When we asked for feedback on the blog we got a lot of comments that we showcase great photos, and one reader even asked if we could share tips on how to take better travel photos. At first we thought "we can't do that, we're not photographers". Then we thought again and realised that we've probably learnt a lot over the years and might still have some tips to share.
So here are our personal tips, based entirely on our own personal experience. There will be no advice on shutter speeds and settings, but some thoughts and ideas on how you can easily get better looking photos with better and more fun subjects. Feel free to share your best tips!
1. Get a good camera
A good camera is far from everything, but it helps. Today's mobile phone cameras are relatively good and many of our tips can be applied to a mobile phone camera. If you want to take really good pictures, and have a few more options, it's worth investing in a system camera.
2. Go close
Don't be afraid to get close! Sometimes a sky, a beach or a crowd of people is an important part of the composition, and these areas should of course take up space in the picture. Other times, the focus is on a person, an animal or a gadget, and in these cases you often gain by getting closer and avoiding a lot of "unnecessary" surroundings around the subject. Sometimes you can even cut a piece of the person's face to really get into the picture.
3. make sure there are things happening in the image
Many photos can be technically excellent, but still become boring. This is easy to happen, for example, when photographing landscapes and nature. Often this is because it is not hands something in the image. Always look for something that makes the image exciting. Sometimes it can be something quite small, like a flower in the foreground that has lost a few leaves or a bird looking out over the sea.
Other times it can be fun to take pictures where lots of things are happening at once: trams opening their doors to new passengers, mops trying to get between stationary cars and people carrying shopping bags. Another thing to keep in mind is that pictures are often more interesting when the subject is not right in the centre, but slightly to the right or left of the frame.
4. Keep track of the background
Often you have a main subject for the photo, but it's also important to know what's in the background. Sometimes you want the background to be as clean as possible. Other times, it can be fun with life and movement, and sometimes you manage to include an extra fun detail. Above all, it can be good to make sure that people in the background don't lose a head or just show their nose in the picture.
5. capturing everyday life and mishaps
When you're travelling, you want to take pictures of the beautiful beach, the sunset and the charming boats in the harbour, which is great! But it can also be fun to document the more mundane, or the things that don't go as planned. Don't forget to take photos when you have to spend the night at an airport because of delays, when the kids are playing cards in the hotel room, or when your car breaks down and you have to wait for a tow truck.
6. Join in yourself - sometimes
Is it fun to just take selfies while travelling? No, of course not. But it can also be boring and impersonal if you never see the "main characters" in pictures. Don't just take photos in front of the Eiffel Tower and the pyramids, but take photos of each other when you're travelling. do something. Occasionally, it may be worth using the selfie stick or asking someone else to take a picture of you together.
7. Avoid the 'classics' - be creative instead
The first time someone wrote "he trembles like an aspen leaf" it was creative and neat. Every time someone repeats it, it's a boring and poor imitation. It's exactly the same with photos! Feet in the sunbed in front of the sea may have been fun once, but not anymore. It just feels like you've seen the picture before.
The worst thing right now is what's on so many travel blogs, namely girls from behind in hats dreamily looking out over a beach/forest/city. This was certainly creative and innovative once upon a time, but now it's just ... tiring. The tip is to come up with anything, as long as you don't do exactly the same as everyone else.
8. When shooting views - include a foreground
You've probably been there. You go up to a vantage point, get a great view and take lots of photos, which are then ... super boring. Views are beautiful in real life, but are often flat, boring and uninteresting in photos. Try to include something in the foreground, such as a tree branch or a cat, to add depth and dimension to the image.
9. try a different angle
A different angle can sometimes do wonders for a photo. Many times it can be effective to put the camera at the same height as the subject, i.e. to take a picture of the flower from the front instead of from above. It may also be worth trying to photograph your subject from the side, at an angle, or focusing on some small detail in the big picture.
10. Avoid lightning - even in the dark
Flash photography often produces a "cold" light and it is easy for people to get red eyes. Our tip is to take photos without a flash, even in the evening when it's a bit dark. A good camera will be able to capture the available light and the images will have much warmer and more beautiful colours.
The challenge is to avoid blurring, which is easy to do. You have to hold the camera really still, or use a tripod, and take lots of pictures. If someone or something moves in any of the pictures, it will be blurred, so it's good to have a lot of pictures to choose from.
11. Photographing food with a macro lens
We think food is an important part of travelling, so we like to document some of the dishes we eat. However, a boring steak and chips is pretty boring to look at, no matter how good the photo is.
One tip is to only take photos of food that stands out in some way - by being exotic, differently composed or perhaps extra nicely presented. We've also noticed that our food photos look best when Peter uses his macro lens.
12. Edit quickly and easily
Editing the images slightly can improve the quality a lot, but you don't need expensive software or advanced skills. We edit in the programmes that are included in the basic version of the computer.
I (having a PC) open my pictures with "Microsoft Office". There you can reduce or increase brightness, reduce or increase contrast and reduce or increase saturation. That goes a long way!