Want to capture stunning photos on your travels? It’s simple to take eye-catching snaps that you can treasure for years to come when you know what to look for – and they won’t need to be adjusted with filters either. To find out best practise for shooting on the go, we ask freelance travel and cultural documentary photographer Jacob James, who specialises in photographing cultures and people around the globe, to share his expert advice.
As a Panasonic ambassador, James is an avid fan of the DMC-TZ100 camera. Ideal for use in busy urban scapes, in the midst of a summer festival or in amongst wide expanses of nature, the camera features a powerful 10x optical zoom and high-performance 1-inch sensor and makes for the ultimate travel companion.
Well-known war photographer Robert Capa once said ‘If your photographs are not good enough, you’re not close enough’. Fortunately, this doesn’t just apply to conflict photography - getting in close and using your widest lens during festivals or while you’re walking around a vibrant market can help to add impact to your images.
LET THERE BE LIGHT
The word photography literally means ‘painting with light’. Light is the number one most important element of a decent photograph. Shoot early in the morning and late in the evening to get the most pleasing, colourful light. Light also adds contrast and shape. Use the direction of the sun to create depth and give your images a 3D feel.
CUT DOWN ON CROWDS BUT EMBRACE INDIVIDUALS
Often, the most beautiful locations are also the busiest. Wake up nice and early (before the sun comes up!) to combine the best light with the smallest crowds! People are what really make a place, however, and can add scale and context to a scene, so look for interesting individuals for some candid street scenes.
FILL THE FRAME
Do you ever feel like your images aren’t as immersive as you want them to be? Fill the frame by getting close to the action and really make the viewers of your images feel like they’re there.
TAKE YOUR TIME
Don’t rush. If you have the benefit of time, you can relax and wait for the perfect moment or light scenario. If the conditions aren’t conducive to a great photograph, come back later and re-shoot. Photography is to be enjoyed, not rushed. Your best images will come once you’re relaxed.
SHOOT…THEN SHOOT AGAIN
If you’re photographing portraits of your family and friends, switch your camera to burst mode. Take an image, and half a second later, take a bunch more. We all get rigid and stiff in front of the camera, and once we think the image has been taken we relax. The skill is capturing that split moment when we drop our guard.
MASTER THE COMPOSITION
Composition is important to producing pleasing-looking images. Take some time to read up on the rules of thirds and leading lines. Your images will improve exponentially once you get a grasp of these simple principles.
CHOOSE A FOCAL POINT
Don’t just capture a wide scene, think carefully about what the main focal point in your image is. Every image needs a focal point - your framing and composition should help to direct the viewer towards the main focal point.
CONSIDER THE COLOURS
Contrasting colours can add pop and depth to your images. Similar toned colours can help to accentuate light and tone. Using a single, contrasting colour can also help to draw the viewers eye to the main focal point.
For more information on Jacob or his work, visit his site here.