5 Tips for Photography While Traveling

Super Photo Magic School

As I set out for an adventure to Italy this morning, I'm thinking a lot about how I shoot on the move. For me, photographing what's in front of me really makes me digest what I'm looking at. It's the ultimate vehicle for staying present, taking things slow and examining, exploring and really paying attention to new experiences. Here are some tips that I like to keep in mind . . .

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1) Don't be afraid to photograph people while traveling. One strategy is to ask for permission — most of the time people say yes, especially when the question is framed in a compliment: "I love your outfit, would you mind being in my photo?"

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2) Look at what's behind you. Maybe you're at a tourist attraction and there are myriads of people photographing the site — turn around. The better shot could be the gathering of crazy tourists all trying to shoot the same thing. One of my favorite images is the wild throngs of crazed travelers all photographing the Taj Mahal, far more interesting than my photos of the dazzling Indian tomb.

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3) Vary up you sense of scale. Try shooting big dramatic landscapes, medium shots of gorgeous architecture and then get close, very close to the way your pastry looks with your coffee at breakfast or the fabulous bedding folds in your hotel room. These little details can weave texture and story into your overall gallery of images of a place.

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4) Always have your camera on you. Even if it's just the camera on your phone. You'll be kicking yourself if you step out into a fabulous night market after dinner and you've left your camera behind because you're now "relaxing." There's an opportunity around every corner for newness when traveling — that's what makes this special time so fulfilling! Don't regret an amazing photo opportunity.

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5) Shoot in AV mode. If your camera has an "Aperture Priority" mode, you're going to be a lot better off than shooting in Auto. This setting allows for the lowest possible aperture in each shot, so your images will have a more romantic, shallow depth of field look when you get close to something. Your landscape or 'far away' shots will not be affected. Major subjects (people, statues, produce, objects) will stay in focus, while the background will be softer.

Do you shoot while traveling? Do you have any photo strategies you keep in mind? Do share!

XOXO,
Leela the Photo Magiciian

(Images by Leela Cyd Ross)