. Before I delve into this further I think a few humorous analogies will help break the ice and better explain what I’m talking about here.
If you’re lousy in bed and your girlfriend/boyfriend is complaining about not being able to achieve an orgasm would it make sense to go out and switch your brand of condoms from Trojan to Durex? Would your significant other suddenly start moaning with pleasure and begging you to not stop what you’re doing? Would you instantaneously become the next Casanova? Maybe. Most likely not though
How about a golfer that slices the ball into the woods off of most tee shots – would it makes sense for he/she to go out and purchase brand new shoes, a comfy glove and possibly even a new driver? Would they stop slicing the ball into the woods? Again, maybe. Most likely not though
The ball will still be hit into the woods and the significant other will still be left wanting more until something has shifted in the TECHNIQUES being used. If the conditions are no different in other pursuits/hobbies why would it be any different when it comes to taking better travel photos?
Upgrading your camera or switching brands might makes sense under certain circumstances, but it’s only when…(A) You’re not able to achieve the exact photo you want because of some limitation in your cameras handling ability B) You know exactly what is missing with your current system and what it is that you need to upgrade in order to take that photo) that it makes sense to consider upgrading. Otherwise, (although this sounds like a blanket statement) it’s the lousy techniques, lack of compositional skills and technical knowledge about obtaining a proper exposure, that is limiting you from taking the photo that impresses both yourself and your audience.
If you’re shooting in auto and pointing the camera at objects from chest or eye level, chances are you’re taking lousy photos. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there As an example, let’s rewind to the opening paragraph and examine this situation from another angle. When you see a great photo being displayed here are a few things you may consider enquiring about instead of wondering what camera he/she used to obtain such a masterpiece. Factors such as the time of day, direction of light, in-camera adjustments (exposure compensation, shooting mode), f-stop, shutter speed, ISO, focal length, filters, compositional considerations, pre-visualization techniques, and post-production editing are far more likely to reveal something about the photograph than what brand or camera was being used. If you don’t know what many (or any) of these things mean right now there is no reason to panic. I didn’t know either. Until I started studying photography I wasn’t privy to many of the technical or compositional techniques that make a photo pleasing to the eye.
One resource I highly recommend for putting yourself on the fast-track towards improving your travel photography is Beers & Beans Getting Out of Auto. It’s written by Bethany Salvon, a professional photographer of a top travel blog than I admire and feel as though it’s the resource that is going to help somebody just getting serious about their travel photography take the next step without having to spend hours scouring through photography manuals, online tutorials and other websites just to find a few useful pieces of information – which is what I did. I won’t lie to you, there are enough free resources out there for you to find a ‘portion’ of the information found in this book; however, you’ll be spending hours researching and running amok to find what it is that you’re looking for. With this guide it’s the best way to expedite the process.
Getting Out of Auto = Taking Better Travel Photos.Thus, instead of wondering what camera somebody else used to take such a wonderful photo you’ll be able to use the one you’ve got right now to go out there and take it yourself. For a reasonable price of only $9.99 it is far more appealing than spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on new camera equipment without even knowing how to use it. Moreover, the advice and travel photography tutorials offered in this book are global skills that can be applied to any camera you are using now or in the future. It’s an investment that will be teaching you foundational skills that will last you a lifetime. That in my opinion is invaluable.