Photography Tips for Travel Journalling

21 July, 2016

Keeping a travel journal can help you develop your storytelling skills and your ability to express yourself. One of the ways to make travel journals interesting is to use photos to effectively tell stories of your trips. As Kevin Sintumuang of The Wall Street Journal said, “Better photographs translate into stronger memories.”

While having the best DSLR camera out there will certainly help you attain the best quality photographs of your travels, a point-and-shoot digital camera will definitely serve the purpose of helping you capture memories.

Aside from investing in your own digital camera, you may consider several other approaches in taking better photos for your travel journal. Here are some of them:

1. Set a theme


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A theme serves as your guide in planning what to write in your travel journal. This also helps you come up with the places, people, and objects you should take photos of to support your writing. You can also base your journal entries on the photos that you want to take in response to the theme.

Having a theme makes shooting more fun and less overwhelming. If you’re traveling with friends, you can even make it a group contest of who will complete a certain number of photographs within the theme the fastest, or who has the best-themed photos taken for the week.

If you are just starting out, you may want to stick to simple themes like shooting objects of a particular color, texture, shape, and size during travel. As a beginner, you should plan your shots in detail, but do leave room for possible curve balls. Make sure you have a backup plan, in case the first one doesn’t work out.

To get a better idea what to do, you may browse other people’s travel journals and blogs to prepare yourself for what to expect.

2. Use the rule of lighting and balance


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This concept is not as technical as it sounds. As photographer James Kaiser puts it, “the sun’s light changes throughout the day and it can affect [your] photos.” For best results, take photos early in the morning and late in the afternoon, but not at noontime when the sun shines the brightest, as the natural light during that hour blurs out the colors and details of the shot, resulting in an overly bright and overexposed photo.

To maintain the balance of elements in your photos, use the rule of thirds. Using the grid feature of your camera, put points of interest along the lines or on the intersections as you frame the shot so that the elements within the frame will be balanced.

Also, practice using a focal point when shooting. The focal point is the part of your photos that will serve as the viewers’ focus of attention.

3. Find odd and interesting things to shoot


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One of the most important skills a photographer can possess is called into action well before the camera is pulled out of the bag. It is the ability to see and observe,” wrote wildlife and nature photographer Gloria Hopkins.

Training yourself to look at places, objects, and people with an observing eye for photography enables you to develop an appreciation for the often overlooked tiny details. This also allows you to bring your own touch to your photos since what you find as odd and interesting may not be seen that way by others.

4. Seek constructive feedback on your work

As with any craft, it is important to show your work to other experienced people in the field and ask for constructive feedback. You can do this by uploading your spreads on various social networking sites like Flickr, Instagram, and Facebook, where people who share the same interest can comment on your posts. Make sure to note the feedback you receive so that you can improve and work harder on your shots next time.

All these tips will be in vain if you do not practice the basic aspect of travel photography: respect. Seek permission before snapping a photo of someone you don’t know. Doing so will prevent you from being harmed, and from causing harm to others, as certain cultures have laws pertaining to individuals having their photos taken.

Taking good travel photos to create travel journals is not easy, but developing this skill will help you to appreciate your surroundings better and preserve travel memories to look back to.


Featured Image Credit

This article is contributed by Liz Pekler.

Zhiqiang & Tingyi

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