6 Ways to Make Your Photos More Interesting When You Travel, Guest Post by Max Therry

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Taking good pictures is really more my husband’s strong point than mine.  When Max Therry came up with these wonderful tips I jumped at a chance to share this information with readers of Traveling Adventures of a Farm Girl.

Who is Max Therry?  Max Therry is an architecture student who is fond of photography and wants to become a professional photographer. He is also working on his own photography blog about photo editing, modern photo trends, and inspiration. Feel free to reach him by email at max@photogeeky.com! (all pictures but one belong to Max Therry and it was used with permission).

6 Ways to Make Your Photos More Interesting When You Travel

For many of us, taking photos is one of the best parts of traveling. Not only do we get to document all the cool places we’ve gone and people we’ve met, but we also get to share a taste of our adventures to others. But while it’s fun to take selfies and pose in front of cool scenes, these aren’t really the most compelling photos for others to view, nor do they always capture the true flavor of the place you’re visiting. So with that being said, here are 6 things you can do to make your travel photos more interesting.

Go Behind the Scenes

While everyone can get a photo of a great meal, show, or tourist attraction, not everyone takes the time to go behind the scenes and capture the people and processes that create these wonderful delights. So while it’s always a great idea to capture the shots everybody expects to see, take the time to see if you can get permission to peek behind the scenes. There’s often a whole other world back there.

Learn the Background

Just about any place becomes more interesting when you learn something you didn’t know about it. If you’re at a historical site, see if you can find out something about it you didn’t know before. If you’re eating something completely different, let us know some interesting factoid about what’s in the food. Even the most boring of landscapes can become interesting if we know a bit of how it got to be the way it is. Any little fact that we didn’t know can really add some interest to a rather ordinary scene

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Wait for Interesting Light

Photography is all about light, and learning which types of light make great photos will really make a huge difference. You probably already know that sunrise and sunset are fantastic times to shoot, but you can also add in the hours before and after, as these will almost always have nice tones in the sky. Other great times to shoot is during or after a storm or other weather event. Overcast skies also work great for general, all-purpose, diffused light. One thing to avoid, though, is shooting anytime the sun in high in a clear sky. This makes for harsh shadows and totally uninteresting light. Believe it or not, many pros simply put their cameras away during the middle of the day and spend just the early morning and late evening getting their shots. Of course, this timing doesn’t always work out for everything, but if you can do it, it will make a big difference.

Capture a Story

We all like a good story, and while it’s true that photos can help illustrate your blog post, the reverse is also true. A great photo that can stand on its own has some sort of story implied. We look at it and want to imagine what’s really going on there. If you can master the art of capturing stories within your photos, you’ll have people constantly coming back to look at your shots time and time again.

Go for More Than One Type of Shot

It’s easy to get caught up in the moment, take a selfie or two, and then call it quits with the camera. But if you really want to give your viewers a sense of what’s going on, it’s important to capture different types of shots. If you have a camera that has an optical zoom or interchangeable lenses, try getting a wide angle shot that gets an overview of the whole scene, then take a close-up of something, then a shot that captures the main focus or event of what you’re seeing. This will really help your audience get a fuller taste of what you’re experiencing.

Don’t stress about the gear

Believe it or not, you don’t need a fancy camera to capture interesting or even fantastic shots. Even a simple point-and-shoot or cheap phone camera can get great results if you

A. Learn how to use it, and
B. Take the time to learn more about what makes a good photo

This is especially true if you’re just taking photos to document your journeys and aren’t looking to hang it up in a museum. Some of the best street photography was done on particularly cheap camera gear. So start out with the camera you have. Once you’ve learned all you can from it (especially it’s weak points) and you fine you want more options, then it will be time to upgrade.

Play around with some editing apps

If you really want to make your images come alive, it’ll be worth your time to learn a bit about editing. Now by editing I don’t mean applying Instagram filters and the like (though that can be cool too!). I mean things that all photographers do to make sure their photos come out looking their best: cropping, color correction, sharpening, etc. Not sure how to do it? No worries—there are some great editing apps out there that make it easy. In Luminar, for example, beginners can use their artificial intelligence filter that can detect what’s wrong with a photo and fix it without you having to do more than move a slider. More experienced editors can do everything a pro would want to do. If you’re only using your phone, Snapseed is by far the best app out there. It’s also free. There is also mobile app VSCO which not only have editing tools, but also manual camera controls. There are, of course, plenty of others. The key is to find one that you like and keep learning. I promise, your photos will really start shining.