How to take really, really good photos, plus a top secret tip!

I love photography.

I have been passionate about it for a long time, getting my very own camera as a wee lad. When I had enough money I purchased my very own digital camera, setting up the ultimate photography education. No longer was film a concern!

I am not the best, but a lot of people seem to really like my photography. I think we all (including professionals) get better with time and experience.

I use a few common principles that if followed correctly, will produce amazing travel photos.

For more info on cameras, click HERE.

1. Shoot in thirds:

– In my opinion, if you use the rule of thirds, you will set up photos to look great.

– Imagine your photo is cut into nine pieces; there are two evenly spaced lines going vertically and horizontally. Your camera might even have a feature to get this grid on your screen. You want to locate your points of interest at the intersection of the lines, and you want to put the horizon or dominating lines of your photo along any of the four lines.

2. Shoot horizontally or vertically:

– Don't shoot on any angle other than 90 or 180 degrees to the ground. It looks stupid in almost all travel photos.

3. Shoot during the early morning or late afternoon:

– With the sun behind you and the light low, you will achieve the best natural lighting for your photo.

4. Shoot with the sun behind you:

– Shooting into the sun should be avoided as it causes excess light to go into the camera lens and poorly illuminates objects in front of you.

5. Spend time framing your photo so you don't have to edit it later:

– Make sure the horizon is perfectly straight

– Remember to use the rule of thirds to set the image up well so you don't have to crop the photo to make it look right.

6. Focus on the main subject of your photo:

– Most compact digital cameras will allow you to do a 'spot' focus, that is, pin pointing your focus on a particular spot. If you choose which part of your photo you want to be in focus, then hold the button half way, you will be able to frame your shot and shoot when the time is right. Using this in conjunction with the 'automatic' setting will grab the best light level for your point of focus.

7. Take a tripod

In order to make the most of low light situations, you should carry a tripod. Tripods can be lighter than 100 grams for compact cameras and will allow you to capture early morning, evening and night shots. We like the Joby Gorillapod tripods for travel.

Alex's Super Top Secret Travel Photography Tip:

This is something I worked out through extensively travelling with a camera.

If you are not a professional photographer, the chances are you aren't as good at photography as them. That is why I use their work to inspire my own!

Whenever I reach a point of interest in a touristy place, I look out for postcards and books. Why? Professional photographers have already taken some great photos from interesting viewpoints.

Try to recreate the photo, finding the same location, shooting at the same time of day and framing the photo in the same manner. I can guarantee great results.