How to take amazing summer travel photos – by the experts
Rajveer splits her time between France and Italy, and her native Australia. She loves busy beach images, preferring the reality of “crowds and beach towels to get a playful shot”. Dutch photographer Claire, who has more than 300,000 Instagram followers, prefers still landscapes, including empty beaches. Both share tips on how to make the most of sun, sand, and sea.
Rajveer: My beach photographs aim to evoke the thrill of summer beside the seaside. To capture action keep looking around; ensure your camera is ready to shoot – and remember to ask permission before publishing photos that feature other people when possible.
• RJ: I love Positano! Frame your shot to capture vibrant colours. Whether it’s beach towels, umbrellas or the buildings/landscape, take advantage of the colours on offer. Take the photograph along the beach or back in towards the shore.
RJ: When searching for a backdrop look for something that gives a sense of where you are – and ensure the colours compliment your outfit!
Claire Droppert: Renaissance Beach, Aruba, is an Instagrammers’ favourite for its white sands and pink flamingos. On a bright, sunny day it can be difficult to get a good shot: try using polarised sunglasses by holding them in front of your lens, and turning them a bit. I had to wait patiently for this shot, allowing for the wave to roll in – it wasn’t a bad place to wait.
- CD: Look for interesting features – it could be a boat on the water, a lighthouse, or a pier. Often, capturing a subject from a higher viewpoint maximises the opportunities presented by the wide open spaces of the beach and sky. I climbed a sand dune to get this shot at Rubjerg Knude, Denmark.
In the city
by Sezgi Olgac
Sezgi is a Turkish photographer based in Istanbul. She joined Instagram when it launched in 2010, has taken photos every day since and now has 158,000 followers. Three years ago Sezgi became a professional photographer, specialising in creating social media content. She says: “Cities are like my playground – and they are best in summer when days are longer, the sky is blue and the trees are in bloom.”
Sezgi Olgac: Be ready! A beautiful moment may be fleeting; always have your camera with you and double check your settings. Be patient. The more you shoot, the more likely you’ll get the best result. I took more than 20 shots of boys jumping off Galata Bridge, in the Karaköy area of Istanbul, and this was the best.
SO: Noon is a time most photographers avoid … but you can take advantage of it. Observe the light and focus on the shadows around you. Cities are not just concrete walls and grey skylines. Keep your eyes open for colourful walls, houses or shop fronts that might create excellent backdrops. Mexico City, where I took the shot above, is filled with bright pinks, yellows and blues.
- SO: Adding foreground detail – such as flowers or trees – can help create a unique image. Get closer to the flowers or trees to frame your photo as I did in this shot on Kastellorizo in Greece, less than a mile from the Turkish coast.
On the road
by Jillian Mann and Kyla Trethewey
In 2013, best friends Jill and Kyla sold everything and set off on a road trip. They are still going, living out of their restored vintage trailer in the US, and beyond. Currently, they are melting in the Texas heat. Their ourwildabandon.com blog and Instagram account, which has 133,000 followers, document their life “on the run”.
Jillian Mann: When you’re travelling, and already in motion, make sure to capture those moments. Think in terms of exciting and dynamic shots. Check, and also experiment with, shutter speeds: a faster speed will freeze the motion, slow the shutter to achieve motion blur. We took the above shot of our friend near Yosemite, California.
Kyla Trethewey: Interact with your environment. We love to place a subject within a scene, allowing us to share an immersive experience as well as illustrate the scale of where we have found ourselves. In this case, it was Monument Valley, Utah. A centred composition is an effective way to frame your subject but play around with it, see what has the most impact.
- JM: It’s essential in travel photography to show where you are – and what you’re doing there. Pick a strong focal point or use natural lines to draw the eye to where you want it to go, like hills into a valley – seen above at Independence Pass in Colorado. Consider the foreground as well as the background, they can be equally important in landscape photography. Time of day is also relevant: locations look different depending on the hour, and the position of the sun.
by Darin Tang
Darin is a Los Angeles-based photographer who enjoys shooting at the beach. His popular Instagram feed has 71,300 followers and perfectly captures balmy Californian evenings by the sea.
- Darin Tang: My favourite time of day to shoot shadows is right before the sun sets. Here, the players’ long shadows made a perfect path that leads the eye to the action and also meets the setting sun. If you include people in your photos, and are close up to them, ensure you ask for their permission.
• DT: Sunset doesn’t have to mean silhouettes against an orange backdrop. In this shot, the colours of the famous graffiti palm trees in Venice Beach compliment the colours created by the setting sun. Hang around for a while: you don’t want to watch the sky light up with colours while you’re driving from the beach.
• DT: This classic surfer shot was taken at Venice Beach. Lighting is the most important thing to consider when taking a reflection photo. Here, I positioned my camera down low, almost touching the water. This allowed me to capture the full reflection of the surfers.