Five tips for taking great travel photos

By Megan Singleton

Megan Singleton has some hints for getting the best photos with even the most basic gear.

Use close-ups and reflections to your photographic advantage. Photo / Thinkstock
Use close-ups and reflections to your photographic advantage. Photo / Thinkstock

I smile wryly to myself when people say I must have a good camera because my photos look great. It's a bit like telling your dinner party hostess that her meal is delicious because she has a good oven.

Unless you're a pro, cameras are pretty much equal. I've even had a photo from my iPhone published here in this lofty publication!

Here are five simple tips for taking great photos no matter what you're using.

1. Time of day

You'll hear passionate photographers talking about the magic hour: the hour just before sunset - and sunrise, if you can haul yourself out of bed that early. Even the most boring landscape looks amazing washed in gold, there will be no white-out glare and long shadows look great.

2. Perspective

I took a photography tour in Dublin, on busy Grafton St, where I learned about close-ups and reflections.

Be creative. Lie on the ground to photograph a tall building. Put your camera low for shells strewn on the beach. Zoom in on a skyscraper to capture the city reflected in the glass.

3. Positioning

It's all about the rule of thirds. Don't cut your frame in half with the horizon. Place it in the top or bottom third and let the blue sky with swipes of cloud or green grass and a single flower be the hero. Try putting your main object on one side to see what is revealed behind.

4. Children and animals

They say never to work with either, but they do make for the best photos. You need eye contact. To do this you may need to make a spectacle of yourself at the zoo or on safari. And for kids, ask their parents first. Here's a tip if you're photographing a koala: they won't wake up with shouting, but if you break a twig they think the sky is falling and will open their eyes.

5. Night-time

If you're keen to try a little dusk or night-time photography, get a tripod. It doesn't have to be a monstrous thing, but you will need it to keep absolutely still. Also use your timer so your finger doesn't shake the camera as you click. If you can't find a tripod, lean your camera against a wall for good results.

For more simple photography tips, read Megan's blog here.

- NZ Herald

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