Taking photos on holiday is how I got into photography. The most fun part of travel photography for me is exploring new places, seeing how the locals live and trying to create something different to everyone else.
It was when I was taking a photo of the sunset in Ibiza in 2016 that I realised that I was the only one creating a silhouette of all the other people taking sunset photos and selfies – everyone else was just shooting the sun – a sunset photo that could literally be anywhere.
It got me thinking about writing a blog post about honeymoon travel photography so my couples can go away on holiday and take beautiful, unique photos. So here are some tips to create awesome photos on your honeymoon! I use a Fuji XT2 with the 18mm f2 lens – it’s wide enough to fit loads in and is a pancake lens which means it’s really small and portable. I recommend Fuji for holiday photos, but if all you have is your phone then you’ll still get awesome photos – the best camera you have is the one on you! And don’t forget the most important rule – enjoy it with your eyes too!
1. Composition is everything.
Think about what you include in the scene, make it interesting, visually balanced. Frame the subject to draw the eye in. Wait for the right moment – if you have an awesome composition, wait for the right subject to enter.
2. Be aware of what’s in your frame
Don’t chop off heads, feet, tops of things. Also try not to leave lots of unnecessary space in the frame – make sure everything contributes to the image and balances nicely. Alternatively, negative space is an artistic tool that uses blank space in a photo creatively.
3. Use lines, shapes, patterns and shadows
This is a great way to see more when you visit a new place. Look around you. What shadows do you see? Any interesting ones? Any cool patterns forming from things around you? Also, lines are a great way to draw the viewer to the subject. In photography circles we call them “leading lines” to draw the eye to the spot you want the viewer to look at.
4. Put the scene into context
Show where you are, add some details. Try stepping back, getting closer, including people in the scene. 5. Shoot people
Here is a backstreet in Ibiza Town where three local ladies were hanging out chatting while their laundry dried in the breeze. This snapshot of local life tells more of a story than a photo of a beach that could be anywhere.
Below is a little girl brushing her doll’s hair. I took a few photos of this scene – getting closer and closer – but I prefer the one without her face, as it leaves something to the imagination and makes it a bit more obscure and intriguing. Every photo I took included the whole street and the women walking away and the laundry, as it all adds to the scene. Without those elements the photo wouldn’t be as interesting. Allow the viewer’s eye to move around the scene constantly spotting new things.
6. Inject humour
This might not be a technically perfect photo, but it shows real life, and is amusing to look at
7. Tell a story
Take photos of each other doing everyday things, rather than posed shots. They’re so much more interesting and certainly unique.
8. Silhouettes rock
The key to a silhouette is underexposure – your camera’s auto settings will automatically lift the exposure of the trees (making the trees and sky brighter). To underexpose, set your camera on manual and make the shutter speed faster until the photo looks right.
This photo of the milky way was taken with the camera on the ground so I could get the trees in to add context – a sense of place. The settings were a high iso and slow shutter speed of several seconds – I think this photo was around 15-30 seconds. Set the camera in place (I used magazines to tilt the camera up), press the shutter and don’t move the camera while it’s taking the photo.
9. Use a slow shutter to show movement
Put the camera in manual and change the shutter speed to around half a second. Hold the camera very still – rest it on something if you can.
10. Use light creatively
Look for bright spots and interesting shadows
11. Get up early
You’ll get the best light, no tourists and special moments happen at sunrise as a village wakes up. Sunsets are also worth chasing, but they’re not as special as sunrises because everyone’s awake – the magic of a sunrise is the peace and quiet and the feeling of doing something special. Plan your sunrise shoot the day before – use a sun app to tell you where the sun will rise from and find a cool spot.
12. Play with reflections
Puddles, lakes, mirrors, shop windows, anything!
13. Use the weather to your advantage
Have you woken up to a rainy day? Don’t hide in the hotel bar, get excited about the opportunity to take awesome creative photos!
14. Get down
Getting lower down gives your photo a different perspective and can make the scene change completely.
When taking a selfie or a photo of your travel buddy, you might think background is the most important aspect, but light is the most important. Backlighting is glorious, especially at sunset.
If the light is flat (overcast) then you can get a great selfie with the background in. Here’s Thomas in Yosemite – the key is to get far and high from the background you want to include and shoot with a wide angle lens.
16. Play with the light
I was in Las Vegas this spring (hotter than any summer we’ve ever had!) and America has different light to everywhere else. It’s more orange, it glows, it’s gorgeous. To make the most of your landscape photos in America, particularly where I was in Nevada, get up early for the sunrise and wait for sunset for the best photos – the pinky orange desert looks even more orange, and if you are lucky enough to spot any cool Joshua trees, try a silhouette of them with the low sun behind by lowering the exposure in your camera (see tip 8 above). The bright light of day can look harsh but you can use it to your advantage too – if there are perfect fluffy clouds in the sky these looks awesome in the middle of the day, plus colours look punchier in the bright sun.
Middle of the day:
17. Shooting in a city at night
I shoot in manual which allows me to do expose for the city lights – shooting in auto will try to lighten the whole image, which will make the image lose atmosphere. This photo was taken with a shutter speed of 0.5 seconds, f11 and ISO 320. I held it really still and waited for the traffic to pass so I’d get the streaks of light.
For the below photo of the Bellagio fountains I exposed for the water, so that everything else would be dark. My settings were 1/500 seconds shutter (to freeze the water motion), f2.2 ISO 500.
18. Show only the best ones
When sharing your holiday photos, curate them carefully. This means choosing the best photos without lots of similar ones and only showing those. This will give each image more impact than subjecting your friends to 20 photos of a cocktail.
Most importantly, enjoy taking photos!