Greatest Tips for Stunning, Personal Shots
You don’t have to look too far back to recall the biggest yawn ever. Your friends just returned from vacation and they are bubbling with excitement. They want to share the experience with you, their best friends. You are invited for dinner and peppered with stories about their adventures. Dessert is served in the family room. For your benefit, you understand, since you are breathlessly waiting for the "Grand Finale", it’s time for the picture show! The room is properly dark and your hosts are anticipating oohs and ahhs as they reflect their photo streams and videos. "Here are Max and Jake and if you look carefully, you’ll see a bit of the Danube. And in the corner is a headless dress with shoes, who is of course, your hostess. What fun we had there!" And here they are again with Aunt Esther and the best thing was the stranger who shot the whole family, my wife and me included, shot it from too far, so we all look like ants, but the scenery is lovely, right? And so it goes for what feels like an eternity. Then out come the videos and, if you’re lucky, by that time you’re too comatose to care.
In the olden days the pictures would go into a shoe box and forgotten. Today, they get stored in the cloud or discarded to make space for the few good shots.
Here are my tips for taking GREAT travel photos:
1. Keep in mind that the ‘keeper’ photos are the ones that capture the spirit of the trip. Regardless of the quality of your camera, the spirit of the photos can be beautifully interesting. Always remember: people, places and things, mixed together meaningfully and creatively, make for the best pics.
2. Also the closer you are to your object, the better the outcome. If you don’t have a telephoto lens, try to get physically close. My own best picture was taken in Israel’s Carmel Market, of a very old Yemenite woman. Toothless, wrinkled face, selling pita. The lens caressed her face sharply, the stall and the Shuk less in focus. No pose, just frame and click.
3. Great photography runs in our family. Some of my nearest and dearest create art with mere travel shots. Some have the family frolicking in the midst of ancient ruins or sitting on rocks atop a whitewater river. Gorgeous kids with cool parents and an elephant and trees behind. The framing is important. To create interesting shots, the main object may have to be off center and not looking into the camera. It’s important to never pose your travel companions and say ‘cheese’. Those create the most self-conscious and boring pictures.
4. Photos which catch a mood and place the objects at an angle that’s either humorous or creatively artistic are also great. These shots will give you a collection you’ll cherish. Your friends will be grateful too.