In part one of this article, I gave six tips to improve your travel photography. In part two, we will continue to explore how to sharpen your skills.

7. Watch your horizons

Always be cognizant of not only the natural but also the man-made horizons in your images. It’s pretty obvious if in the sunset you’re shooting the point where the water meets the sky is not level in your image. Unless by skewing the horizon one way or the other you are purposely looking for an artistic effect, simply move the camera so that the horizon is level in your image. This can also be accomplished using other horizons as well, and by this I’m referring to the floor in a room or a window sill or the altar in a church, any vertical or horizontal reference that will give the viewer a sense of how the image should be correctly oriented ought to be taken into consideration.

8. Get around

When you can, get all around your subject, whether it’s a monument, a person, or a whole city. Attempt to shoot your subject from below, behind, or above, from non-traditional and unique angles, ones from which your viewer wouldn’t expect you to shoot.

For getting above a city, be sure to take the local cable car up the side of a mountain, or ride an elevator to the top of the tallest building, or if you’re able, hike up to the highest place you can find in order to show the city from above.

9. Always look behind you

As we walk through a market or a museum, or any other tourist attraction, we tend to look ahead and to the sides, which is natural. But I can’t tell you how many times I’ve simply turned around and noticed that there was a full moon rising behind me and I wasn’t aware of it because I was looking ahead…or there was a rainbow that wasn’t visible from the direction I was walking, but when I looked back there it was. You could potentially double your chances of getting great images if you’ll simply turn around every once in a while to visualize and capture the scene behind you.

10. Keep it handy

Keep a camera nearby at all times that it’s practical for you never know when that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity will present itself and you’ll want to be ready. I guarantee you’ll miss 100 percent of shots when you don’t have your camera with you. And be prepared by assuring that your batteries are fresh, there’s room on your memory card or on that roll of film, and that your settings are correct for the current environment.

11. Think outside the camera

There are great discoveries in the details. As you go through your daily routine when traveling, make an extra effort to notice the little things around you and to begin seeing like a photographer. Don’t spend the whole day with your eye up against the camera viewfinder, missing the world outside.

Look for odd shadows, interesting reflections, strange patterns in nature, leading lines, silhouettes and abstract subjects, and then shoot away!

It’s important to note that successful photography is not always about getting an award-winning photograph each and every time, especially when putting together a slideshow for friends and family.

Capture images that tell a story or point out an interesting occurrence that happened to you. Take pictures of your hotel room if it was unique, or the hidden restaurant where you had that amazing meal whose name you couldn’t even begin to pronounce. Make it so the people viewing your images can get a real sense of your travel experience. Shoot with the goal of inspiring your viewers to visit the places you enjoyed.

Follow these tips to improve your photography and remember – think outside the camera!

You can find more of Ralph’s work as well as his book on travel photography here.

Your thoughts on "Tips to improve your travel photography – part two"

  • Thanks for the great tips! I will be sure to use them from now one!!!

    on October 11, 2010 at 7:45 pm Reply
    • Good stuff, Jaime. We look forward to seeing your photography get even better :)

      on October 12, 2010 at 3:21 am Reply
  • Hey Jaime, Very glad to hear you enjoyed the article and will be able to use the information for improving your photography from now on, that's the whole idea. Let me know how it goes! Ralph

    on October 13, 2010 at 10:25 am Reply

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