top tips for great travel pho­tog­ra­phy…

from Canon mas­ter riChard l’an­son

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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.

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