Ok, so you've scrolled through Instagram and have since become inspired to take some photos on your vacations and travels. Or maybe, you just want to start taking photography a little more seriously.
Whether you shoot with an iPhone or an expensive, professional camera these tips will instantly improve your shot.
Tip #1 Composition Is Everything
A solid composition is at the core of every great photograph.
A quick and easy way to ensure your compositions are lined up and balanced is the "Rule of Thirds" grid. Imagine each scene is divided into thirds; two vertical, and two horizontal lines. The points where the lines intersect are great places to put objects of interest. I'll usually place my human subjects on one of the bottom intersecting points.
Tip #2 Shoot In RAW Format
THE MORE DATA YOU GATHER, THE BETTER.
Start shooting your photos in RAW format. What does this mean? Well, long story short, the camera will be gathering more data out of each photo for post processing. If you want to kick your selfie game up a notch, this is a great start!
If your camera allows it, shoot your photos in RAW format, as opposed to in .jpg. This used to be a format reserved for DSLR cameras, however, iPhone's and Android's alike have caught up and can now shoot RAW images with apps like Lightroom Mobile.
The two images above are a great example of the power of shooting in a RAW format. The photo on the left is how the scene looked straight out of the camera, the photo on the right, is after processing in Lightroom.
A good thing to bear in mind when shooting in a RAW format is that it is always easier to save details in an underexposed photo rather than an overexposed one.
You can see that I have purposefully underexposed the original photo to save the highlight detail in the sky and clouds. Then, in Lightroom, I've gone back and brought the shadows out and popped the colours a bit.
One thing that I like to keep in mind when I'm shooting photos is that I'm capturing information. Information in the dark shadows, bright highlights and in the mid-tones. I'm not necessarily looking for the best-looking photo on the back of the camera screen. I'm looking to make sure that I have collected ample information in all areas of the photo.
Tip #3 Shoot At Golden Hour
CHASE THE LIGHT AND GET THE SHOT
Waiting to shoot your travel photos at golden hour will drastically improve how your shots turn out! I can't stress how important good light is - I mean, that's pretty much what photography is after all - capturing light.
So, what is golden hour and what are some of the things you can do to capitalise on it?
Golden hour is the short period of time just after sunrise or just before sunset when the light is softer, orange and more diffused.
Try and make your plans around the sun, scope out your composition and get a rough idea of what you want to capture during the midday hours when the light is too harsh to shoot. Good light can be the difference between a stunning image, and an overexposed mess.
Apps like "PhotoPills" and "The Photographer's Ephemeris" are great tools to use, to help predict the direction of the sunrise and sunset for planning your shots. I use apps like these all of the time to determine how the sun will hit mountain peaks.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the winds tend to be calmer at sunrise, meaning large bodies of water are more likely to be still, perfect for snapping those crispy reflection shots.
Tip #4 Start editing your photos in Lightroom
CAPTURE AS MUCH INFORMATION IN EACH IMAGE AS YOU CAN
Just about every amazing photo that you have seen on Instagram or on billboards has been processed in some way. Like I mentioned previously; when I'm shooting my photos, I'm looking to capture as much information as possible in each photo, not necessarily the best-looking photo out of the camera.
By far, the most widely used program to edit and colour correct your images is Adobe Lightroom. Lightroom is great for adjusting colours, tweaking the white balance, (how warm or cool an image is) and achieving a certain look and tone throughout your images.
Over time, you will start to develop your own creative style and look. For instance, I prefer the greens in my images to lean slightly on the orange side, so I will often slide the green hue slider to the left towards the orange tones.
Remember that there is no right or wrong way to edit a photo, each person is going to have their own process and workflow that they have developed over their time learning how to edit.
That being said, these are a few of the changes I made to this image. Bear in mind that every photo is unique and there is no process that will for every photo.