Photography is an art. An art that captures moments and tells stories that cross boundaries, cultures and people.
Everyone is already a photographer in today’s world. Highly efficient camera phones mean that almost all of us can click. So, what is it that separates the genius from the crowd? What are the secrets, experiences and mistakes of the most amazing travel photographers that make them who they are. And how can we get a little bit closer to them?
To learn a bit more about this form of art that most us think we can master, we talked to Dan Houde to share some of his behind the scenes insights and give tips for those of us looking to learn and improve our photography skills.
The top 8 frequently asked questions about travel photography, straight from the expert:
1. What is the best time of day to take a picture?
There’s never a bad time to take a shot but by shooting around sunrise, sunset, and before or after storms, you increase your chances of capturing a money shot.”
2. Should I learn the photography skills professionally or learn on the go through trial and error?
One has to balance this – It is important that you passionately learn about photography. Learn about the nuances of covering angles, lights, and other hacks. Frankly, no one can do this for you. You must do it yourself.
Read, watch videos, go to seminars, take photo workshops, and shoot with others as much as possible. While doing this go out and shoot as frequently as possible on your own to experiment.
3. How to choose the best location for a portrait?
Capture the best view by creating interesting elements or layers in your photography. If there’s a beautiful sunset developing find something to put in the foreground – an old tree, and interesting structure, or something with texture. It’s always best to plan ahead. For example, find the interesting foreground element first then add the sunrise or sunset.
4. Any tips for street photography and how to take photos of people?
Don’t over complicate things with unnecessary explanations of “how to look” when capturing moments. Create situations for them to behave as naturally as possibly. What works with kids works with adults.
Learn how to say “Hello” in the local Language, and greet the locals when clicking their photograph.
Ask for their permission. Being polite to them will help you leverage the best opportunities without any conflict.
5. How to capture your imagination with photography?
Photography is not merely an execution of techniques. Get in touch with the place you are in. Get off the often taken routes and venture into places left unexplored.
Make it your mission to find and capture the untrodden path. Create a list of areas of interest and note special features such as the direction they face. Once you find the scene you hope to capture, compose different angles which will add layers to your photo. Then return when the lighting is most interesting to get the “money” shot.
6. How to choose the camera & lens for travel photography?
For my needs personally the brand makes no difference. I use both fx and dx bodies mostly being careful that I have enough resolution for each purpose. Wide angle vs telephoto options are always important as is the speed of the lens. A lightweight and heavy duty tripod is essential depending on how your getting to your location.
I hike, climb or ski to my spots so I go with a lightweight more often. Filters, esp around water and during fall foliage are key. A good solid hiking bag with heavy duty zippers is essential. Adobe Lightroom processes RAW images better than most anything else, in my opinion. Again, each photographic goal will dictate additional equipment needs.
7. Can you mentor budding photographers and take online photography workshops?
Yes, I do offer workshops. The natural ability to compose and see potential images is important and difficult to teach. Students need to be willing to use manual camera settings, shoot in RAW, and shoot often.
8. Advice on how to take professional travel photos?
Art is not a race. Take time to capture the best looks. Experiment with the modes of transportation. Buses, trains, carts, bicycles, etc. will let your eyes taste the local flavors. Do not try to pack it all in, give yourself the time to learn and grow. Sometimes, leave the tool of your choice- the camera behind. Just look without the impulse to capture anything. Just look, you can always come back with your camera.
Still here? Check these hacks for capturing great pictures using your camera phone:
- Shoot low to the ground or up high to capture unique angles.
- Use grid lines to balance your shot.
- Pay attention to detail and experiment with colors and filters.
- Anchor scenic landscapes with foreground elements.
- Use photo editing apps like: Photoshop Express and Pixlr
- For filters, you can try Snapseed, VSCO Cam and Spotliter
- Use third party camera apps like Camera+ (iOS) and ProCapture Free (Android).
- Specialized functions include Slow Shutter Cam (iOS), Night Cam and Pro HDR (iOS, Android).
About Dan Houde
Dan Houde of Wiseguy Creative Photography is an accomplished and published photographer with a 20-year marketing career rooted in the tourism and hospitality industry of Northern New England.
Houde sets out weekly to capture the scenic landscapes and unique recreational opportunities which visitors from all over the world come to experience.
In addition to being a contracted photographer for the Mt Washington Valley and Jackson Chambers of Commerce, Dan also teaches outdoor photography workshops.