In life you could say we are all tourists, but on holidays we most definitely are. As a tourist you want to visit new and different places, maybe learn something about the culture of the people in the area you are staying in and possibly the history. While doing this you want those digital mementos to take home and organise into a slide show or share on Facebook. But how to take the best photos, here are some tips.
- Go light. Walking around doing touristic things can be hard work for your feet (unless you do it on a Segway or in a car . Of course you want to be prepared for lots of different shots, but do you want to be carrying around five or six lenses in a bag? which will weigh a lot and after a while make you tired. I have found that I end up with just one lens on my camera a 28-300mm and if I need wider lens I can take two photos and merge them in Photoshop, plus my back wont ache.
Play with ISO. There are many scenarios when you need more light or a faster shutter speed. The first response can be flip the flash, but adding artificial light to the scene may change the scene completely. Also flash has a fall off distance and in some instances will light the foreground but leave the background dark and under exposed. Of course high ISOs add more noise but with most modern cameras you can push them quite high before the images become unusual. I would also add that there are some places where you can’t or shouldn’t use flash; you really shouldn’t use flash in churches that have frescoes as the flash will help speed up the degradation of them.
Change the light balance. Auto light balance is good but it can get it wrong and sometimes majorly wrong. If the camera calculates the wrong light balance you may get a warmer or colder image than the scene, generally auto is good when you have a mixed lighting situation. If I can see blue sky I use daylight, if there is no blue sky cloudy, indoors tungsten, ect. This can mean that if you are outside and the morning is sunny and afternoon becomes overcast you will need to keep an eye out and change the white balance. The same as if you are indoors and then outdoors. Of course you can change the light balance in Photoshop but the colours won’t quite be the same. A good example is using Daylight white balance at sunset, you will get the added purples and red hues in the sky making it look incredible compared to the auto colours.
- Listen with your ears look with your eyes. I tell my students all the time that you have to listen with your whole body. When on a guided tour I tend to ignore my advice and listen with my ears. While everyone is standing around the tour guide looking and listening to him/her, I have my back turned or wandering around photographing everything around me.
- Work around people. If you go to a touristy place then there will be people and unless the people with you have the patience and time for you to set up a tripod and take a series of burst shots to remove people from the scene in Photoshop later. People can add context or even an aesthetic to an image but you can also use a higher or lower view point as well as using your legs to get the shot you want. But there will always be photobombers so beware.
If you have any other tips, add them in the comment box below.
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