Find out how to Take the Excellent Picture: Superior Methods

a man taking photos on a mountain
Up to date: 12/09/2018 | December ninth, 2018

Immediately, skilled photographer Laurence Norah of Discovering the Universe, continues his five-part collection on taking higher journey pictures. On this put up, Laurence is taking it up a notch to present some superior journey images strategies reminiscent of lengthy publicity pictures, HDR, star capturing, and extra!

One of many challenges we face as vacationers is that so lots of the locations we go to have already been photographed extensively.

In right now’s put up, I need to share with you some superior journey images strategies that can aid you get extra inventive along with your journey images. These extra superior ideas construct upon the concepts within the first three posts on this collection.

I’m going to cowl 4 subjects on this put up on superior journey images strategies that can open up new inventive prospects for while you’re out and about:

  1. Lengthy-exposure Pictures
  2. Night time Pictures
  3. Excessive Dynamic Vary (HDR) Pictures
  4. Excessive Distinction Pictures

Simply click on on the hyperlinks above to leap direcly to that part.

Half 1: Lengthy-Publicity Pictures

Have you ever ever seen a photograph of a waterfall the place the water appears to be like white and fluffy? Or a shot of a avenue at evening the place the vehicles have been changed by streaks of sunshine? Right here’s an instance of a waterfall to present you an concept of what I’m speaking about:

Photo of waterfall, Glen Ivet Valley in Scotland by Laurence Norah

This was shot in Glencoe, a surprising a part of the Scottish highlands. As you may see, the water’s floor has a silky, flat look, and the waterfall itself appears to be like extra like cotton than water. Moreover, the clouds within the sky have a way of movement.

Right here’s one other shot, of the Dubai Marina at evening, the place you may see the vehicles have been changed by streaks of sunshine:

Picture of the Dubai marina night skyline

Each of those pictures had been achieved utilizing the identical approach, long-exposure images.

I talked slightly about utilizing shutter pace in put up two of this collection, and the way too low a shutter pace may end up in blurry photographs due your hand motion. Lengthy-exposure images is all about benefiting from that blurry impact, however because of the objects within the scene as an alternative.

You’ll want a tripod to make this work, as in any other case, your photographs will likely be blurry all over the place relatively than simply the place you need them to be.

The key to long-exposure images is to place your digital camera in both shutter-priority or handbook mode, which is able to permit you to set how lengthy the digital camera’s shutter is open for. This will likely be marked as “S,” “Television,” or “T” mode on the mode dial in case your digital camera has one. When you’re capturing utilizing a smartphone, many current fashions, such because the LG G4, additionally allow you to manually set the shutter pace through the digital camera app.

Screenshot of LG photography screen by Laurence Norah

For waterfall pictures, you’re taking a look at any shutter pace slower than 1/15 of a second. For visitors, it is going to rely upon the pace of the visitors, however you’ll must shoot at speeds slower than one second. Each of the lengthy publicity pictures I’ve shared above had been shot with a 30-second publicity.

In case you are capturing within the daytime, you would possibly want a impartial density filter to be able to compensate for the quantity of sunshine accessible (see the journey images gear put up, the third within the collection, for extra info). When you’re capturing in handbook mode, you’ll should set the aperture to get the proper publicity. Attempt to keep away from apertures larger than f/16 although, as they usually end in lower-quality photographs.

Lengthy-exposure images can have you wanting on the world and movement in new methods, and it opens up all kinds of inventive prospects. Have enjoyable with it!

Half 2: Night time Pictures

After I journey, one among my favourite matters is getting distant, to the center of nowhere, and simply wanting up on the evening sky. Away from town lights, it’s is among the most spectacular views accessible to us, and gazing up at it at all times helps me achieve a way of perspective.

In fact, as soon as I’m performed taking a look at it, I need to try to seize it as a photograph. This isn’t as exhausting as you would possibly suppose and, aside from a tripod, doesn’t want an excessive amount of costly gear to realize. However capturing star trails does require extra pondering than simply pointing your digital camera on the sky and hitting the “expose” button.

There are two predominant forms of star images. First, you are able to do a long-exposure shot and switch the celebs into streaks of sunshine, like this:

Incredible photo of stars wheeling in Western Australia outback

This was a two-hour publicity I shot whereas tenting within the Western Australian outback. Sure, two hours! (You want a number of persistence and a good battery for long-exposure star images.)

You too can do a number of lengthy exposures lasting from 30 seconds to a minute after which stack the ensuing pictures collectively utilizing specialist software program like this. This reduces the “noise” that super-long exposures are recognized for, in addition to the danger of your battery going flat mid-shoot, nevertheless it does require extra work afterward.

Nevertheless, most cameras gained’t allow you to shoot for longer than 30 seconds in handbook mode. It’s important to change to “BULB” mode, whereby the shutter button will keep open for so long as you maintain the shutter down. Some cameras have this in handbook mode relatively than a devoted BULB setting — test your digital camera handbook to learn the way your mannequin of digital camera works.

Image of camera body in bulb mode

You might be unlikely to need to stand along with your finger on the shutter button for 2 hours, however don’t fear, you could have some choices. The simplest is to put money into a distant launch cable, which is able to allow you to “lock” the shutter button down for so long as you need. Alternatively, you probably have a extra trendy digital camera with Wi-Fi inbuilt, you would possibly discover that there’s an app that permits you to management the size of the publicity past 30 seconds.

Lastly, take into account the motion of the celebs. The earth rotates from west to east, so if you need round star trails, you’ll must level your digital camera north or south. When you’re within the northern hemisphere, composing across the North Star (which stays stationary) is an effective place to begin.

The opposite sort of star photograph is the place you seize the evening sky with out movement. This can possible nonetheless require a protracted publicity, however one that isn’t as long as to consequence within the stars blurring from movement. Round a 30-second publicity is the utmost earlier than the movement of the celebs from the earth’s rotation turns into obvious. Right here’s a 30-second publicity of Venus setting within the Galápagos for example:

Photograph of venus setting across Floreana, in the Galapagos Islands

The setup is similar to star path images, in that you will want a tripod and should take into account your composition. Nevertheless, with solely a 30-second publicity, you’re going to want to extend the ISO in your digital camera to get as a lot gentle in as attainable.

Fashionable cameras are able to capturing at ISOs of 3200 and 6400 with out introducing an excessive amount of noise into the picture. As well as, you’ll need to open your aperture as extensive as attainable — depth of subject isn’t actually a consideration when capturing the infinite! Open it as extensive because it’ll go, ideally in handbook mode.

In some methods, these pictures are simpler since you’ll be capable of see the outcomes much more shortly. Right here’s a shot of the celebs over France:

The stars and milky way over France

The Milky Method is a wonderful topic for static star images — it’s a pure main line, as you may see within the shot above. This was a 30-second publicity at ISO 6400 and f/4, shot on a Canon 6D in handbook mode.

When you’ve gotten the cling of primary star images, you can begin to be slightly inventive. At these exposures, even slightly gentle could make a giant distinction, so you may attempt “portray” objects with gentle, through the use of a flashlight and shining it on objects close to you.

Half 3: Excessive Dynamic Vary (HDR) Pictures

Have you ever ever seen that generally your digital camera fails spectacularly to seize a picture as your eyes see it? For instance, the sky is simply too vibrant, or the shadows areas are too darkish?

It is because our eyes have a a lot larger “dynamic vary” than a digital camera has. Dynamic vary is the distinction between the darkest and lightest a part of a scene that may be noticed, and our eyes are in a position to resolve a a lot wider vary in darkness and brightness than a digital camera can.

For this reason you would possibly find yourself with a shot that appears like this:

Photograph of a river and mountain

Or like this:

Photo of a river and mountain

…when in actuality — to your eyes — the scene appeared extra like this:

Photograph of a river and mountain and a colorful sunset

The issue is that cameras wrestle to seize the total vary of the publicity, from the darkish shadows by way of to the brilliant highlights. Both the sky will likely be a white washout, or the panorama will likely be darkish and unrecognizable.

The answer is a method referred to as excessive dynamic vary images or HDR. This merely requires you to take a number of pictures of the identical scene at totally different exposures, after which put them collectively. That is also called publicity mixing.

When you’ve got a comparatively trendy smartphone or digital camera, then it is going to in all probability have an HDR mode inbuilt. The iPhone, specifically, has a wonderful HDR mode. You possibly can entry this from the settings menu in your digital camera or smartphone menu. On a Canon digital camera for instance, the menu is as follows:

HDR mode menu options on a gopro hero

Utilizing your gadget in HDR mode may be very easy, and it’ll do every thing for you. Your gadget will take the required variety of pictures, align them if crucial, after which mix them collectively to present you a photograph that appears extra consultant of the scene you noticed.

The drawback of that is that you’re leaving the digital camera to make all the choices, and also you gained’t often have the supply photographs — you’ll simply be offered with the ultimate HDR picture, and your digital camera will discard the interim information.

In order for you extra management over the ultimate picture, you then’ll must set your digital camera to “bracket” the exposures for you. This can permit you to take a sequence of pictures of various exposures simply by holding the shutter down. To seek out this mode in your digital camera, look within the menu for auto publicity bracketing, or AEB.

Then you definitely’ll have to make use of pc software program to merge the pictures collectively right into a single photograph. There are a number of software program instruments accessible to merge your photographs. I exploit Lightroom, Photoshop, and Photomatix Professional, however there are various others on the market.

Taking pictures a number of pictures directly does imply you want both a really regular hand or — you guessed it— a tripod. In case your hand strikes between the pictures, then the pictures will possible have to be aligned, which doesn’t at all times work completely. As well as, pay attention to transferring objects, as these can create odd ghost results because the software program tries to mix photographs.

HDR works greatest in largely static, high-contrast scenes, significantly landscapes the place there isn’t a lot motion and the distinction in brightness between the darkest and lightest elements of the scene is pronounced.

Half 4: Excessive Distinction Pictures

Talking of high-contrast scenes, don’t overlook that you need to use these to your benefit. You don’t have to make use of HDR; as an alternative, you need to use all that gentle to create fantastic silhouettes of your topics.

It is a nice solution to get a distinct tackle a topic, and used creatively may give you some standout photographs.

Stunning boat silhouette at sunset in the Seychelles

The shot above is the silhouette of a ship in opposition to two islands within the Seychelles. Taking pictures instantly into the solar like this implies that you’re going to should determine which space of the shot you need to appropriately expose. If I had arrange the shot so the boat was appropriately uncovered, the sky would have been an enormous white mess because of the sunshine from the solar.

I might, after all, have shot an HDR picture, however on this case, a silhouette of the boat and two islands was a extra engaging composition.

Different nice topics for silhouetting are folks, bushes…actually, any object with a particular define.

This kind of capturing would require slightly apply, because the digital camera gained’t know what kind of publicity you need. The enjoyment of digital is which you can evaluate a shot and check out it once more — significantly in a scene like this, the place you could have a little bit of time to get the shot proper earlier than the solar units. Bear in mind that your publicity meter could be indicating that you’re over- or underexposing the scene.

The simplest solution to get good outcomes is to shoot in handbook mode and set every thing your self. Preserve the ISO score as little as attainable, and modify your shutter pace and aperture based on the composition you need to obtain, contemplating the depth of subject and any long-exposure results you could be making an attempt to realize.


I exploit all of the above journey images strategies regularly once I’m out and about on the earth, trying to put a recent perspective on a well-recognized scene. Admittedly, these are individually advanced topics to sort out, and it’ll take time to grasp every of them, however the rewards are very a lot value it. Simply begin by selecting one approach and work on it as usually as you may. With common apply, it is going to grow to be second nature and you may transfer on to a different. Journey images is a gradual course of, nevertheless it’s a rewarding one in case you’re keen to place within the work. When you purpose for progress and never perfection, you’ll be taking higher (and extra superior) journey pictures very quickly!

Laurence began his journey in June 2009 after quitting the company life and on the lookout for a change of surroundings. His weblog, Discovering the Universe, catalogs his experiences and is a superb useful resource for images recommendation! You too can discover him on FbInstagram, and Twitter.

Extra Journey Pictures Suggestions!

For extra useful journey images ideas, make sure you take a look at the remainder of Laurence’s journey images collection:


capture the world photography courseIn case you are trying to actually get into images and need to grasp your digital camera and take wonderful pictures while you journey, Laurence and I’ve developed a complete images course that can get you out of auto and have your pals go “Wow! That’s actually breathtaking!” very quickly. Click on right here to study extra about it!

E-book Your Journey: Logistical Suggestions and Methods

E-book Your Flight
Discover a low cost flight through the use of Skyscanner or Momondo. They’re my two favourite search engines like google as a result of they search web sites and airways across the globe so that you at all times know no stone is left unturned.

E-book Your Lodging
You possibly can ebook your hostel with Hostelworld. If you wish to keep elsewhere, use as they constantly return the most affordable charges for guesthouses and low cost resorts. I exploit them on a regular basis.

Don’t Neglect Journey Insurance coverage
Journey insurance coverage will defend you in opposition to sickness, damage, theft, and cancellations. It’s complete safety in case something goes fallacious. I by no means go on a visit with out it as I’ve had to make use of it many occasions prior to now. I’ve been utilizing World Nomads for ten years. My favourite firms that supply the very best service and worth are:

On the lookout for the very best firms to save cash with?
Try my useful resource web page for the very best firms to make use of while you journey! I record all those I exploit to save cash once I journey – and I believe will aid you too!

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