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10 More Ways for Amateurs to Photograph Their Travels Like a Pro

Continuing from last week’s list, here are 10 more tips on how to take amazing photos while travelling.

Tip 1: Go for Candid Shots

It is true that posed shots can work fairly well, especially if you need to get a specific shot. However, more often than not these often look unauthentic. Keep your eyes peeled and capture your subject doing something they would normally do in their daily life.

Tip 2: Include More than One Subject

Photos with only one person in them can look great, but so can shots with two or more people. However, like above, photos will be elevated if they are more than people standing and staring at the camera.

Tip 3: Take Photos of a Variety of People

Make sure to expand your subjects beyond people wearing the national costume, which is often worn just for tourists. Look for people of different genders, ages and types to create a ‘faces of a country’ collage.

Tip 4: Be Aware of Your Background

If possible, try to frame your shots to have an uncluttered background that complements, or  at least does not distract from the subject of the photo.

Tip 5: Capture Images that Evoke Emotions

Photos are more than just telling the facts of a story. Instead, use them to elicit an emotion from the viewer and you’ll find the photos appreciated and more engaging than they otherwise would have been.

Tip 6: Shoot into the Sun

This may go against previous advice you have received, but aiming to capture a natural sunburst will often result in interesting and dynamic photos. If attempting this angle, try having the sun peek out from behind a variety of interesting subjects.

Tip 7: Take Advantage of Overcast Conditions

Overcast conditions provide soft, even light that results in low-contrast images and can bring out colours and details. Waterfalls, woodlands, gardens, interiors all benefit from overcast days.

Tip 8: Shoot Cities at Night

Cities transform at night with many unsightly details fading away in the darkness and other details coming alive with lights illuminating them in magical ways.

Tip 9:  Include Silhouettes at Sunset

Most, if not all photographers try to capture a brilliant sunset at least once, though often the photos turn out less that stellar. A simple, but effective way to improve them is to include a distinctive subject in silhouette.

Tip 10:  Capture Moving Animals

Use both eyes by having one look through the viewfinder while the other keeps an eye on the animal to anticipate its movement. Then increase the ISO to freeze the movement of the animal.

10 Ways for Amateurs to Photograph Their Travels Like a Pro

Experiences…stories…memories…photos… In addition to a few physical souvenirs, these are what remain after travelling to prove that a trip actually happened. Again, besides the souvenirs, photos are the ones that hold up best to time. While memories and stories fade, photos remain, especially now that they have become digitalized.

Sadly, the truth is that many travellers just don’t know how to take a good photo. There is more to it than randomly pointing and clicking. The following are 10 tips that will elevate the quality of photos taken by any traveller with a camera.

Tip 1: Shoot different angles

Instead of taking all photos from eye-level, move the camera higher or lower or sideways to get more interesting images.

Tip 2: Take three shots for each scene

Capture a wide shot to provide the location and context of the image. Then communicate the action of the scene with a mid shot and the emotion with a close up or detail shot.

Tip 3: Use the ‘Rule of Thirds’

Divide a framed scene horizontally and vertically into three and place the focus of the shot along one or two of these lines rather than smack dab in the middle.

Tip 4: Fill your frame

Unless done on purpose, make sure that there isn’t a lot of extra space around the focus of the shot, whether it be a group shot or an individual shot.

Tip 5: Add in a person

Add human interest and a sense of scale to an otherwise ordinary shot by including a person doing something active.

Tip 6: Look for patterns

Take photos of textures, rows and groups of local objects, explosions of colour and similar elements.

Tip 7: Take photos of everything of interest

To capture memories of your trips, look for anything that stands out to you, including items that are unique and/or representative of a location.

Tip 8: Use fill-flash in bright and sunny conditions

Even out a photo by filling in the shadows and bringing out the colours by using the fill-flash in appropriate conditions.

Tip 9: Get white balance right

Adjust white balance settings so that white objects are captured as white instead of some other colour.

Tip 10: Read your histograms

Find your histogram while reviewing images, usually by pressing the Info button on your camera. The graph shows the shadow information on the left and the highlight information on the right. You ideally want to have an exposure that has the graph as far over to the right without going over the end.

Why Do Reviews Differ for the Same Hotel or Tour?

Unlike the guidebooks of twenty or even ten years ago, in today’s world of travel, most people are now looking online at blogs, social media and review sites such as TripAdvisor to determine travel details. While this is great in many ways, it also has its own flaws. Who do you trust when the same hotel or tour is said to be horrible by one reviewer and spectacular by another?

Travel is an intangible service, not a physical product, making it all the more challenging to have consistency over time. Services like travel are reliant on outside factors that are often hard to control, including weather, local and world events, expectations and the people both providing and receiving the service. For example, if two people do the same tour at two different times, the traveller with clear blue skies and warm weather will generally have a better impression of the trip than the person who is stuck with stormy weather, which has nothing to do with the tour itself. The same goes if a natural disaster, political unrest or even holidays interrupt a trip.

People and expectations is where the matter gets interesting. Unless it is automated, a service needs people to provide it to the consumer. In travel, this can mean a flight attendant, tour guide, hotel desk staff, waiter, driver, ticket seller and more. Ideally the company and consumer expects anyone providing a service to give the same quality to everyone they serve, every second they are on the clock. However, just like you and me, these people will have good days and bad days, be more or less skilled than their colleagues, and like or dislike their clients. Any of these factors can affect the level of service from the same provider day-to-day, or even hour-to-hour.

The same as above is also true on the traveller’s side. To begin with, a traveller’s mood will fluctuate, often due to something unrelated to their current travels, and this will skew their opinion of the experience. Since the traveller is human (hopefully), they may or may not even like the person providing the service, often unexplainably, and this will affect their review. In addition, being human means that everyone is different in their interests and expectations. One traveller may only consider a tour amazing if there are five star hotels with guaranteed hot water, western-style meals, private transportation and no deviations from the itinerary. Then we have the traveller who is ecstatic with locally run hotels where hot water is sporadic, regional restaurants serving local foods and drinks, trains and rickshaws, and the opportunity to take advantage of unexpected events and twists in the schedule.

All of the above factors influence travel reviews and give at least some explanation regarding discrepancies in ratings. The main thing to remember is to dig a bit deeper into the reviews and not always take them at face value. Look at the overall trends, read a few of the details to see what is being commented about, and look at other ratings by the same reviewer. After all, if someone only ranks things as fives, they are very possibly being rewarded for their reviews or are extremely easy to please. If someone only ranks things as ones, then said person is very likely a troll or someone overly difficult to please. And if someone complains that they were told a trip would take 15 minutes when it really took 18, you’ve got to ask yourself if you really want to use their review as a reference.

Five Biking Journeys for the Adventurous Cyclist

Bicycles may change, but cycling is timeless and one of the best ways to explore a destination. Instead of having a home base and branching out from there, biking tours allow travellers to journey point-to-point and delve deep into the local culture. It is important that anyone who embarks on a biking journey is prepared for long days in the saddle. However, if you are ready for the challenge, you won’t be disappointed.

The following are some examples of biking adventures that begin in one destination and end in another.


Mountain Biking Coast to Coast in Scotland

The goal of this epic tour is to bike across a lush and rugged Highland landscape from the west coast to the east coast of Scotland.

 

 

Biking The High Atlas to The Sahara in Morocco

This mountain biking adventure has adventurers ride from the High Atlas Mountains to the Sahara Desert in the deep south of Morocco.

 

 

Biking Luang Prabang to Chiang Mai from Laos to Thailand

Cyclists will discover rural Asian culture and varying landscapes on this journey from undiscovered Laos to thriving Thailand.

 

 

The Ride to Conquer Costa Rica

This challenging adventure will cross from the Caribbean coast to the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica solely by bike.

 

 

Cycling Cuba Havana to Trinidad

Cyclists will explore rural villages, culturally rich cities, and vibrant countryside as they make their way across Central Cuba.

 

Seven International Marathons For Travellers

For many people travel is only considered as a way to remove oneself from everyday life and have a chance to relax and rejuvenate. On the other hand there are many people who look at travel as a way to challenge themselves physically and mentally in ways they don’t do at home.

One prime example is runners who travel around the world to participate in international marathons. You can find marathons in most countries, but some are more exciting than others when considered from a traveller’s point of view.

The following is a list of just some of the marathons around the world that would appeal to a traveller who also happens to be a runner. And of course, many of these destinations are great places that beg to have the trip extended to include an adventure tour.

Marathon des Sables in Morocco (April)

The Marathon des Sables is a six-day ultra-marathon in the Sahara Desert, considered the toughest foot race on Earth. Consider extending your trip before or after the race and bike the High Atlas to the Sahara.

Easter Island Marathon in Chile (June)

Every year 150 runners can tackle the route from the main town of Hanga Roa to Anakena Beach, passing by the famous Moai monolithic stone statues throughout the race. If you like to hike, Chile’s Patagonia is a great place to wind down after your race.

Inca Trail Marathon to Machu Picchu in Peru (Summer)

Run the original Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, passing ruins of Inca fortresses and descending through cloud forest to the Sun Gate and the incomparable Machu Picchu. Consider extending your trip to include the Amazon, Lake Titicaca and/or Arequipa.

Ston Marathon in Croatia (September)

Run along the famous Ston wall, the second longest wall in Europe and keep your eyes open to enjoy spectacular views of the Adriatic coast and its islands. The Southern Adriatic coast is a great place to stay and bike, hike, kayak and snorkel on a Dubrovnik adventure.

Tamarindo Beach Marathon in Costa Rica (September)

Enjoy the natural scenery of one of the most visited areas of the country on this popular marathon. Once you have completed the race, get away from the crowds and continue to explore more of this adventure-lovers country by biking, hiking, kayaking & whitewater rafting on a coast to coast adventure.

Athens Marathon in Greece (November)

The Athens Classic Marathon begins in the town of Marathon and makes it way to Athens, running along the same route that is believed to have been run by a messenger in Ancient Greece from the Battle of Marathon to Athens to announce the Greeks’ victory over the Persians. After reliving history, take it a bit easier island hopping between some Greek Islands.

Volcano Marathon in Chile (November)

The world’s highest marathon (average altitude) starts in the Atacama Desert beside the most active volcano in northern Chile and includes panoramic views of up to 10 volcanoes. Extend your trip to bike, hike, & raft Chile’s Lake District.