You have finally booked your bucket list vacation, and ensuring you capture only the best images to remember and showcase this once-in-a-lifetime experience is at the top of your list.
Whether you are a seasoned photographer looking to expand your portfolio or a budding beginner who has just picked up all your essentials from the camera store, building a social media following to view and appreciate your art can be an educational and thrilling journey.
Understanding the Rules of Composition for Travel Photography
Composition refers to how a photo is set up and what the viewer’s eyes are drawn to first.
Understanding and implementing the rules of composition are essential for shooting travel photography, particularly for beginners.
Consider and implement six important Rules of Composition when taking your next photograph.
The Rules of Thirds
For many beginners just starting out, having your main subject in the center of the frame seems like an apparent choice.
To create interest in the shot, it is important to mentally divide the scene into nine blocks. Many cameras come with this grid feature built into their display options.
Placing your main subject in an alternative block to the center can help create a creative composition.
However, rules are meant to be broken if you prefer a different perspective and angle.
Leading lines refer to the lines in a photo that direct a viewer’s eye to certain parts of the shot.
They can help to highlight key features in the foreground or background or allow for cohesiveness in a photograph with multiple different elements at play.
A winding staircase in the distance or a train track running in the foreground are both examples of leading lines.
Be sure to minimize clutter in your photos. Clutter can refer to any unnecessary additions to your shots that will draw attention away from your main subject in a way that is not intentional.
People in the background and unwanted objects on the floor are great examples of clutter that should be avoided when possible.
Shooting images with complementary yet contrasting colors can help make the subject of your photos really stand out.
In travel photography, this is particularly effective when using the blue and golden hues created by the position of the sun throughout the day.
It is a simple way to make a bold statement without manually curating the contrast.
Use framing to draw attention to your subject whenever possible. This will naturally attract a viewer’s eye to a specific part of your photo and highlight the main feature of the shot.
A person leaning within a door frame or a tree silhouette in a window are excellent examples of this photography trick.
Understand Foreground, Middle Ground & Background
While it is not necessary to incorporate elements into all three parts of a photo, many experts agree that utilizing at least creates depth and intrigue when framing and shooting a photograph.
It largely depends on the subject of your image, but incorporating a second element can help highlight the main focus of your shot further.
For example, a large ship on the ocean is framed by a soft flurry of clouds in the background.
Patience is Key
Good photography takes time, regardless of you who are.
This is especially true in travel and nature photography, where the perfect shot largely depends on factors you have no control over.
Finding interesting and exciting subjects and learning how to properly frame them can be a timely process, but it will be worth the wait when you capture the perfect image.
Capture Unique Images
For many travel photographers, getting that iconic shot of a dazzling Eiffel Tower or a looming Grand Caynon can make the perfect addition to their social media accounts.
And while there is nothing wrong with shooting these iconic landmarks, their popularity often takes away from the opportunity to be unique with your imagery.
When shooting these famous places, make it a personal mission to capture them in ways that are unusual or vastly different from what you have seen before.
This can be done by over or under-exposing the shot, using blue motion, or creating a unique focal point. The only true limitation is your imagination.
Move Your Feet
One of the most important things to remember in travel photography is to move your feet.
Don’t arrive at a scene and take a photo from the first spot you are standing.
Instead, take some time to explore the area and study the different points of focus and framing that can be achieved from different angles.
This will help you gain the perfect symmetry you may be after or allow you to have a chance to include more interesting features than just your main subject.
When possible, take multiple shots from different angles to give yourself plenty of options when you review them at home.
Use a Tripod
A tripod is one of the best pieces of camera equipment you can have, especially for travel photography.
It will help you take excellent shots in low light and offer you the chance to get more creative with your images, like taking long exposure images.
It will also force you to slow down with your photography and put more thought into your shot.
Instead of simply pointing and shooting, you will have time to evaluate your framing and angle when setting up your tripod.