Have you ever wondered what it takes to be a travel photographer? Do you wonder who is these restless “lucky” bunch of people who are constantly on the move, exploring new places, meeting new people, embarking on adventurous trips, live life amidst nature, on a quest to capture that great moment, be it rain, sun or snow? They are travel photographers. Armed with a camera and a mind free to explore and to express the beauty of our planet earth and its inhabitants, a travel photographer is an avid traveler who explores new horizons and brings to life beautiful memories, capture memorable moments, events, and actions, festivities, and rituals.
Travel photographers are a different breed of people who are guided by their instincts and follow their passion. It is through their lenses that we see the unseen, know new places, new cultures, and habits of people, see the amazing natural beauty of a destination, scale the high mountains, dive deep in an ocean, walk the sandy deserts or simply stroll around the lazy corners of a small city, experience the heritage and religious significance of a holy place/destination, see the ancient monuments and its awe-inspiring architecture. A travel photographer can opt to specialize in anything that seems appealing to him/her, be it nature photography, human or cultural photography of people and societies, City life and luxury/lifestyle photography, animal photography, or architectural photography of modern-day stunning city skyline, or ancient monuments and discoveries of lost civilizations.
The passion for travel photography takes you to places, brings out the spirit of exploration in you.
We might be visiting many places during our life but every place has its charm, its character, look and feel, and its ambiance. It is very unlikely for us to remember that smell of fresh air and that cool mountain breeze, that steep climb or the thrill of windsurfing on a sunny day, feel the ocean breeze and the sound of the ocean waves crashing on the shore, the noise and commotion of the local market place, the busy shops selling daily commodities or the aroma of a steaming cup of tea “ chai” on a rainy day. It is a travel photographer whose lens captures those precious moments and is made available for us to see, to know, and to learn more about a place, a town, a civilization and its culture, its people, a destination, its natural beauty, a country, and its identity.
There are some tips and techniques that a travel photographer does always adheres to. As they dedicate themselves to frame those beautiful memories for the audience to see and learn, travel photographers, are responsible professionals and know their job well.
Detailed research – A travel photographer is expected to make a detailed research of the place he is traveling for his next photographic assignment. A travel photographer is also an avid book lover, who would try to know everything possible about the destination or the new adventure he is embarking on. Destination knowledge can be gained from the Internet via the world wide web and various search engines, traveler books, maps, libraries, travel magazines, social media channels, Youtube videos, or from friends or fellow travelers who have already traveled there before. The arena of gaining detailed knowledge about a destination is limitless and one can gain as much information as he likes. Detailed research about a place helps a travel photographer to plan his schedule and make an itinerary that includes everything about that place, without missing out on any important aspects. He/she can also figure out what is new and unexplored and how his/her shoot can be different from the others.
Travel lite – A travel photographer is advised to travel lite so that his mobility does not become a challenge at any point in time. Generally, we know a travel photographer to have very less travel gear (unless unavoidable), carry handy equipment’s and essentials, permits, and IDs, travel documents, appropriate clothing as per the destination, GPS and tracking devices, a mobile phone, and most important his portable camera and lenses. The backpack of a travel photographer is his office and home.
Appropriate camera and basic equipment – It’s up to you which camera or photography equipment you would like to carry for your next dream project. It depends on the kind of adventure you are embarking upon or the nature of that destination. Make sure that your lenses are well protected from overheat, dust, and water. Your carry spare batteries and chargers and enough SD cards so that you never run out of space. It is advisable to keep a backup camera in case of any technical malfunction or mishap. It is recommended that you download your shoots in a PC or a hard drive after an everyday shoot or store it in the cloud so that your work is secure and you need not worry about retrieving your previous works.
Be safe & careful – Especially when you are traveling outstation, to an unknown town or city or traveling to any remote location or a different country for that matter, you have to stick to your safety rules. These guidelines can be known from your travel agent, the travel journals, and travel books that you read about the destination, and the online videos you have on the internet. It’s advisable to know the does and don’ts of a destination before setting afoot. Rules like, never trespass on any privacy of any person or individual, do not push it too far to create trouble for yourself, never travel alone in areas that are not secure, do not risk your safety during a shooting in difficult terrain, do not mess with wild animals or provoke them and do not get lost in unknown territory.
As exciting as it sounds travel photography has been embraced as a profession by many successful individuals and entrepreneurs who have left their previous well-paid jobs and have started a new journey as an explorer and a travel photographer. Travel photographers are a great storyteller, a blogger, and happen to be very passionate and knowledgeable individuals who are known for their fascinating works and life achievements.
Blog # 4 Photography tips and techniques
Photography is fun, the more you explore with your camera and keep shooting, you fall in love with this subject. No wonder why people get edited to photography and no doubt it’s a good edition. It puts to test your creativity skills and pushes your boundaries, your quest for that perfect moment, that perfect light. Yes, photography does involve a degree of gathering knowledge about the techniques, which when put to appropriate use, produces best results.
Gone are the days when photography was a cumbersome process involving, dark rooms, film rolls, and long waiting & developing periods. The new era of digitalization has brought in a renaissance in the world of photography and today anybody can aspire to be a great photographer and can start straight away by shooting randomly with his camera. Some guidelines need to be adhered to get the desired results.
Exposure and focus – It is of utmost importance to adjust your exposure and make sure about focusing correctly on your subject. The frame can be adjusted later but if the Exposure & focus is not appropriate, the result will be a blurry shot that is of no use. In a situation where you have both bright light and dark shadow in the same frame, correct adjustment of your exposure & focus is extremely important.
Tips for the best portrait – The basic thumb rule for portrait photography is to focus on the eyes. Eyes are a natural focal point and we connect with it well. Make sure that your camera focus is on the eyes and you can expect only the best results.
Keep your aperture size wide enough at f/2.8 to f/5.6 to highlight on the main subject (your portrait) and blur out the background. You should keep experimenting with wider aperture size but the focus should be on the eyes.
Be ready – With your camera in hand, you have to be extremely alert and ready for that great moment that you want to capture. Be it on autofocus or manual mode, your shutter speed, aperture, and ISO settings should be perfectly aligned to click that great shot. The sooner you learn the relationship between Aperture, Shutter speed, and ISO, the chances are brighter that you become an ace photographer.
You might not get enough time to adjust your settings in a fast-moving subject or an action moment. Your camera should be on with enough battery power, keep the camera in semi-automatic mode, and be ready for that unexpected moment. A split of seconds is all it takes to decide and to shoot to capture that great shot, so keep your eyes open and be alert.
Tips for the steady shot – It is very important to learn how to have the best grip on your camera, hold it the best way possible to avoid any shaking. The stability of your focus depends on the stability of your camera. You may opt to increase the shutter speed by increasing the ISO and opening up your aperture, to increase the stability of your shots.
Both eyes open – You should keep both eyes open while looking at the viewfinder of your camera. It has its advantages. The subject of your portrait can connect with you by looking at you in your eyes and you have your focus right. They don’t feel uneasy by finding you hiding behind your camera. While shooting action photos or a moving scene or an action scene, it good to keep both eyes open to have an eye on the viewfinder and another eye on the real world. You can sense the moment coming and you are ready for your shot.
Look for reflections – Try something different, a different angle and different viewpoint. Often a reflection of the main subject makes your frame look gorgeous. You may look for reflections anywhere, not necessary on water. It can be a mirror in a room, lakes, pools, or a small waterlogging on a rainy day. The replica image of your subject on the reflection looks fascinating.
Golden hour – This is called the golden hour as it is the precious hour for a photographer when you have a chance of clicking the most amazing shots with your camera. An hour during the sunrise or an hour during the sunset when you have that tint of golden glow in the sky, that one hour window when you have a diffused light, and a soft glow to click those amazing colors.
To make a checklist of things to follow is a wise option but as the proverb says “practice makes a man perfect”, there is no shortcut to success. It is recommended that make as such mistakes as possible, keep shooting, keep experimenting, be open to learning, create your scenarios, and master your equipment. No need to run for expensive equipment and more high-tech gears, learn the basics with your simple camera and slowly upgrade. Never fall for the pixel trap, higher pixels mean nothing much unless you want to print posters or banners. A modern-day camera with descent pixel capacity can click amazing pictures with the right adjustments.