To be a photographer, you have to act like a photographer
When you’re backpacking and travelling, you’re opening yourself up to some of the world’s most stunning sights and attractions. On a round the world trip, you could find yourself standing in front of the terrific Taj Mahal in India, overlooking the ancient ruins of magical Machu Picchu in Peru, or feeling the full force of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe; obviously you’ll want to capture the moment.
It doesn’t matter whether you’ve got a camera phone, a simple compact camera, or an advanced DSLR, the important thing is that you use it. After all, when you’re surrounded by beauty, the photos almost take themselves. However, to be a photographer, you have to act like a photographer, and that comes down to mentality more than anything else.
One of the greatest things about being on the road is you can’t help but be inspired and influenced by what you’re seeing and experiencing every day. How does that translate to photography? It lets you be creative.
Don’t just point and click, but really think about each and every shot before taking it. Think about the light and the shadows; think about the colours and the composition; think about what’s going on in the photo. Trust me when I say this, but you’re going to have a lot of time on your hands when you’re travelling; use it wisely and experiment with different apertures and exposures. You’ll quickly teach yourself what your camera is capable of, and you’ll quickly learn what each setting does.
If you see something that gives you that flash of inspiration, don’t just think “huh, that’s cool” and move on, but think, “actually, that is cool. If I take a photo at this angle I can get a completely different perspective.” You really do have to train yourself to view everything through the eye of a photographer.
Use Your Surroundings
On a round the world trip, you’re going to meet a million and one people, and even if you’re travelling on your own, you certainly won’t be for long.
If you’re already travelling with someone, use them in your photos. A model can really bring a photo to life, and again, if you experiment and practice with different compositions, you’ll soon be taking photos that are perfect for any blog or website.
One photo opportunity that you can’t miss up on is group photos. You’ll be surprised at how hard these are to find on the internet, so make sure you get as many group shots as you can. And remember the Fenton Rule – three girls and two guys jumping on a beach is the perfect ratio.
Take Your Time
Once you’ve seen something and you’ve captured it, make sure you’re happy with the results. Don’t just take the photo and move on, but check what it looks like on your camera’s display. I know that sounds obviously, but it’s all too easy to take a photo and walk on, only to get back to your hostel, look through all the photos you’ve taken that day, and find that the one photo you really wanted to capture is blurred.
Take your time. If you’ve imagined a picture in your mind’s eye, and you know exactly what you want, then make sure you get it!
Also, get yourself a 32gb / 64gb memory card and use the shotgun effect; if you take a number of pictures then you’ll know one or two of them will be keepers.So there you have it, some simple tips on being a photographer while backpacking and travelling. Now go forth and shoot.
If you’ve got any travel photography tips then why don’t you let me know in the comment box below?