Summer offers many of us a prime opportunity to practice our love of photography. But along with a destination and a working camera, there are other factors involved in returning home with wonderful photographs. We asked several professional photographers whose work often takes them throughout the world for advice on making the most of those photographic opportunities, and the OP staff included a few tips of our own. Whether a short road trip or an excursion to the other side of the globe, we hope these 20 tips help make your travels the best that they can be.
1. Photograph People With Wide-Angle Lenses Photographing people using a wide-angle zoom lens (20-35mm) forces you to get closer to your subject, creating a greater sense of intimacy and more interesting images. To minimize distortion, compose your subject to the right or left of center while filling the rest of the frame with an interesting element from their environment. If facial features look distorted, back off slightly.
2. Show The Camera's LCD To Your Subject After taking a photograph, share your image with your subject using the digital camera's LCD. Despite language barriers, displaying the photograph offers one of the best ways to involve people in your photography. Once they have had the opportunity to see what you're doing, you likely can take several more photographs to achieve the best one.
—R. Ian Lloyd
3. Previsualize Your Images Before you begin snapping away, consider how light and weather, as well as lens selection and camera position, will impact your photograph. Walk around the scene while considering all of these elements. Take your time and look through the camera's viewfinder and be open to the unusual and the unexpected.
4. Use Zooms To Maximize Your Shooting Bag Carry zoom lenses to reduce the weight burden while traveling. A wide-angle zoom (24-80mm) and a telephoto zoom (70-300mm) can provide all the focal length you need. Their relatively light weight and versatility allow you to focus more on creating great photographs rather than negotiating a heavy weight in your camera bag.
—B. Moose Peterson
5. Research And Reconnaissance Find out as much as you can about your destination before you start traveling. Use the Internet, travel books, maps and the phone to find out details about potential shooting locations and weather. If your schedule allows, scout a location to determine the best camera position for the next day.
6. Carry A Point-And-Shoot Camera Take along a quality point-and-shoot for those unexpected photo opportunities. A small camera can be carried anytime and anywhere, providing you with the means to create an image during those moments when you weren't expecting to take a photo. Many compact cameras offer a great deal of versatility and control, so you can come away with a memorable shot.
—Daniel J. Cox
7. Get Up Early For The Best Light Although waking up late is one of the luxuries of a vacation, it can mean missing the best light of the day. Make a plan to spend at least one morning before sunrise going to a location that you've previously scouted. You'll have the benefit of interesting light, and you may have the location all to yourself.
8. Use Slow Flash Sync Use a slow shutter speed when shooting with flash. Rather than letting the background go completely dark, a slower shutter speed captures the ambient light exposure while the flash freezes the subject's motion. This results in a dynamic photograph filled with movement and color.
—R. Ian Lloyd
9. Get Ideas From Postcards When you arrive at your destination, purchase some postcards; they often provide ideas for some of the best locations. More than just an opportunity to copy, the cards offer information on special locations to get your own creative juices flowing.
10. Shooting At Slow Shutter Speeds For times when a tripod can't be used, learning how to properly handhold your camera can make all the difference in the world. Firmly hold the camera in both hands, with your elbows pressed against your sides. While exhaling carefully, depress the shutter-release button. If you have a motordrive, fire several shots in rapid sequence, as the latter images likely will be sharper than the first few.