Today, we're sharing a guest photo post from Contiki's European Encounter tour (Sept. 15 - Oct 1., 2011.) All the photos featured were taken during the tour, and our guest blogger, Jeff G. of Denver, CO, wanted to share his photos and some photography tips as well.
Guest Post by first-time Contiki traveler Jeff Gallardo
I had the chance to experience my very first European Contiki tour last September and I had a blast! As a photographer, the big challenge for me is to take good photos while enjoying the tour.
Today I’m going to share some of my best tips for getting simple but great travel photos. Putting these tips into use will help you walk away with excellent photos that will not only give you great memories but will also wow the folks back home. I promise it’s not really as hard as you think as long as you just try shooting things a little differently.
Keep in mind that it really doesn’t matter what camera you have. You are the one in control and your camera is just a tool. Learn how to use it, and learn how to take great photos.
Now, onto the good stuff:
Sometimes the only difference between a mediocre photo or a great photo is composition. Luckily, this is a very easy issue to fix. Most people take a photo and they put the subject dead center. What you want to do is draw the viewer’s eye into the photo and create an image that is compelling to look at. To do this, try using the rule of thirds.
Find the light
Light is probably the most important feature in any kind of photography. Whether it is too sunny, too dark or even just cloudy, don’t hesitate to use your creativity and play around with different lighting effects.
Look for bright colors
Everybody loves color. Find color to create bold, dramatic compositions. The key is to simplify. A photo dominated by a strong primary color like red or blue can be very powerful. Don’t just stick to the primary colors as compositions of subtler hues like pinks and greens can also be very strong.
Beat the obvious
What could be worse than a million photos of the same place, all carbon copies of one another? Sometimes, the best surprises are on a totally and unexpected different path that what you initially planned. Be a keen observer and walk around.
As you walk around, don’t forget the beauty of the details. Whether it’s the artwork, the crafts, or flowers, keep an eye out for and intricate details.
Other cultures use shapes, curves, and lines in architecture very differently. Be constantly on the alert for buildings, fences, and paths that are unique to each places.
Black and white
Shooting in black in white is by far the easiest and most immediate way to change the look of your photos .It can make the photo pop because the eye has less to look at and can focus on a specific element in a photo.
Search for contrast
Whether contrast in light tones verses dark tones, or contrast as in textures and locations, this will keep your images varied.
If you are in very low light situation choose a wide angle lens. Wide angle will allow for more information of a scene although make sure you are clear in your mind what is the main subject of the scene. Sometimes if I am restricted with what I carry, I will choose my wide angle lens.
Change your angles
Our first instinct is to raise the camera to eye level and shoot, this probably works fine most of the time, but you'll be amazed what a different some knee bending does. If you are at a destination that has been covered multiple ways by other photographers, try and compose something different. The possibilities are endless.
Take your camera everywhere
I know you’ve heard this a thousand times. But it works for me. How many times have you seen a completely amazing composition and hit yourself over the head because you decided to leave your camera back in the hotel and make-do with your new iphone4s? Pack only whatever camera gear you can comfortably carry, that way you won't feel it's such a chore to haul it out everyday.
Take many photos
That’s what digital cameras for! Never assume the first snap will be perfect. Do continuous shooting. Zoom in to make ure your photos are sharp. Shoot while in a group, shoot while eating and shoot while walking. Basically, just shoot.
I believe travel photography should always be more about the “travel”than photography. I think it's a little too much pressure to set out on a trip with the mission of taking good photos rather than having great experiences. Photos capture what's in front of the camera, but also reflect whoever is behind the camera.
Don’t forget to soak up as much of your travel adventure with your own eyes as possible. Enjoy the trip and bring home wonderful memories.
This was my first big adventure overseas and Contiki provided me with great experience. I had the opportunity to meet some great people from different parts of the world and share some amazing time with them.
Our tour manager was very personable and knowledgeable making our experience even better. Contiki gave us safety, comfort and worry- free travel. I liked the convenience of travelling between countries arranged for me. Access to major attractions were easy and I enjoyed the flexibility and freedom of my schedules during our free day.
I would definitely recommend it for younger people who are outgoing and want to have a lot of fun.You need to experience it to believe it.
About the Author: Jeff Gallardo is a professional photographer and travel junkie. He can be found at his photography website