There’s definitely an art to travel photography, and that’s where our friends at Artifact Uprising come in. Created by two sisters who span a decade of photography experience, they’ve become the source for beautiful photo books and photography tips. We were inspired by some of their nuggets of wisdom around travel photography, so we’ve brought them to life below using some of our guests’ Instagram photos:
1) Get Up Early to Catch the Light
With photography, it’s all about the light. So even on vacation it pays to haul yourself out of bed early to catch those first rays of the day. The rising sun reflecting off a line of skyscrapers can set a familiar skyline ablaze (in a good way), and soft light and morning mist can add an otherworldly element to a scene that won’t be there 30 minutes later. Another tip: deserted streets and people-less attractions can make even the most clichéd landmark look new and exotic (we’re looking at you, Chicago Bean).
2) Play with POV: 1 Scene, 3 Ways
No matter how on point your Instagram feed is, chances are most of your shots were taken from eye level. To get out of your rut, try shooting the same scene from three different angles, like this pool, for example. Shooting up from a low perspective puts more sky behind your subject, adding drama. Shooting down eliminates dimension and isolates your subject, drawing your viewer in. Approaching a subject from multiple angles gives your surroundings a fresh feel and adds interest to what could otherwise be a lackluster photo.
3) Incorporate Scale
Those giant sequoias may have taken your breath away, but conveying their enormity and grandeur can be difficult in a photo. That’s where scale comes in. One of the easiest ways to add context to a scene is to include a recognizable object in the shot, like a person for scale. So, before you snap a photo of something either very large or very small, ask yourself if the shot would benefit from having an easily identifiable point of reference.
4) Nail the Details
It’s the details that transform your images from ordinary photos into visual stories with emotional impact. So play with composition, color, light, pattern and line to reveal a small part of the scene. Fill the entire frame with your subject, then shoot it again, leaving lots of space on either side. Shoot from different angles and crop it tightly. Don’t worry about trying to tell the entire story; the mystery is what will draw your viewers in.
5) You Can Pack Light (Gear)
You don’t need the most expensive gear to shoot great travel photos. And not just “great for a phone” photos, but images that are high-quality and effective. Don’t believe us? Here’s proof that your phone can produce killer pics sans the fancy, and pricey extras. If you want to add a little more SLR to your phone, there are plenty of mobile lenses and editing apps that will make you look like a pro.
6) Capture Movement
Travelling gives you a great opportunity to capture the world around you. And capture is the right word because that world is often in motion. Consider location, lighting, and mood ahead of time, and prepare your set-up so you can start shooting just as your subject enters the frame. You’ll end up with more creative photos and have fun while you’re at it.