Travel Photography Tutorial
With the arrival of digital cameras it has become much easier to use the camera on our trips and outings. Times when we carry out a heavy camera hanging from the shoulders are over. Now a single mobile telephone can bring the best memories or to capture an unforgettable moment. However, as decreases the costs of the photography, it happens that we fulfill uncountable MB in our chip cards with hundred and even thousands of pictures that mean nothing nor show anything special, since we do not stop to appraise that image that we took with the affection we used to do. This tutorial does not try to be a photography course, but rather a small set of recommendations to improve your photos.
We will be enriching it continually with new articles for those who have a compact digital camera without much specifications. We will try to explain in easy words a better use or zoom lens, how to take photos with poor light and other tricks. If your photos look horrible and you own a cheap camera, these tips will be interesting for you. Otherwise… the fact is there are plenty of digital photography courses better than this one in the internet. And, do not forget that this tutorial will be growing little by little so return time to time. Luck… and if your travel photos get better with this aid, do not doubt in sending us some photos of your trip, in gratefulness we will publish that with pleasure.
1) How many Megapixels?
The size of the picture depends on the number of photos you take and what is the destiny of the picture. Thus, if you will only see them on the computer and/or be sending them by mail or publishing on a photoblog, it's enough 1 Mpx or less, although it seems incredible. Most of digital cameras take photos in an 4:3 ratio that is conventional monitors ratio. "Widescreen" monitors have 16:9 ratio. If the settings of your screen are 1024 x 760 and you load a 1 Mpx picture, it will leak out the edges of the monitor. On a screen setted to 1280 x 1024, a photo with only 2 MP will leave the boundaries. What we recommend, however, is that you never take pictures with just the final size because some times the pictures look not as fine and framed up a bad photo can make a wonderful piece at the end. Some of the pictures on this website have been cut from larger bad photos and some of them are the most applauded, but we'll never reckon which are they.
If what you plan is to print digital photos, we recommend you to use the maximum size that your camera (and your memory card) allows, so the impression even small, will be sharper with more pixels.
What I do:
a) I take family pictures with 1 Mpx, because I don't print them (not to occupy place on the hard disk in vain). Very special ones you should shoot 3 Mpx, just in case.
b) The pictures "to show" or to publish in the Tourist Club I shoot 3 Mpx.
c) I only use Mpx 5 or more for very complex images with lots of information or when shooting is difficult. For example, pictures of the riders at the Roosevelt Park were all taken with 5 Mpx as foals were not willing to collaborate with the frame.
2) Photos with sunlight
The human eye has the ability to see light and shadows with much more sharpness than any camera of any kind. Often, when we took photos on a sunny day with shadows, we never get the exact light. Either the picture looks burnt where sun shines and sharp in the shade, or the photo looks colorful in the sunlight and dark in the shadow. Moreover, although this could not happen with some photos taken on sun light, they tend to look dull and washed colors. For me, the best weather for taking pictures during the day is clear but with some clouds momentarily cushionig the contrast between light and shadow thus blocking the sun a bit. This is one of the biggest problems we photographers and tourists have to face when traveling, since almost all photos are taken outdoors in the day. In order to improve this, here are some quick tips.
a) The best times for photos on a sunny day is before 11:00 and after 16:00.
b) To take photos on a sunny day you should try to leave unimportant things on the shade or choose an objective without too many shadows. In this example the sun killed our picture.
c) Take the picture with your camera in the shade (under a tree, for example). The sun plays tricks on the camera sometimes if it hits directly on the lens. Besides the light sensor of the camera may cause unexpected results.
d) For sun light photos inside a city we have to look for something very colorful in the frame. In this example, the street would not worth a fig if the Santa Rita and its neighbour tree were not in the frame.
If we took a monument or the facade of a building with sun-sky background, the camera reduces the light of the monument also darkening the blue sky. This gives a strong blue sky to which we surprise ourselves. Have a look of this example
3) Large buildings and monuments
The photo of the building or monument seems to be an easy thing, however, also has its tricks, and maybe we can make our photos look more professional without much effort. In this way maybe once and for all we understand why the picture of the tourist brochure was better than ours.
a) Unless we know what we really want, it's best to be relatively far from the building if possible. The pictures that are very close deform the image by giving the taper structure. Look here as yellow lines converge away from the vertical blank ones.
c) To emphasize the size of a monumental artwork is needed to include a size reference in the square. People in pictures use to fulfilled successfully this role. Thus, do not doubt to include people in photos if the photographed target is big.
d) Take your time walking around the structure trying with diverse angles and with the sun from different directions. Tomen el tiempo de rodear la estructura probando fotos de varios ángulos y con el sol de diferentes direcciones. In general we tend to take pictures in front of the structures, but often a breath of originality gives casual pleasant surprises. Many professional photographers get pictures of everything. Today, digital photos are free. Let's do the same, we can now.
Try different angles not just eccentricity but also on the verge of what your camera offers you. Seek for a small piece that no one looks or a strange angle on the structure and dare to take a delirious picture. If the result isn't good enough then we can erase the picture and do not lose anything, but if you do well, these are the photos that win competitions! Look at three different approaches to the Bridge of the Americas in Canelones, classical, original, and the strange (x3 zoom). Which one do you choose?
You may include minor objects before reaching the building to give "depth" and highlight the picture, such as trees nestled near our goal here. It coulb be useful any rock, shrub, and even broken branch halfway between the construction and the photographer.
4) Night Photography
Surely it happened to you more than once: you took a photo of some friend with a landscape full of night lights and buildings's silhouettes put up his back, and when at home you look in detail your picture, all you can see is a black background with a faint or even no reference to all that beauty that filled your eyes when you took the photo. This is a very simple reason, based on a fundamental premise of the night photographer. You must never use flash in travel night photographs, because the flash has a 5 m maximum scope, and it'll confuse the camera in further targets. For this you must disobey what the camera program recommends and pull off flash before taking the picture. But beware, this is not enough. To capture a photo with no light or flash, the camera will stay longer (even up to several seconds) open to receive the light needed to interpret what it sees. This fact will surely cause a blurred photo except you're a sniper photographer. So to take night photos you will have to follow the procedure below:
a) If your digital camera has a program for night photos, use it. These programs usually fire the flash to illuminate proximity and hold the shutter open for remoteness.
b) Do not hold the camera in your hands. If you do not have a tripod I recommend you to buy a small one to carry in your camera case, but meanwhile look for a stone or flat object where to support your camera (be careful with the wind, my camera has some scratches because I forgot to take this advice into account)
c) Take your time to frame the target with the tripod or stone, it's a difficult picture and success will depend on how careful you are.
d) If your camera has autofocus, be careful not to aim centered in a street lamp, otherwise the pictura will result dark.
e) Ready? Shoot and release fastly the camera shooter!..., and wait for some seconds before moving.
f) Take two or three similar photos until you're sure they're ok.
Sunset photographies have always fascinated photographers and the fact is with optic cameras it was hard to take good ones. Most of digital cameras have programs for several kind of photos. Some ones have even programs focused on sunsets. This program enhances the red intensity in the picture and sometimes even abort the flash. If your camera hasn't got a program for sunset, you can use the night one or simply cancel the flash.
If you analize a sunset, you'll see three regions: a strong concentration of light (sun and surroundings), a big dark portion below the horizon, and eventually a variety of colours and designs (clouds). Actually, more important than your skill is how lucky you are since in this case the sun continues its path and so not uses to pose for us more that a few minutes. I would say that the secret of this pictures is the place you aim the focus (or better: the place you aim your light sensor) and the horizon horizontality (topic of importance not negligible). Thus, what we recommend is:
a) If you camera has a program for sunset, use it. Otherwise force flash cancellation or use night program.
b) Before shooting verify that the horizon is horizontal. Often we do not pay attention to this important detail (Yes .. me neither, I confess).
c) If you want to highlight the color and shape of the clouds (if any) put the sun near the center of the frame when you make focus, thus, the picture result a bit darker and so light effects will emerge more clearly.
d) On the other hand, if you focus below the horizon, you will get a clearer picture. There you will see sharper the sea or land, but the sky will result blurred in details.
Even when one use to put the horizon near the center of pictures, you try to leave only one third of sky or one third or earth according what you consider is more important or nice for your photograph. For example, in this picture the sky worth to get leadership, however in this one, a cloudy sunset had not much to offer unlike of several targets in the sea and the cost.
Do not wait the best moment, you better take several photos. With first ones you will fix large errors and you will choose the bests among followings. From the beginning of a sunset to the end of it you could notice several different scenarios for your picture.
6) Inside houses, museums and churches
We should make a special note before start this article. In most of museums around the world flash photograpy is forbidden and in many of them to take photos without flash is forbidden either. You should follow these rules allways because if you "escape" to take a poaching photo could end up by damaging masterpieces that belong to all of us. On the other hand inside churches and cathedrals temples you should avoid to disrupt reverie environment of the praying people. Said that, we detail following tips.
a) Even when the flash is an useful help in these cases, the fact is most of times changes (many times in much) the the appearance of what you're seing. A best idea is to support the camera on a tripod or any flat surface and remove the automatic flash.
b) Do not forget to look at the ceiling. Human beings do not usually look up, however, many huge buildings and specialy cathedrals have wonderful and photogenic ceilings. Besides, cathedrals stained glasses (vitraux) offer nice photos.
c) Walk around the place looking for corners and interesting objects to photograph. If you are inside tourist site, that's because an architect or an artist dispose of all his passion working in the architectural details and the artwork inside.
If your camera has fixed focus, you can try this trick for stained glasses and check your skill with it. It's a bit difficult but worth trying. At first take a picture focusing on the window and taking the photo as always. Now aim the focus lower, taking aut the window (or the stained glasses) like if you were to photograph the wall. Now fix the focus pressing lightly the trigger button and, without releasing it, aim back the stained glass and then resume the photo, pressing the trigger down. You will see how different pictures you obtain. That is because fixing the focus on the wall, light sensor suposes the target is darker that the real one and keeps the shutter open longer. In this last picture the stained glass will glow with light rays spreading in all directions. To practice this trick you can use a window of your house a cloudy day. An office "venetian" curtain is also useful.
7) The cosmetics of the photo
This article is included, not to improve our pictures, but to free our amateur photographer self-esteem. I have ever seen very rewarding pictures that sadly looks dark or too bright or with a poor sharpness. It is a pity that due a so poor reason we discard a a valuable picture without attempting a small cosmetics that make them more presentable and even better than other else that were better at first. There are many freeware applications, including photo viewer that allows minors tweaks (eg http://www.irfanview.com/) Hay muchas aplicaciones freeware, incluso visores de fotos que permiten retoques menores (ej: http://www.irfanview.com/), and let Adobe Photoshop or other photo editors which do wonders but that would require much money to acquire and is not our objective right now.
Experience says that almost all digital photos, especially those that take our cameras or our low cost mobile phones require a small adjustment of lighting, contrast and sharpness, which joined to the trim of an unnecesary piece will make our pictures wear elegant dress to receive visits, like ourselves usually do. There is no reason to hide that "at home" we are not so stylish and that our travel pictures are a bit made up in bright or sharpness. We were at that place, we focused that target, landscape or artwork in the, we choose the whole composition of the frame and we press the trigger. So, if our camera is not up to scratch, that is not our fault.
Moralists of photography surely will tell us that we are cheaters. When they go to a party with beachwear, we do not retouch most photographs. Becuse that is true, here in Tourists Club, where best uruguayan pictures are, most of them have a minor tweak. And yes, corrected pictures of our friends are welcome as well.
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Comment this tutorial
Ameno, simple y da buenas ideas. Gracias
|Hermes Vargas M:
Excelente, una guia para personas neofitas en este tema, gracias, esta muy bien estructurado este tutorial
Muchísimas gracias. Es un aporte excelente.
|Isidoro Velasco del Moral:
Me pareció excelente y fácil de asimilar. Seguramente que de inmediato, podré mejorar notablemente mis fotos. Me siento ansioso por iniciar la aplicación de tan buenas recomendaciones. Gracias.
Muy Bueno, claro, concreto e interesante y para tomar muy en cuenta... me gustaron las fotos de los atardeceres... muy buenas
Muy interesante este tutorial. Lo pondré en práctica inmediatamente.
Excelentes trucos... soy aficionado a las fotos digitales y no tenía ni idea de algunos tips que propone el tutorial.
|Andres Mora, Chile:
Bueno Bueno... hojala ampliaras a un tutorial.. porque de que sabes .. sabes y te hes facil enseñar.
|Locke , Gades:
sencillo y practico , para principiantes esta bien ;)
|julio Nuñez S:
Muy bueno el tutorial despeja algunas inquietudes que uno tiene cuando utiliza una camara digital como novato.
|Francisco Sandoval, Chile
Muy ameno en las explicaciones claves que se requieren para tomar mejores fotos e invita a conocer mas de este tema.
muchas gracias, el tutorial es perfecto para personas novatas como Yo
|Julio Cesar Guerrero
Gracias por los valiosos conocimientos que nos comparten, espero sigan acumulando exito desde Acacías Meta Colombia, los esperamos para que deleiten la vista.
|Pedro González. Sevilla-España
Gracias por esos sencillos y valiosos consejos, que pondre en practicas cuanto antes. Un saludo a todos.
Muy bien felicitaciones. soy el loco de las fotos ya tengo miles muchas de todo Uruguay, de Tacuarembo muchisimas, pero siempre aprendiendo. Un abrazo para todos.
| Club de Turistas
Hola, Alfredo. Habrás notado que no tenemos página de Tacuarembó ni de otros departamentos cercanos. Si quieres ser nuestro corresponsal en el norte (que no hemos conseguido aún), te invitamos a dejar como otros, tu huella de viajero en el Club de Turistas. Si quieres, usa la página de contacto y te enviaremos las pautas.
Con mi camara me salian extrañas las fotos y he practicado y he mejorado en barbaridad, siendo novata. Gracias por los consejos.
Muchas gracias sobre todo con las fotos a los atardeceres nunca me salen bien! por cierto algun truco para sacar le a un cielo nocturno hermoso! porq el dinde pasado fui a acampar y habia una hermosa luna q sobresalia por un puente hermoso para una bueno foto pero no me salio nada bien! gracias volvere a entrar a ver si tenemos respuestas para esto! besos
|Club de Turistas
Gran pregunta pety!. El artículo de fotos nocturnas te puede servir, pero alguna anotación adicional. Este es un enfoque extremadamente complejo salvo que tengas una cámara que lo haga por tí. Tienes la luna que es como un foco de 300 Watts arriba de una lona negra y un puente que casi no se ve por lo oscuro. Si enfocas en la luna, veras la luna como un circulito blanco (ni sueñes ver las manchas grises que ven tus ojos en una luna llena) y todo lo demás en silueta. Si enfocas en el puente la luna parecerá atrás de un vidrio esmerilado y seguramente no verás nada más. Y además la luna en las fotos es demasiado pequeña para verse bella. Para que no te amargues esa es una de mis obsesiones, yo le he sacado más de 100 fotos a la luna y hasta ahora no he logrado una buena. Tal vez por eso no tengo muchos consejos. Si logro encontrarle la vuelta lo pondré aquí, por lo pronto agradezcamos los regalos visuales de nuestros ojos a los que ninguna cámara puede hacer justicia.
Me cae de maiz que eres una chucha cuerera pa esto de la fotografia, un fregonazo ... he sguido tus consejos y ahora mis fotos me han quedado bien perronas.o sea a todas margaras....muchas gracias cabula.
un abrazo para todos y buen año 2009. bueno es mi primer entrada en este año, con muchas actividades y poco tiempo. si tengo paguina de tacuarembo y con gusto estoy a las ordenes para lo que quieran.hasta la proxima. Alfredo.
|Club de Turistas
Pues utiliza nuestra página de contacto o envíanos tu e-mail para que podamos comunicarnos. Un saludo y buen año también.
Siguiendo los consejos aquí expuestos he logrado mejorar considerablemente mis fotografías. Tengo una buena cámara digital, pero desaprovechaba sus posibilidades, por desconocer esos pequeños trucos que tan bien explicados están en este Tutorial. Muy agradecida.
saludos. interesante y de mucha ayuda los consejos, una pregunta estos conceptos tambien aplican para camaras de rollos fotograficos?, agradezco tu ayuda.