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Photo tips for the travelling photographer

January 18, 2016

After travelling and capturing the places I have been, I thought I would let you in on a few secrets to make your travel photos look like the ones on the postcards (and Itchy Feet Escapades).  My name is Guy and I am the photographer behind the lens of Guy Watson Photography.


Everything thing people do these days is documented by photos.  So much as the online space is dominated with millions of photos.  These can be taken by your smart phone – quick access for uploading, a point and shoot – lightweight, DSLR’s (digital Single Lens reflex) – for the more advanced and the latest on the market, mirrorless cameras.



Choose your equipment carefully.  Remember you will have to carry it, so taking lots of lens with you will weigh you down.


I travel with:

- Nikon D3000 (a little outdated in today’s standard)

- 18-55mm Nikon Lens

- 55-200mm Nikkor Lens

- Flash

- Gorilla trip pod


Once you have decided on the camera you are going to take, it comes down to the fun part – taking the photos.



  • Make sure the light is on your subject.  This could be a natural light like the sun or a flash.  I tell people a camera takes photo of light not colour.  For example, if you are in a dark room, you will not be able to see any colour as there is no light to shine on the items.


  • Purchase yourself a ‘bounce flash’ to light up the dark areas.  The bounce flash is great for when you are out at a party or in a shaded area.  It will use any surface to bounce the light onto your subject. 


  • Decide on what you want in the photograph.   This will save you plenty of time when you come round to editing a photo.  Don’t point and shoot at anything without thinking what you want in the photo.  Decide if it is the dog or the way the building casts a shadow.


  • Don’t try and fill the frame with as many objects as possible.  This takes away from the photo itself and won’t allow the viewer to see what you are showcasing.


  • Don’t cut off the top of a building or the paw of a dog.  Your main subject needs to be in the whole of the photograph.  No one wants to see 3 quarters of the Eifel Tower. 


  • Whilst taking photos of animals and humans, concentrate on their eyes. The eyes of a subject can tell the viewer a lot about the emotions shown in the photo.


  • Take photos from where other people are and from spots where they are not.  Someone else may have a great eye in picking a worthy subject.  Then again you may be the person with the great eye.


  • Use the rules of thirds.  Using the photo to the right as an example, imagine the photo is cut into thirds on the horizontal and vertical.  These represent a natural focus point for human eyes.


  • You may only get 3 good photos out of 100.  Not every shot you take will be a great photo.  I sometimes only get 1 or two shots from a series of photos.


  • Take the shot from different angles.  It is time to get low to the ground or high above.


  • Take photos in the morning or 1 hour before and after dusk and dawn.  I have mentioned previously excellent light is needed to get the great photo.  In the morning, the light is soft and not washed out.  During dusk and dawn you can see the sky lit up with numerous colours.




  • The cropping tool is the most useful.  Remove any unwanted objects in the frame.


  • Create a watermark but don’t make it too big that it overtakes the photos focus.  This will help when people decide to use your photo without your permission.


  • Straighten your photo to ensure the horizon is horizontal. 


  • Change your brightness and contrast.  The contrast changes the difference between shadows and bright parts of your photo.


  • Change you vibrancy and saturation.  Be careful not to change your saturation too much as it will make the colours feel unrealistic.



  • When posting photos online, less is more.  Nobody likes it when an album has over 100 photos.  Unless each photo is unique.



  • Print out your favourite photos and keep an album on your coffee table.  This is how people use to show photos before the days of the internet.  They can be something you treasure this way.


  • You can sell your photos on websites such as Shutterstock, Red Bubble etc.  Those types of companies will house your photos for free and pay you a commission every time someone purchases the shot.


Do you have any more tips for taking great photos?  Why not leave a comment on our Facebook page or via our contact page.

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