Common travel photography mistakes

Whether it’s a plate of colourful ceviche in Peru or the iconic outline of the Eiffel Tower, it’s natural to want to record every moment of your holiday for posterity. Unfortunately, many travel photos turn out to be way less impressive than we would like. Blurry, overexposed, and downright boring photos can be a real bummer when you’re ready to relive your travel memories or update your blog. You can avoid the following common mistakes to boost your skills behind the lens and create some real share-worthy photographs.

Where is the lens cap? Did it fall off? YES IT DID.

Sand and water damage to equipment

The beach can be an inspiring subject, from Bali to Bermuda. However, the harsh environment of sand and saltwater can wreak havoc on digital cameras or smartphones. Avoid putting your camera down even on a beach blanket, particularly on a breezy day. Bring a clear filter to fit over your lens to protect your camera from abrasive materials, or fit a clear plastic bag over it in a pinch.

An overly centred composition

One of the first rules taught in photography courses is the “rule of thirds,” which states to break the composition of a scene into three parts. Rather than putting your landmark or point of interest directly in the centre of the frame, place it just off centre to create a heightened level of balance and interest.

Too many landmark or museum shots

Along with putting landmarks in the centre of the photo, another common mistake is to take a series of photos of the same landmark or famous painting. You’ve most likely already seen the Taj Mahal photographed from every possible angle by professional photographers. Rather than shooting the same picture-postcard shot, why not try to enliven it by choosing a unique angle or finding smaller details of the landmark to focus on? This will create a more varied selection of photos to choose from when you get home.

Overly posed shots

It’s also common to take a photo of yourself right in front of a scenic view or landmark. While this can be fun and help preserve memories, in many cases you’ll end up with a series of you standing in the same pose, with the same smile, albeit with different backgrounds. Try to switch up your poses and facial expressions, including a few candid shots.

Taking shots from a long distance

Filling the frame with your intended subject helps provide a greater focus and clarity to your travel photos. Try zooming in a little or taking a few steps in the direction of your subject to make sure you’ve filled the frame.

Not taking light into consideration

Professional photographers spend a great deal of time learning all about the impact of lighting. You can use this to your advantage by looking closely at the direction of the light in any scene, whether you’re using a flashlight or natural sunlight. Be aware of shadows that could obscure your subject, and take advantage of the soft glow of a sunrise or sunset for more striking photos.

Whether you’re taking travel photos to accompany a story or are taking snapshots to share in a Facebook album, keeping these tips in mind will enhance your final product and leave you with lasting memories.

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One Response to “Common travel photography mistakes”
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