Having a camera and being a photographer is the traveler’s golden ticket.
It’s your excuse to be curious, ask questions and get involved in a local place.
When you’re a photographer, it’s your job to seek out the authentic, the juice, the real life of a new locale. It’s the best job on earth, and even if you’re not a professional, you can play one on your next trip (this is how every photographer got their start, guaranteed).
Here are the secrets of better travel photos to help get started on creating dynamic, riveting, pin worthy travel pics!
Today they’re shared by the incredible lifestyles photographer Leela Cyd. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, Cooking Light, Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, Parent & Child, Kinfolk, Sweet Paul, Anthology, ABC, Culture and Apartment Therapy.
On our trip, Leela will mentor a small group of women to take their photography to the next level. And I’ll show you all the secret spots that I know from my years of living in Italy. More on those juicy deets below.
Let’s jump into Leela’s five tips now.
How to Take Better Photos
1. GET CLOSE, LIKE REAL CLOSE.
Textures can be so interesting and can help flesh out the story of a new city or place. So the next time you’re in a beautiful church, palace, fabulous cafe or garden, make sure to get very close to your subject. A withering fresco pattern, rose petals, or a single perfect cappuccino will surely steal hearts and minds when you’re sharing your final, curated photo selection.
2. CREATE A THEME
Do you love cute bicycles? Or maybe decadent sweets? Maybe you’re a fountain person? Whatever subject speaks to you, make sure to emphasize and photograph it along your travels. With each town you visit, seek out the topic of your theme — it’s fascinating to notice the little differences between the same item. When you get home, print a set of JUST these pictures and you’ll have yourself an interesting little gallery.
3. BECOME A TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHER ON ASSIGNMENT
If you’ve ever drooled over magazines like Travel & Leisure, AFAR, National Geo and the like, chances are you’ve taken in some amazing travel stories. If you pick apart most of the images that compose these glossy pages, you will recognize a common theme! They all include a standard selection of imagery, with a little variation here and there. Here’s the shot-list to make your own:
1) sweeping landscape photo (taken from a nearby hill, tall building or boat to have some perspective on the town/city you’re focusing on)
2) portrait of a chef or food vendor
3) detail of a historic building
4) close-up of amazing food item
5) street scene at night
6) medium shot of a mode of transportation
7) locals taking a break somewhere (at a piazza having coffee, playing at the beach, playing checkers under a tree)
8) a shot of animal-life (a cat sleeping on a bench, pigeons flying from a central square, dogs being walked)
4. LEARN, “YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL, MAY I TAKE YOUR PHOTO?” IN THE NATIVE LANGUAGE.
I’m no genius at languages, but I always figure out this phrase wherever I go. I rehearse it a little in my mind then get practicing on local people. Creating images of people in their homeland is such a gift, often those people will say yes (they almost always do; they’re a little embarrassed but just keep smiling). You get an amazing image, and it’s a gateway to having a conversation. After such an exchange, I’ve had folks invite me over for dinner! You never know what you might find until you ask.
5. LOOK BEHIND YOU.
This is an age-old travel adage, but I find it works brilliantly when I’m out in the field. Let’s imagine you’re photographing an incredible bit of architecture, say the Eiffel Tower or Florence’s Duomo. You’re obsessing over the details and how to get it all in the frame. Click. Now simply turn around! You may be missing a far more interesting scene occurring while you’re taking the same photos everyone else is. No matter how engrossed in the shot I’m taking, I try to turn around to see what’s just behind me.
I hope these tips will help you right away. If you wanna hang out with Leela and me in Italy this summer, see the Italy photo workshop details.