Capturing the Moment – Travel Photography Tips for Beginners

For some of us, taking photos while enjoying a holiday is second nature. However, for others it can be quite a daunting task. For those people who lack confidence, Wendy Wu Tours is here to help! Read on for our top travel photography tips – selfies not included.

Be prepared, or prepare to fail

We’ve all experienced that moment when we think we’ve taken the perfect shot, only to look down and see that the memory card is full. To combat this annoying situation make sure you have a memory card with a lot of space, your battery is charged, charger is packed and your camera is still working since the last time you used it! As the saying goes, “the best camera to have is the one that’s with you all the time”, so make sure you are comfortable transporting your camera around with you. Lugging around heavy equipment is all part of the job for professional photographers but for us beginners, this isn’t necessary and it may act as a deterrent.

Observe, approach and be friendly

People are a great addition to any photo and Asia will offer endless opportunities to capture locals going about their day to day lives. It’s only natural that you will want to take photos of people; however it’s important to be polite and ask their permission first. Approach with your camera away, have a chat and mention you are taking photos and if they would mind if you took a picture of them (miming will get you a long way if there are language barriers). In most cases people will be only too happy to let you take a snap. Kids are fantastic photo subjects as they are often more natural in front of the camera. A great trick with kids is to take a photo and show it to them afterwards. Often enough they’ll laugh and play up to the camera, creating an even better photo than the first.


Apply the rule of thirds

The rule of thirds is a tried and tested principle that will help you create well balanced and dynamic photos – and, it’s really easy to remember! Look through your camera’s viewfinder or camera screen and imagine it’s divided into 9 equal segments, by 2 vertical and 2 horizontal lines (like a naughts and crosses grid). The rule of thirds suggests the most important elements in your scene should be positioned along these lines or at the points where they intersect.

Hint: Check out your camera settings. Some models offer an option to superimpose a rule of thirds grid over the LCD screen, making this principle even easier to master.


Be on the lookout for eye candy

No, we’re not talking about the scantily clad tourist in the distance; we’re referring to patterns, repetitions and leading lines. Symmetry and patterns, both natural and man-made, are everywhere and they make great, eye-catching photos. Add another element to your shot by introducing a focal point that breaks the symmetry or pattern in some way. Leading lines lead the eye into the photo and often end at one of the four intersections we mentioned above when discussing the rule of thirds. Our eyes are naturally drawn along lines so think about them when you’re putting your shot together. Whether it’s a straight, diagonal, curvy or zigzag line, you can use it to take the viewer on a journey through your scene.


Work your frame

Whether you’re filling your frame with people, food or using something in the foreground to frame your photo (a window, tree, bridge etc.) your images will be more effective if you work your frame. The first image below has used the tree to frame the image but there are also objects in the foreground. It’s a much more interesting shot compared to if the photographer had walked to the edge of the water and taken a photo of the lake and mountains only.

Come closer, closer…too close!

Sometimes it can be impossible to capture everything that’s happening around you. Cover your bases and take a wide shot before moving in closer to focus on something – the small details are often more interesting than the overall scene. Take a look at the photos below. The first image is a wide shot, while the second image shows detail.

Closer-1 Closer-2

Hint: Use the macro setting on your camera when taking close up shots of flowers, insects or other small objects. This will allow you to focus on subjects close to the camera lens.

Rise and shine

‘Golden hour’ occurs during the first hour of sunrise and sunset every day, providing photographers with beautiful light. Pay attention to the time of sunrise and sunset while you’re travelling and remember to use the composition techniques mentioned above. Adding an object to the foreground will create a silhouette and be a focal point for your image and the rule of thirds will assist you in taking the perfect photo.


Heading away on a Wendy Wu Tours holiday? Don’t forget to share your winning photos with us on Facebook (@wendywutoursaustralia) and Instagram (#wendywutours).

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