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Improve Your Photography Skills before Getting Back on the Road

by Sarah Kaminski about a year ago in how to
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Experimenting with photography will not only help you pass the time until you can travel again but also help you see your ordinary surroundings from a fresher perspective.

The coronavirus pandemic has made it difficult, if not entirely impossible, to travel. For a long time now, many of us have been constrained within our cities and within the walls of our homes. Now, with the vaccine available, we’re all hoping that we’ll soon be dusting off our suitcases and finally traveling again.

But until that’s a definite reality, instead of posting throwback photos on social media and wallowing in your current circumstances, why not brush up on your photography skills?

Photography is a wonderful hobby to pursue because it forces us to be more present, among other things. Experimenting with it now will not only help you pass the time until you can travel again but also help you see your ordinary surroundings from a fresher perspective. In the meantime, you’ll develop an eye for great shots so that you’ll be able to take fantastic photos on your future adventures.

Here are some tips to help you plunge into the world of amateur photography.

Learn to Work with What You Have

Not all of us can afford a high-quality professional camera and lenses. And unless you’re planning on selling or displaying your photos at an exhibition, you definitely don’t need them either. Most professional photographers would tell you that it’s not the camera but the person who creates the image.

So, regardless of whether you’re using a DSLR or a good phone camera, make sure you explore the options it offers, including white balance, night shooting, ISO, and similar features. You can also get some affordable upgrades like a tripod and external flash to help you take better photos in different surroundings.

Theory, Then Practice

It may seem logical to you that you should go outside and practice taking photos until they become perfect. However, it will be useful to do some reading about the basics of photography before you go out and find your style. You don’t have to spend hours going through hundreds of pages of literature, but you can read specific travel photography tips that will help you observe your surroundings from a new angle and improve your skills. It can also help to observe artwork and professional photographs and learn from them about the colors, lighting, and composition.

Now Practice

The theoretical part will be the foundation of your success. You can give yourself tasks based on what you’ve read and try to fulfill them without leaving your city. Practice your photography inside your home too. Try to capture still objects and architecture in an interesting way. When outside, take landscape photos, but make sure you also try to capture the spirit of the people in your city. People photography can be the most exciting part of your travels, but it requires some courage and social skills. Don’t worry, though – practice makes perfect.

Find Your Angle

While you’re practicing, try to discover what you like to capture the most. Photography is not just about capturing things as they are. It’s about giving a certain scene your own stamp and sharing your impression about a place or a person.

Of course, the good old rule of thirds can help with mastering the basics of composition, but it’s not set in stone. Also, you can find a particular color or pattern that you can base your portfolio on (sure, you’re doing this just for fun, but amateurs can have portfolios too). Don’t try to mimic other photographers – look to their work for inspiration rather than instruction.

Lighting Matters

Lighting can make or break your photo. Too much direct sunlight can burn the photo. The darkness of night can make it unclear or grainy (if you increase the ISO level too much). You usually won’t be able to pick the time when you’re going to visit or discover something interesting when traveling, but it’s useful to know that the best pictures are taken during the golden hour – shortly after sunrise or before sunset. Also, you’ll want to learn to control the white balance and ISO options on your camera or phone, so you can adjust them to the lighting conditions indoors or outdoors.

Know Your Subjects

Many people say that taking photos on your travels takes away the magic. That may be true when you’re simply taking snapshots without true knowledge and perspective of the people or objects you are capturing.

While you’re planning your next adventure, get to know your destination by reading its history and discovering its monuments and attractions. When you get on-site, ask for a person’s permission if you want to take a photo of them. Introduce yourself and ask them to tell you something about themselves. This kind of human touch and a better understanding of your subject will help you capture them in a way that tells a deeper story.

Final Word

We hope that your next trip is going to happen soon. In the meantime, let these tips help you become a better “capturer” of events, places, moments, personalities, and emotions.

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Sarah Kaminski

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