top tips for great travel photography…
from Canon master riChard l’anson
Having visited 85 countries on all seven continents, freelance travel photographer Richard l’Anson has built his career on his twin passions of travel and photography. With credits including Lonely Planet, Richard knows a thing or two about how to be best prepared to capture the perfect moment on your travels. Here, he reveals his top five tips:
01 make your subjeCt the foCus
One of the main rules of travel photography is to consider your subject. Make it your main point of focus and for a really successful travel photograph, apply your own take on the subject through the composition, lens and focal length that you choose.
02 be aware of the light you shoot in
Really great light exists twice a day – early morning and late in the day – but good light simply means that it’s the best available for your subject. Assess light before approaching your subject and you’ll also solve some common problems encountered when photographing people. For example, you can get them into the right light without actually moving them. As you ask for permission to take their picture, position yourself so their head will turn the way you want to enhance the light.
03 make assessments before asking permission
Always ask permission of your subject (it’s polite and how you’d expect to be treated), but before you do, prepare your camera so it’s ready to go. Set the focal length on the zoom lens to ensure the exposure is right by looking at the light on their face and in the background, then take the shot as quickly as possible. Don’t waste time by photographing people who don’t have nice light on them or a decent background. Make all these assessments first. Start by looking for head-and-shoulder shots where the frame is filled by zooming in to about 100mm (or the equivalent). This allows a nice frame-filling head-and-shoulder image without being too close, but still different. Then look for other shots. Quite often there’s a classic shot – the one that everybody wants to take – and it’s a great creative challenge to try and shoot it differently. Once you have that, move in a little closer and try for a different angle or take. This can take a bit of on-the-ground research so plan during the day. Consider where the light may be in the morning and evening, and move in very close to photograph details.
04 photograph your subjeCt in as many different situations as possible
05 photograph all subjeCts equally
A quick way to improve your travel photography is by photographing all subjects equally. Everybody makes a big effort to capture famous monuments and sites at the right time of day. For example, everyone will get up at sunrise to photograph the roads, morning light or the Taj Mahal, but if you photograph all subjects in great light (as you have at sunrise) then you can make even ordinary street scenes, boring statues or nondescript buildings interesting and worthy of photography… simply by treating them as you would the major attractions.