Any award-winning travel photographer will tell you the best way to improve your skills is to practice, practice, practice.
You might not be able to travel far right now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t perfect the art of photography at home. In fact, while we’re all unable to move far, there’s never been a better time to work on improving your creative skillset.
Here’s how you can work on your photography while maintaining social distancing:
•Look around your home for interesting items to photograph and place them in different parts of your house to practice with various lighting options
•Explore your own literal backyard, or a park, and find interesting patterns or colours in nature to capture
•Walk down the road to practice street photography (while maintaining at least a two-metre distance from anyone else, of course), capturing unique angles of buildings or houses
•Photograph your pets or birds in the trees
•Watch online tutorial videos for both photography and photo editing
•Enrol in an online photography class (support a New Zealand photographer)
•Re-edit old photos to try out different styles
If you start working now on brushing up your photography skills, when we eventually are able to return to travelling, you’ll be able to capture all the glory of that first trip abroad.
Here are some of our best photography tips from professional photographers.
If you dream of going on a safari in future, don’t miss this visually outstanding piece with wildlife photographer Mike Myers.
Myers has spent many years of his life mastering an understanding of Africa’s wildlife, which allows him to tell a story with every photo.
His first tip – come prepared with full knowledge of how your camera works.
“You should be able to use the camera instinctively, at the moment of capture there are so many things to think about, settings and composition specifically, there is no time for error,” he explains.
Most of us aren’t professional photographers and don’t lug a full camera kit and lenses around with us on our travels. Instead, we use our smartphones, which are getting more technical in their camera specs with every upgrade.
Photographer Michael Farr shares some advice on getting the best travel shots from your smartphone in this piece here.
One of his best tips is understanding how lighting works.
“Having great light can make a good shot into a magic one. Some phones are designed to capture incredible shots even in low light, but knowing how to make the light work in your favour is a photographer’s skill worth having that can really elevate your shots,” writes Farr.
If you have a passion for capturing the underwater world, take heed of teenage wildlife photographer Cruz Erdmann’s advice.
The Westlake Boys High School student in Auckland won the Natural History Museum’s international award for Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2019.
He shares his top tips for underwater photographers in this article here, with the number one hint: perfect your buoyancy using only your lungs.
“This is by far the most important skill to me as an underwater photographer. By using your lungs you change your position in the water with precision and accuracy. That will prevent you from crashing into the reef, stirring up debris or scaring off your subject,” he tells NZH Travel.
Drone photography has soared (no pun intended) in popularity in recent years, capturing incredible images of our land from the sky.
Chris Gorman gives his top tips for taking stunning snaps with a drone here, including some of the rules you need to abide by for flying drones.
He says some of the best drone images aren’t actually from the greatest height
“Look out for patterns in roads. Use the camera to look directly down and you can find surprising images. Buildings have incredible shapes that only the architect knows about…until you come along with your drone,” he writes.
What camera should I buy?
Photographer Liz Barclay suggests a good travel camera is a mirrorless camera rather than a heavy-duty DSLR.
“Mirrorless cameras are just more compact. They have super high image quality [and] full-range sensor, so it’s great,” she says.
Other photographers have different ideas. Washington Post staff photojournalist Salwan Georges says the best camera is the iPhone. “Why do people take pictures? To share. Having [your] camera on your phone makes life so much easier.”
Read more tips from professional photographers in this piece here to help perfect your skills.
Five tips for taking great travel photos
Finally, in this piece here, travel blogger Megan Singleton shares some of the best tips for travel photography, even with the most basic gear.
Her first tip is choosing the right time of day.
“You’ll hear passionate photographers talking about the magic hour: the hour just before sunset – and sunrise, if you can haul yourself out of bed that early. Even the most boring landscape looks amazing washed in gold, there will be no white-out glare and long shadows look great,” she writes.
Now that you’re equipped with knowledge, it’s time to get out and put those skills into practice – from the comfort of your own home.