I’ve made no secret of the fact that until I became a LUMIX ambassador I didn’t really have a handle on the technical aspects of photography. techniques that will make you a better travel photographer
Sure, I could frame an image and capture a breath-taking landscape on my smart phone with some finesse, but give me a DSLR and tell me to shoot in manual mode and my Instagram feed would promptly descend into a mass of badly exposed chaos.
There’s been no substitute for hands on experience in my case. Keen to produce some engaging photography content to share here on my blog, I threw myself head first into photography guides and forum discussions and I’m pleased to say that the experience has taught me a thing or two about shooting in RAW.
Want to turn your hand to DSLR photography but don’t know where to start? Buying camera equipment for travelling? Here’s my guide to five no-nonsense techniques that will make you a better travel photographer. techniques that will make you a better travel photographer
Use manual exposure
Second nature to some and a scary prospect to others, manual exposure mode is a must for every photographer. When shooting in manual exposure mode you have greater control of the image you’re capturing as you are able to adjust the aperture, ISO, and shutter speed; the three major factors that affect the exposure of your shot.
When you set up your camera to shoot the scene in from of you, you should consider what it is that you want to capture. How much depth of field do you want within your shot? Are you exposing for bright sunlight or dark shadows?
Manually adjusting the aperture and shutter speed encourages you to think about the exposure of your shot and how you want your image to look – and for the most part taking the time to think creatively before you point and shoot can only be a good thing.
Want to read more? Try this guide covering How To Shoot In Manual Exposure Mode
Shoot using just one focal length
You might be tempted to think that having more lenses will make you a better photographer. With the freedom to snap on a new lens depending on what you’re shooting, it’s easy to see why there’s a misconception that more kit = more creativity.
I’m actually of the opposite opinion.
I think that restricting yourself to one focal length (35mm is perhaps the most versatile), will encourage you to explore your subjects in greater detail, find new angles, and develop a deeper understanding of depth of field control at the focal length – there’s less depth of field at any given aperture as focal length increases.
Shoot in 4K Photo mode when photography fast paced action
Since becoming a LUMIX Ambassador I’ve spent a lot of time shooting with my GH4 in 4K Photo mode and I’ve fast come to realise that the function has encouraged me to shoot more challenging action sequences and create engaging compositions by incorporating movement into my shots.
While manual exposure mode is perfect for shooting panoramic vistas, capturing a slow moving sequence via time-lapse or long exposure, or simply taking a portrait, 4K Photo mode is ideal when you simply don’t have time to set up your shot and consider how best to capture a moving scene.
The feature is also beneficial in situations where you’re unsure of when the action you want to capture will occur. For example, if you’re waiting for a whale to breach the surface of the ocean, or a bird to take flight from its perch on a branch, you can use the GH4’s loop recording feature (which films 4K Photo shorts on a loop saving the most recent five videos), until you capture the moment you were waiting for.
Want to learn more? Find out how 4K Photo Mode Can Enhance Your Travel Photography
Get acquainted with your spot metre
While your DSLR employs sophisticated light sensors and composition-analysing algorithms to routinely nail correct exposures in full auto mode, messing around with the spot-metre when you’re looking at a shot is another way to develop your understanding of exposure.
Whereas your camera will calculate exposure settings for the scene ahead as a whole, the spot-metre option takes measurements from a single location. Designed to suggest settings that will expose the targeted spot as a mid-tone, you can get creative with the lighting in your image by changing the focus of the spot throughout the contrasting areas of your shot.
Check your histogram
Understanding the histogram and how it tracks your exposure is key in helping to make you a better photographer. The simple graph which can be viewed on your camera or during post processing indicates the brightness values ranging from 0 (black) to 255 (white) of the pixels that make up your image.See also
While most DLSR cameras offer instantaneous previews of the image you’ve just taken, it can be difficult to review the quality of what you’ve captured on a small LCD screen. Whereas when you look at the data served up within the image’s histogram, you can get a clear picture of exactly what information you’ve captured in your shot.
Most importantly, your histogram also tells you about the contrast of the scene. This allows you to avoid – or at least take special care with – subjects that have a greater range of brightness than your sensor can cope with.
Make a note to review the histograms of your next set of shots and you’ll soon build up a good picture of how light and dark areas translate into a scene, and how altering your exposure impacts the spread of your histogram.
What to find out more? Take a look at these photography cheat sheets for achieving perfect exposure.
Get creative with the result
Curate your shots into a themed photo book to share with you friends! By implementing these no nonsense techniques I’ve improved my photography dramatically. Also, if you are so inclined, you can even try selling your photos online and rake in a nice profit. Just think, soon you could be making money doing something you enjoy!
Want to see more of my travel photography? Check out more of my guides in the photography section of my blog or follow me on Instagram for daily #travelgrams from the road.
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What top techniques do you think made you a better photographer?