It was two years ago that I first picked up a camera and just over six months when I decided to start taking it more seriously and started creating content on a more regular basis. With everything in life you had to have started somewhere and I would be the first to admit that my photos were absolutely horrible when I was just starting out. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing and 99% of my shots were taken with the auto settings turned on.
Since then I would like to think that I've improved and this is mainly due to the tips that I'm about to share with you. These are the tips that helped improve my travel photography ALOT and the ones I wish I knew when I was just starting out.
1. Set Aside Time to Learn
I never had any professional teaching or taken any course at all and I don't regret it one bit. In the creative field I don't think there is a clear cut path to take in order to get to where you want to be. If you want to be come a lawyer you: finish school, start your course, finish and pass the course, find a job. When you compare it with becoming a better photographer none of that is vital, which is why I think its so important to utilize what you have in front of you; YouTube. YouTube has - hands down - been the number one place for me to find out stuff about travel photography that I wouldn't have been able to find out anywhere else (for free).
Don't know how to take photos of stars? YouTube. Wanna know how to do a time-lapse? YouTube. What lens is best for travel photography? YouTube. You get the picture. There are literally thousands of videos you can watch that will expand your level of photography 100x over.
To be totally honest I even look at some of the photos I've taken over the past couple of months and think 'these are horrible photos!' What I've come to realise is that its a constant learning curve. If you want to become better you need to be aware of what you can improve on and what you can change and learn from going forward.
2. Do Your Research
Picture this: you've arrived in Barcelona, you are alone in a city you know nothing about but what you don't realise is that instead of wandering the streets and taking photos (which could also be cool) there's actually an incredible night of festivities at The Magic Fountain of Montjuic (which is actually a thing). You end up missing out on taking some incredible photos at the fountain and make do with your very average photo of a stray cat wandering down a back alley.
3. Talk to the Locals
This ones a pretty simple one but can also be pretty daunting for those who don't usually like stepping outside of their comfort zone and talking to strangers. You'd find that 99% of the time locals are happy to talk to visitors about the place that they live in. By talking to the locals you'll gain a much better understanding of the area and they might even be able to show you some unique and more secretive spots that aren't seen by many tourists. Spots like these make for amazing photos.
4. Sunrise and Sunset
Hands down my favourite time of day. Everything's perfect, everything's quiet and most of all the lighting is incredible. When it comes to shooting travel photography it's super easy to take a nice photo when the backdrop is the Eiffel Tower or the Canadian Rockies, but what really separates a good photo from a great photo is the lighting. During the middle of the day the light can be super harsh and bright which can be really difficult to take photos in. But by taking photos at sunrise or sunset you'll definitely be stepping up your photography game and you'll find that the photos you take will look much better than with the midday sun beating down.
5. Have Your Camera on You at All Times
The only way to get better at taking photos is by taking lots of photos. In 2017 I took 30000 photos on my travels in Australia and abroad and despite taking so many photos there are only a couple hundred (if that) that I'm happy with. The biggest reason that I felt that I've improved over the past year comes primarily down to one reason: I had my camera with me everywhere I went. If you always have your camera on you there's no excuse not to take photos. Despite it being super annoying starting out to always have a camera around your neck it will definitely pay off in the long run; you won't regret it, trust me.
6. Get Inspired
We live in a day and age where you can pick up your phone and find whatever you want to find in a matter of seconds. With anything in life you will hit roadblocks and feel totally uninspired or unmotivated which is why it's so important to find people that inspire you. Not only this but by finding inspiration you can get new ideas and gain new perspectives on specific places. For me, the easiest and most accessible way to find people that are inspiring is through Instagram. There are literally thousands of accounts that will awe you but my advice is to sift through them all and only follow your favourite amongst favourites. HINT: I'll be posting my next blog about my top Travel Instagrammers of 2018 next week; stay tuned.
For now, these are the tips that I'll be leaving you with! If you enjoyed reading this please leave a comment, I'd love to read it. If you have an Instagram leave it in the comments! I'd love to check out your travels.
Here are some of my own from my travels to Spain, Singapore and Canada in 2017: