Five travel photography tips for your next vacation

Published 7:00 pm Tuesday, March 20, 2012

(ARA) – Nine out of 10 people are planning to take two or more leisure trips this year, according to TripAdvisor’s 2012 Travel Trends Forecast survey. Of these travelers, 42 percent are planning cultural trips that combine precious downtime with enriching experiences. But no matter where or why people take trips this year, how can travelers make their getaways more memorable and share their experiences with others?

“Whether you’re traveling half-way around the world or within your home state this year, you can capture these experiences and create lasting memories with your favorite digital device,” says Gail Fisher, former senior photo editor for National Geographic and the Los Angeles Times and current department chair of visual journalism at Brooks Institute, a leading provider of higher education for film, graphic design, visual journalism and photography. “It’s more than just snapping photos during your vacation. It’s about telling a visual story.”

Fisher offers these five tips to help capture your favorite memories on your next vacation:

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Do advance research. Buy travel books and look online at photos to get a better understanding of where you’re going and what you’ll see. Talk to tourism centers and ask for recommendations based on your interests. Consider making an advance list of attractions or areas you want to photograph to help plan your trip and the visual story you want to tell about your experiences.

Be a backpack journalist. With technology these days, it’s easy to have a picture or video camera on hand at all times – just like backpack journalists, who have creative control over the stories they tell since they act as reporters, videographers and producers. Travelers can take a similar approach. Consider capturing both still and video images, and spend time interacting or talking with locals who may be able to tell you stories beyond what you’ll read in travel books.

Tell a visual story. Whether you’re an aspiring videographer or enjoy capturing everyday life on your digital camera, it’s all about telling a great story to help translate the feelings you experienced at that moment to others. Go beyond shooting famous landmarks and traditional subjects. Find and capture everyday moments and people who can help bring to life the area’s culture, history and story.

Take your time. Never be satisfied with your first shot. Instead, consider taking several photos to get yourself comfortable with the subject. Then, get creative by trying different angles, camera settings, lenses and lighting. If your schedule allows, return to your point of interest at different times of the day to capture new elements. Early morning light and the ‘golden hour’ before dusk is a favorite for most professional photographers.

Shoot now, edit later. Don’t review each shot immediately after you take it. Instead, take multiple shots and edit later. At the end of the day, you’ll be able to reflect on your experiences and have a keener eye for those shots that invoke the same feelings and memories when you were in that particular moment. Also consider adding audio to your story by collecting natural sound or interviews while you’re in the field, or adding audio narration once you are back home and compiling your memories in a story that tells a narrative.