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Five travel photography tips for your next vacation

By Aracontent

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Published: Fri 27 Apr 2012, 3:49 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 2:58 PM

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 travellers, 42 per cent are planning cultural trips that combine precious downtime with enriching experiences. But no matter where or why people take trips this year, how can travellers make their getaways more memorable and share their experiences with others around?

“Whether you’re travelling halfway around the world or within your country this year, you can capture these experiences and create lasting memories with your favourite 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 favourite memories on your next vacation:

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 centres 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. Travellers 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 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 styles. If your schedule allows, return to your point of interest at different times during the day to capture new elements. Early morning light and the ‘golden hour’ before dusk is a favourite 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.

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