The best way to be a better photographer is not to buy a better camera but to learn better how to compose your photographs. Improve your photographer’s eye. Here are some suggestions from my trip to Toronto this June.
Here is a shot of the new Toronto City Hall. It shows the scene fine but I am not sure I like that overhang that is in the upper left of the shot.
I moved to a location where that overhang was no longer in the shot and too this view instead.
This is certainly a cleaner view, but perhaps a bit too simple. This shot lacks any foreground interest that the first shot had. So I moved again and got this more interesting shot.
These are all the same place on the same day but just changing up what is in the frame can change your picture significantly. Wander around. Play with what to include and what to exclude from your photo.
Some shots are more interesting in landscape and others in portrait. Try mixing up your view. See how different this scene looks just by turning the camera 90 degrees.
I like the first shot but I really like the second. But what I would change from the second shot would be to zoom out just a bit or step back to have a bit more sky above the clock tower.
Try a Panorama
The first 5 shots of this plaza were shot with my SLR, but then I pulled out my iPhone 5 from my pocket and shot this panorama shot of the same scene to get a shot the more expensive camera could not take. I did no post processing on any of these shots.
Watch Your Backgrounds
I liked this shot of a father and daughter feeding pigeons in the plaza but I don’t like how busy the scene is.
Moving to a different vantage point where the background is now the fountain instead of the other people in the plaza improves the shot a lot but what is that shadowy half person in the background?
Zoom in just a little more and the background is now cleaner.
This picture of the plaza is not bad, but I thought the most interesting thing in the picture was the clock tower.
One of the reasons I carry an SLR camera with a good zoom lens is to zoom in to turn that picture into this one.
I will wait patiently for people to move so that I can get a shot of a particular landmark without other tourists.
But sometimes intentionally including people can also add interest to a photo.
Use Your Feet
This series of three photographs was shot at the Mission San Juan Bautista in the town of the same name in central California (to learn more about Mission San Juan Bautista click on the link above).
I shot these pictures with my Canon 5D SLR but I only had a fixed focal length lens so any zooming had to be done by walking closer. I took three different shots of the mission. The first was the wide shot.
The wide shot was not very satisfying so I walked closer to get a view of this statue of Saint John the Baptist after whom the mission is named.
But it was not until I walked even closer and got this third shot that I finally had a picture I liked. So, even if you don’t have a telephoto or zoom lens, that does not mean you can’t get the same effects. It just takes more walking.
What is your best travel photo tip?