Tips for Using a Digital Camera for Travel Photos

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Depending on where you go, travel photography can present its own unique problems. Some common issues you might encounter:

Tall Landmarks: If you’re visiting some major metropolis, you’ll likely encounter some towering skyscraper or other building, and chances are you’ll be be too close to capture the whole landmark. If you can’t back up further and don’t have a wider-angle lens, one trick is to get lower (crouch down, lay on the ground) and shoot upwards. This distorts the building somewhat, but often shrinks it just enough to fit into the picture.

Landmark from standing level Landmark from ground level

Backlighting: Another commonly encountered problem in travel photography is backlighting - you want to take a picture of a person and the background behind them, but either the person is immersed in shade or is facing away from the sun, resulting in a nice background but a completely dark person. While there are software techniques to fix this, the easiest workaround is to turn on the flash in your camera (this may be labeled as “force flash” mode). The flash works to illuminate your subject, while not being powerful enough to affect the background.

Backlighting without fill flash Backlighting with fill flash

Get Higher: Almost anywhere you go, one challenge you’ll face is finding the perfect vantage point. In your typical tourist shot from standing level, there’s often something obstructing your view, whether it’s a massive crowd or a grove of trees. Even if there’s nothing blocking your view, the standing-level perspective is the same one you’ve already seen if you’ve ever been to the spot or simply seen a postcard. By getting to a higher vantage point - hiking to the next hilltop, standing atop a park bench, or simply holding the camera up above your head - you can often shoot over something in front of you, and also obtain a unique perspective that most travelers will never see.

Vantage point comparison

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