Want to improve your travel photography? Here’s why you should!

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We travelled to the Peak District and got very snap happy on the wonderful sunny day

First Off…

Travel photography generally involves picking up a camera and taking shots while travelling. Who would have guessed? While this type of photography is mainly a hobby and doesn’t usually involve any source of commercial income, it can vastly improve your skills with a camera in all different sectors of photography; this includes weddings, portraits, still life, everything. Now lets go on to why.

What’s the deal?

The biggest step to getting better with a camera is actually using one. Every day people go out and travel to work, to their homes, to a holiday destination, maybe even to a spot to do a bit of landscape photography. The more you take your camera out with you and take shots along the way, the more in tune you will be with your equipment, and you’ll end up seeing almost everything through the eye of a lens. Even when you don’t have your camera with you, you’ll curse yourself for seeing something you know would look amazing if you had captured it!

It’s important to be able to use your camera in any situation if you’re wanting to shoot weddings especially, and travel helps that. Constant light changes with the weather, situational and environmental changes all need you to be on top form to change your camera settings at a moments notice. When it comes to shooting portraits of people, you’ll need to be able to see where the best available light is, where’s best to place them as to not make them squint in the sun or be heavily shadowed. Taking a friend along your travels to get some quick snaps of can help you understand the way light works, and you can take this experience into almost any natural light setting.

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A cheeky shot of our JS Collective member on a rock

So, here’s some fundamental tips

Shoot Manually & in RAW

This is important. If you’re shooting in auto, you’re letting the camera do all the work and you’re not giving it specific instructions on how you want a shot to look. The camera will be guessing on a shot, and while you can still get good shots in auto mode, it can still fail and not wield the results you’re after. If you wanted a landscape image on a bright sunny day, you will get underexposed land and light skies in auto mode almost every time. In order to perfect your craft and not rely completely on your camera to take a well exposed shot with just the right amount of sharpness and depth of field you want, shoot in manual. You’ll start to understand exactly what settings you’d need for a situation in no time.

Shooting in RAW is also imperative when you take your photos into editing software like Lightroom. If you’ve taken all your shots in JPEG, you’re going to have a much harder time working with it when you want to do things like add exposure or bring up the black/shadows. This ultimately leads to a lot of grain, and a bad look. Shooting in RAW captures a lot more information, it’s almost as if you’ve taken multiple shots and placed them into one image so it gives you the freedom to chose inbetween!

Edit Well

When it comes to the edit, this is where you can make a dull photo otherwise shine. We use Lightroom, which is what we’ll mainly be referencing here when it comes to settings.

We recommend you look at your shot and think about what needs doing to it before you go crazy with the sliders and settings. When it comes to editing our shots, we like to bring out the colours with the vibrance and saturation sliders, add a peppering of clarity, then adjust the white balance, exposure, shadows, whites, blacks and highlights according to how we want the image to look. Too bright? Turn the exposure down. Highlights in the sky not epic and bright enough? Turn them up! Here’s a little snippet of how much the edit can change the look of a shot.

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Left is the original, right is the newly edited shot

Don’t be afraid to play around with curves either, making an ‘S’ shape in the curves can wield good results. If you’re looking for the haze-like instagram effect, this is the perfect place to try and achieve it. We’d also recommend playing with all of the different colours, sometimes there could be too much or too little of a colour in a shot, and with a simple slide on Lightroom you can change the entire look of a shot for the better.

Experiment

You’ll get nowhere without trial and error. Every professional photographer before you, during your time here on Earth, and ones that will come before you will fail with their shots repeatedly and forever. Photography is a constant learning curve, and through experimenting comes with your own style of photos.

Summary

What we’re basically trying to get across is that you need to get out there. There’s always a new photo to be taken in a way only you would and could. Constantly using your camera and becoming more in tune with it will help you in all forms of photography, you’ll learn exactly what settings to use for almost any situation. We tried not to discuss specific settings or editing styles as we want people to experiment and develop their own style rather than do what we do. However, if you’re interested in editing like us or want a few pointers, get in touch!

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We hope this short blog has helped, so go forth and get some beautiful snaps while you travel!

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