Don't Be Boring: 5 Tips for Better Travel Photos

September 25, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

The days of sitting in a darkened living room while a projector flips through endless vacation photos may be gone, but we get the same treatment via Facebook and its siblings. It's a sharing culture now - but remember how dull those slideshows got after the umpteenth "and this is us in front of..." slide? Whether your goal is to not bore your friends and family to death or just enjoy a richer trip down memory lane for yourself, here are 5 tips to make your travel photos more unique and dynamic.

  1. Get those details! When photographing an iconic place like Paris's Eiffel Tower or Rome's Colosseum, go ahead and indulge in an overall take or too, but then look for new angles and zoom in tighter. Icons like these are immediately recognizable to almost everyone, so you don't always need the entire structure in the shot. This also gives you a chance to encourage your artistic side. Colosseo CaldoColosseo Caldo
  2. Get out of the way. Of course we want photos with ourselves IN the shot - that makes complete sentimental sense. Rather than standing dead center in front of the subject, get to one side. While it's nice to capture the broader scene, don't forget a nice close up from time to time - gotta preserve your fantastic mug for posterity! For a two-fer, work in background details specific to your location, rather than plain trees or sky, when you get that lovely portrait.
  3. Get candid. If there are two of you traveling, take turns with the camera and going street. Candid images of your travel partner simply enjoying a moment or interacting with locals can bring great stories rushing back. But have fun - if you've been dying for that shot of you holding up Pisa's leaning tower, go for it! Raffaella-Gallipoli-Puglia-ItalyRaffaella-Gallipoli-Puglia-ItalyTaking in the scenery in Gallipoli, Italy
  4. Get low - or high. Sometimes in the rush to see and capture everything, we just raise the camera to our eye and snap, then move along. If you're not a contortionist, there are plenty of affordable compact cameras with articulated screens that can let you compose your shot easily. Getting low can simplify your background while adding foreground interest. Stretch your arms up as high as possible, allowing you to get over the heads of other tourists or distractions and capture a dynamic wide angle of your scene. Finding an elevated vantage point or layering subjects is another great way to capture unusual or simplified compositions. Leone nella PiazzaLeone nella Piazza
  5. Get up early. Yep, this is something that I'll keep suggesting til I'm blue in the face. The light is wonderfully unique from dawn to early sunrise, and the pace is very relaxing since you'll have the streets virtually all to yourself. Experiencing places typically packed with people nearly empty is absolutely worth losing just a little sleep in my book. Try it at least once! You can always take a midday nap after an early lunch. Arco di San MarcoArco di San MarcoScan of original 35mm B&W film. Taken in Venice, Italy's Piazza San Marco very early in the morning. The arch frames the famous Basilica di San Marco as the [in]famous pigeons flutter about. These are just a healthy handful of suggestions - it would be very easy to add 10 or 15 more in even deeper detail. Ultimately, your travel photos are your memories, so have fun and do what makes you happy. If you have favorite tips for getting creative with your travel photos, feel free to share yours in the comments here or on Twitter and Facebook.

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