I’m ecstatic to have Jordan Banks, of Source Images, guest posting on the site today. Jordan and his wife Ines take some of the most beautiful wedding photographs, so if you haven’t come across them already you should definitely check out their website and blog (especially if you’re still looking for your wedding photographer). I was absolutely blown away earlier in the year when I saw some of Jordan’s photos of the Holi celebrations in India – they had such an incredible sense of place, and really captured the spirit of the people there and the festivities, that I knew I had to find a way to feature Jordan’s work on the site. And what better thing for him to do than to offer up his top tips for taking great photographs on your honeymoon? Of course, these don’t just apply to honeymoons – I know I’ll be using them next time we go away – and hopefully they’ll help you capture the best of your future travels. All of the photos below are by Jordan; to see more of his travel photography, check out his travel photography site.
1. Slowdown, be patient and notice! This is the most important part of taking great travel images. Yes, sometimes everything comes together and you find yourself in the right place at the right time to capture a great fleeting moment, but more often than not these things aren’t that easy. Once you have found a scene that you want to photograph, set up the shot and then give it a few minutes to see what plays out in front of you. Maybe someone interesting enters your shot or maybe the sun comes out and adds a new dimension to your image; the options are almost endless. These few minutes will also give you time to think about the shot, the composition and get in touch with the environment of your shot; the more time you spend thinking the better the final image will be.
2. Make use of the light and get up early or stay out late. If you are going to go out with the aim of taking pictures of your honeymoon or holiday destination be sure to do it when the light is new or old – so the beginning or end of the day. The hour after sunrise and the hour prior to sunset are the best times of day. The light is lovely and soft and adds real depth and perception to you images. Images of anything taken in the harsh midday lights often look flat and unappealing. I know this one is not always going to be easy on your honeymoon but hey, life’s not perfect.
3. Always shoot more than you think you will need. By that, I don’t mean go around shooting everything and anything like a headless chicken. One of the first things I was taught when learning was that with photography you very, very rarely have the chance to revisit an exact scene and this is never truer than with travel photography. So take enough different angles and exposures so that when you get home you have the shot you wanted, the way you envisaged it. As you get better this becomes less and less important but it is still a good practice.
4. Don’t be shy! If you want to take an image of an interesting face, go and ask. I find that if you approach people and ask nicely they will more than often oblige. I often see photographers putting on a massive zoom lens and snipering shots of the interesting old lady in the souk or market. However, this rude and gives photographers a bad name and most importantly, from a photography point of view, if you are miles away from your subject there will be no connection between you and the person you are photographing. If you have spoken with them and built up a little rapport the true personality of the person you are photographing is more likely to shine through.
5. Get a good bag. Cameras are not light and neither are lenses so make sure you get a bag that is comfortable to carry for long periods of time. The last thing you want is to never take your camera out because it hurts too much to carry it. I would also suggest that you buy one that is well padded and waterproof. I got caught in torrential rains photographing gorillas in the jungles of Uganda and if it wasn’t for my bag I would have been a few thousand pounds out of pocket.
6. Research. Read books about where you’re going, look at other photographers’ work and find out all you can about the culture, lifestyle and people of the place you are visiting. The better your understanding of your surroundings the better story your images will tell. I don’t mean that you should copy other peoples’ work but being prepared can result in you getting a new perspective on something that may be well photographed, or it may just be as simple as getting you to the right locations. Photographs are, after all, likely to have influenced your decision to visit the country you are honeymooning in. On a side note, I also recce locations in the middle of the day when the light is bad to work out when the light will best fall on the scene so I know when to return and get the image I’m after. This also saves time wandering around looking for your shots in the hours with the best light – those hours quickly fade!
7. Last but by no means least: experiment and don’t give up! Try new things and have fun with your photography and see what happens. Sometimes the best results come when we least expect it.
I hope you enjoyed reading this and find my brief pointers useful on you honeymoon or holiday.
Thanks, good luck and enjoy!
All photographs courtesy of Jordan Banks