Guest Blog #3 Our third guest blog comes from Leigh Diprose: Fuji Employee, Fuji Ambassador and Senior Contributor to fstoplounge.com. Leigh has taken the time to consider the question: How do you take great travel photos?
Mastering Travel Photography
by Leigh Diprose
It’s a common question and one we will explore in this article, but first let’s talk about gear.
If you’re planning a trip overseas, interstate or on your next holiday, there are a few things you should think about when it comes to capturing memories.
One of the first things to think about is what type of camera you should take. Rather than capturing photos with a smartphone, consider capturing photographs with a Mirrorless camera that will enable you to get in close to your subject without having to sacrifice image resolution.
With the current line up of Fujifilm X-Series cameras available there are plenty of options for lens combinations and X-Series camera bodies that will offer you a range of focal lengths, ensuring you get the best travel photos at an affordable price.
Three travel lens combinations worth considering are the versatile XF18-135mm F3.5-5.6, XF10-24mm F4 ultra wide angle and for the professional there’s the XF16-55mm F2.8 wide lens. A mix of these lenses will offer a great combination for capturing scenic locations, family portraits, abstract images and the general travel photos you might want to take along the way.
When you couple either of these lenses with a Fujifilm X-T10 or X-T1 camera, your carry on luggage will weigh a lot less than a digital SLR equivalent thanks to the lightweight construction and small size. Additionally these two benefits are a huge advantage to your back when you have a camera around your neck the whole day!
Now that you have your gear all sorted how can you improve your travel photography?
Below you’ll find eight travel photography tips that will make a huge difference to your photo album.
Tip 1: Get down low and include foreground interest
Whenever you see a scene rather than taking the photo while you’re standing up, try getting down low to change your perspective of the scene. Think about incorporating objects in the foreground of your frame. What this will do is create foreground interest and offer some perspective to the viewer.
Tip 2: Use a circular polariser
If you plan on visiting a place with harsh light during the day (like Australia or the Pacific Islands) then a circular polariser is a must. When using this special screw in filter on the front of your lens, you’ll retain all the details in the highlight areas (typically the sky).
Often, without a filter the sky will become blown out and overexposed as there is a difference in exposure between the land and sky. By rotating the front ring on the circular polarising filter you can adjust the polarisation of the filter to darken the sky and even out the exposure.
Tip 3: Carry a lightweight small tripod
The reason to include a small tripod in your travel kit (like a 3 Legged Thing Tripod) is so you can capture the sunrise and sunset. If you plan on holding your camera during these golden times, then you’ll most likely end up with blurry photos. By using a tripod, combined with the camera's self timer (or optional cable release) you’ll be able to photograph long exposures that are blur free.
Tip 4: Change your camera's white balance at sunset
If you want a rich warm colour at sunrise or sunset then change your camera’s white balance from ‘Auto’ to ‘Shade’ or ‘Cloudy’. When you do this your photos will instantly appear warmer. Just remember to change your white balance back to ‘Auto’ once the light has disappeared.
Tip 5: Wait until you can no longer see the sun
When you see a sunset happening wait until the sun completely disappears if you want to get the best light. It’s during this period (that will last around 15-20 mins) that the sun in most cases will provide warm soft light onto the clouds and ‘light up the sky’. This is the moment where you want to make sure your camera is on a tripod and your white balance has been changed.
Tip 6: Carry a Instax Share Printer
If you want to take the best portrait shots of people while you travel try giving them an instant print. Start up a conversation with them first and then proceed to take their photo. In exchange for the photo you can offer them an instant print directly from your Instax Share Printer.
The majority of Fujifilm X-Series cameras connect wirelessly to the printer (with no internet connection needed). Simply take the photo, preview it on the back of the camera and send it directly to the printer. Once the photo has printed out you can leave it with the person you just photographed. In most cases this should lead to another opportunity to take an even better photo of them smiling.
Tip 7: Carry spare batteries and more memory than you think you’ll need
Ensure you have enough spare batteries to last a full day and night without having to charge them. If you’re using a Fujifilm X-T10 or X-T1 it’s recommended that you take around two extra batteries. The other essential to take is memory cards. Think about taking multiple smaller sized cards rather than one large one. In other words you don’t want to carry all your eggs in one basket just in case one gets lost with all of your photos.
Tip 8: Look behind you
One of the simplest pieces of advice for travel photography is to look behind you. Often the light may change behind you while you’re photographing or there could be even a better scene just waiting to be captured. Allow yourself the time to explore the scene around you, find your composition and master it!
Hopefully with these simple tips you’ll be able to master travel photography like a professional does! Remember, sometimes the best thing you can do, is to put your gear down and enjoy the culture and beauty that surrounds you without taking a photo.