Our guest blog post this week is from Brian Walski of Colorado Visions Photography. Brian gives some good tips on vacation photos and on photography in general.
As a Denver professional photographer for over 20-years, my assignments have taken me to 49 states (I’m still hoping for that shoot in Hawaii) and 22 foreign countries. Although most assignments are very specific, I always try to find time to take some travel style pictures that capture the people and geography along with the quintessential tourist locales.
Nearly everyone travels for business or vacation. Be it to a foreign country or a weekend getaway in Colorado. Here are some suggestions for planning and achieving better quality travel photography like you might see in the travel magazines or National Geographic.
As far as equipment goes, I try to keep it simple. One camera and 2 or 3 lenses in a nondescript over the shoulder bag and a mini tripod and cable release for low-light situations or to capture a scene at f/16. If I’m in a foreign country, I try not to attract attention. If your using a digital point-and-shoot all you might need is an extra battery and a mini tripod. The inexpensive point-and-shoot digital cameras of today yield the quality of the professional digital cameras of 10 years ago. There are so many great little feature-packed digital cameras on the market. I would recommend the
the two premiere manufacturers – Canon and Nikon. Both have digital point-and-shoot cameras starting around $150 up to pro models in the thousands.
Your lower priced cameras (like a phone camera) are totally automatic – the camera determines the exposure. If your interested in having more creativity with your pictures, invest in a point and shoot digital camera that has a manual feature so that you can determine the camera’s shutter speed and lens f-stop. This allows you to control the exposure. The next step in digital camera’s would be a digital SLR camera body with interchangeable lenses – here your looking over $500 and the camera will no longer fit in your pocket.
A camera with zoom lens (Called optical zoom) is a great feature. Don’t worry about a camera’s digital zoom – you can do that on your computer.
Some recommended accessories would be an extra camera battery and mini pocket tripod for long exposure pictures and getting into a picture using your camera’s self-timer.
Here are some tips for taking photos in different settings:
- From the instant the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, daylight is constantly shifting in color and intensity. The best time to photograph any of the world’s most visited vistas is just before or after sunrise for early risers and sunset for everyone else.
- Theme parks are busy places – pay attention to your background – you don’t want that great family picture with a stranger walking through the background.
- The beach is great for sunset or sunrise pictures. The light is beautiful and great for scenic pictures, portraits and silhouettes.
- If you have a camera with interchangeable lenses – avoid changing lenses at the beach to prevent sand and salt water mist from getting into the camera.
- If you want to take your camera underwater? Most camera and smartphone manufacturers sell water-tight underwater housings for your specific model.
- In a big city or village, few corners of the world are without a thriving produce and just about everything market that offer prime travel photography opportunities to do some photography and have a little fun exploring and shopping at the same time.
- If there’s one thing you can count on in most markets, it’s color—colorful displays of goods and colorful characters selling them. Some markets, like the grand bazaars in most Middle Eastern and Asian countries are a kaleidoscope of color and semi-organized chaos. Close-ups of exotic objects can make great pictures. If it’s an open-air market, look for a high vantage point to get an overall shot.
- Don’t be afraid to get close and approach people. Shoot people pictures. You might be surprised on where your camera may take you.
- If your taking pictures in the market you might consider using your camera’s auto-exposure setting. Light can be all over the place from bright sun to dark shadows. If you are planning to shoot a scenic, I would suggest using the camera in the manual mode. Here you can vary the exposure and help create more dramatic effects by controlling the exposure. You can bracket a little to ensure that you get the best exposure to capture all the fine details.
- Patience can result in making the ordinary shot become and extraordinary image.
- Try something different and experiment with some different angles. Digital images are cheap – however, if it doesn’t seem to work move on to the next picture.
- You don’t have to have the camera up to your eye. With today’s auto-focus cameras you can literally “shoot from the hip” and capture your subject naturally. On the other hand, don’t be naive – there are usually eyes watching your every move.
- Perfect the use of you camera’s fill-in flash. Although illuminating dark places is the primary use of flash, the next-best place to use it is outdoors in bright sunlight. One of the problems of taking pictures on a vacation is the midday sun that is harsh and creates deep and sometimes ugly shadows. In people pictures, this usually means dark eye sockets and unattractive shadows under the nose and lips. If you can blend your flash to fill-in the shadows you will be able to create more attractive natural looking portraits. The key is to make the image look like no flash was used at all.
As a Colorado professional photographer, I always strive to produce quality travel pictures either here in Colorado or locations far away. My final bit of advice is if your travel includes family, friends and just having a good time, do a little planning and keep a balance with your photography your well deserved vacation.
Thanks Brian. Brian offers a wide variety of photography services, such as wedding and graduation photography. “Brian did a great job producing senior pictures for our sons Andrew and Josh, and at a very reasonable price, too.” says Family Travel Gurus owner Tim Larison. Contact Brian at his website