This is probably the hardest part of my process to describe. Hiking in the highlands, I am privileged to have access to some amazing landscapes,; as I walk through them I am overwhelmed by options. This makes it hard to identify when I see a truly special scene, since it can be drowned out by choice. However, I can increase my awareness by asking myself a question every time I raise the viewfinder to my eye: “Why do I feed the need to photograph this scene?” It kicks starts a little bit of dialogue in my head. Once I’ve answered that question it naturally leads to others:
In many cases, this discussion takes place in a matter of seconds as I scan the image in my viewfinder. Often it results in a mental image of the photo I want to take. This part of my process isn’t limited to when I am actually in the landscapes I love photographing. I may get a feeling about a photo I want to take when I am reviewing images from a previous shoot, or I might see something completely unrelated that sparks an idea for a photograph.
Once I’ve got a reason for taking the photo—and hopefully have a mental image or at least a general mood I want to capture in the photo—it’s time to really look at the scene before me.
The next step is to identify what elements could distract the viewer. Can they be eliminated without changing the image’s mood? This is where I actually start shooting, by taking some ‘sketch’ shots and reviewing them on the LCD.
Based on my ‘sketch’ shots I then identify the key elements in my composition. I also have an idea of what elements I want to leave out or minimize. Now that the content is nailed, I need to decide on the exposure, and I may adjust my depth of field based on what I want to include or exclude. Since depth of field is controlled by aperture, that will influence my overall exposure—I generally try to expose to the right without clipping the highlights. I may take a couple more ‘sketch’ shots to fine tune my settings. I use the LCD to zoom in and verify my focus and check the histogram and blinkies to ensure I’ve not lost any critical detail.
Finally, I combine everything I’ve learned in the previous steps to take my final image. I verify my exposure settings, focus point, and composition. Then I press the shutter. I close my eyes for a minute and dive in to the mental image I had of the image I wanted to take. Then I return to the final image and try to gauge whether I’ve got a chance of processing it into the image in my head. If I think I’ve got a good chance, I take a marker image—a pure black image of the lens cap—to indicate that the previous image is my master. I’ll then go back and delete as many of my sketch shots as necessary to speed up import and processing later. Just be careful if you do this; I’ve been dumb enough to delete my final image by accident! The A7 has the option to protect an image, which I do frequently use to make cleaning up sketch shots easier and safer.
About the AuthorRobert Keith, a photographer of five years, is originally from South Africa but now lives in Scotland. He loves landscape and macro photography. He’s lucky enough to live on the borders of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, so he’s spoiled with beautiful vistas to photograph.
For more of the work that Robert Keith has done… go to his website at:
Thanks to Robert Keith for providing these insights into photography, and to PictureCorrect for the article.
Now this just goes to show you that there are some amazing places to go, to just “get away”. Now, as I am looking at these photos, I think you could go to any of these places any time of the year to just “get away”. Hmmm, better keep these photos in a safe place for future reference. These look like amazing places to visit. Don’t you think?
This presentation was originally put together on msn for
Author was : Terry Ward.
Everyone loves to take photos when they travel. It’s a way to maintain the memories, to share experiences with our friends and families, and, quite simply, a way to prove “I was there.” But let’s face it—not everyone is a great photographer. At one point or another, we’ve all sat through a tedious slide show of seemingly endless travel snapshots.
While I can’t tell you how to avoid sitting through a boring vacation slide show, I can share a few easy tips on how to avoid giving one. There are a few simple rules to change mere ‘holiday snapshots’ to a more robust collection of photographs that capture the images and emotions of a recent vacation. In a nutshell, remember to keep the human interest in your photos. This makes your photos tell a story, rather than just say, “I was here.”
Yes, you were there. Yes, your family was there. But having your entire crew posing in front of—and blocking the view of—the Grand Canyon is not an interesting shot. Take a few photos of the landscape or point of interest with no one in the frame. This creates a context for the vacation: the backdrop, the start of the story. But don’t try to capture everything. When I was recently in the French Alps, I was surrounded (literally) by towering, impressive mountains. There was no way I could capture their grandeur in a single frame. So instead, I focused on a few “interesting” peaks so I could focus on the rugged detail. Once you’ve got your basic shots out of the way, take one or two photos with the group (whether it’s just yourself or twenty of you) in front of the landmark or scenery.
There are a number of ways to say “I was here” in a photograph, without a formally posed snapshot. Having everyone grouped together, squinting in the noon sun isn’t generally very interesting, and it doesn’t tell any sort of story. Instead, take more candid shots of your traveling companions as they’re observing the landmark or talking to each other about it. Make many of your shots be action shots: capture people pointing at something and talking to one another about it. Just don’t forget to include whatever they’re pointing at in the frame, too. That makes the story come alive.
This is especially true when you’re visiting a more exotic location, but it can apply to any holiday. Don’t focus so much on the landmarks, as on the actions and emotions of the locals.
When I was in Mali, photographing the local children in their villages (with their permission) gave my photos much more human interest and context than just shooing them away and capturing the village empty of people. The story of the village is, after all, in the people who live there. But even in a less exotic location, look around. Don’t be afraid to take photos of other people, if that makes the photo interesting. For example, you can be visiting Disneyland, and you may capture the glee on another child’s face after she witnesses something particularly spectacular. Holiday shots don’t just have to include your own traveling companions if there’s an interesting story to tell that highlights the feeling of the place you’re visiting.
Of course, your vacation photos will include the ‘typical’ landmarks; they can’t (and shouldn’t) be avoided. But try to add interest by capturing the scene from a slightly different angle. Walk a few feet off the beaten path (either literally or figuratively) to take photos that are slightly different. After you take a photo, think to yourself, “Could I find this exact image a million times on the internet?” If so, you may want to consider a different approach. Perhaps try a different angle or include some interesting people, or wait for a different time of day.
When I went to Kyoto, the famous Fushimi Inari temple (with thousands of bright orange/red prayer arches that create long corridors; Google it and you’ll know what I’m talking about) has been taken so many times, and I didn’t want just another collection of typical shots of this amazing place. So I went at dusk and took the ‘corridors’ on a long exposure. The result is mysterious lighting, but, more importantly, ghost-like images of the people walking through. This captures both the human interest, but also the emotional feel of the place.
These are just a few tips to help you begin to think about how you take photos while you’re away.
About the Author:
Kevin Harries is a photographer based out of Toronto, Canada, and is the principal of VistaKWH. He has traveled extensively and has never been accused of taking boring travel photographs. He is also involved in fine art photography, with many of his images available through Getty Images, as well as through his website (wh-photo dot com). He specializes in large format prints.
Thanks to Kevin Harries for the use of his article, and Picture/Correct for publishing this article originally. This is great information.
OTHER GREAT TRAVEL PHOTOS: