Basic Photography Tips for Travel Blogs

I’m a professional makeup artist by trade, and an amateur photographer. I’ve been lucky to have worked with some A – list professional photographers. I’ve learned a lot on the job by paying attention, asking questions, and then going out and shooting and trying new ideas.

As a creative and visual person I get a lot of inspiration from traveling. I love both travel and photography and they are a match made in heaven to me. For my first trip to Venice in 2007, I purchased a point and shoot camera. In 2010 I graduated to a DSLR.

If you have a travel blog, then you know good photographs are a must. Whether you shoot landscapes, food, or people, the photos should tell the story, with or without some text to go along with the photographs. You don’t have to be a professional photographer to take interesting and well composed photographs for your travel blog.

Here I’m going to share some tips with you that I’ve learned along the way, mostly by trial and error.
For this article I’m using a Digital Single Lens Reflex camera. Whether you are using a DSLR, an iPhone, or a point and shoot, I think you’ll find a tip or two that will save you some time and some tears.

1. Travel photographs should tell a story. Even if your blog is very specialized, take a variety of images. Of course you’re going to write some text to go along with the photographs but the photos should be a visual illustration of the text. In other words, you can communicate that you had a delicious cappuccino simply by taking a nicely composed photograph. It can make the story more interesting if you also have some shots of the café, (interior and exterior) and maybe even a shot of a waiter or the barista at work.

©pennysadler 2013 cappuccino with foam heart

Tell a story

© Barista pennysadler 2013

Cafe interior

2.Take a lot of photographs. That’s the beauty of digital. If your memory card is full, you can always download images to your laptop or other storage device. Or you can just delete the images that are a total bust.

3.Look at your subject in new ways. Try different angles. Look at it from all sides. Try shooting with your camera angled up, or get low. Make something normal and common look unique and different. Sometimes that means you have to take a lot of photographs until you begin to see things in a new way.

 wine bottles ©pennysadler 2013

A different perspective

4. Get up close and personal with your subject. Detailed images work well on blogs.

©pennysadler 2013

Closeup of the Duomo in Orvieto, Italy

5. Get out of bed! I’ve taken some of my favorite photos in the early morning hours before everyone else is up and about. This is really crucial if you want to take photographs in areas around popular monuments and you hope to get a clean shot, without too much clutter in the background. It’s also a great time to photograph interiors, when there aren’t so many people around.

Piazza Santa maria in Trastevere ©pennysadler 2013

Great light and few people

6. Be prepared. Carry a quart size plastic ziploc bag or two with you. If it rains  you can use it to shield your camera. They are also handy waterproof storage for extra batteries, lenses, memory cards, and anything else you you need to carry with you.

7. Choose a theme or subject. Food, colors, churches, people, and markets, all make great subjects to build a photo story.

©pennysadler 2013

Food is always a good topic

8. Plan ahead. Think about what you want to shoot and the best time of day to do so. Early morning and sunset provide the best available light for landscape and outdoor photography.

©pennysadle 2013

Timing is everything

9. Work out! Photography can be athletic. The best way to see an area is to walk it. I go to Italy frequently and there are lots of hills, cobblestone streets, and stairs. It’s aerobic! I also know a guy who likes to ride his bike while shooting in urban areas. It’s easier than driving and parking.

10. Compose in the camera. Don’t rely on editing software. Aim for perfection before editing.

©pennysadler 2013

No cropping needed

Finally, join photogroups on Google+. Read. Go on photowalks. Most important of all, go out and shoot.

All materials copyright Penny Sadler 2012 – 2013.


How Far Would You Travel for Coffee

via della Murata rome Italy ©pennysadler2013

taking an espresso

I know there are a lot of caffeine addicts reading this post – “caffeinated blogger, writer, mother, father,” etc., I read the descriptions in the profiles of blogs and social media pages. So tell the truth, how far are you willing to go for a great cup of coffee?

While I’m not a habitual coffee drinker, I’ve been known to drive six miles or more for a good cup of java.

In the U.S., Starbucks has become synonymous with coffee. You’ll often hear someone say, “I need a Starbucks.”
Personally, I do not understand how anyone who has ever had an Italian coffee could enjoy Starbucks.

I don’t claim to be an expert. I’ve already told you I’m not even a habitual coffee drinker. What I know is a good coffee should be smooth and not biting on your tongue. It should be the correct temperature not too hot, not too cold, and it should smell good.

I know of one place in the Dallas area that has real Italian coffee. They use only Segafredo Zanetti coffee from Italy. It’s twenty miles from my house, but I swear it’s worth it. I’ll even set up business meetings there just so I can get a great cappuccino.

I took this photograph outside one of my favorite bars in Rome. It’s not really near where I stayed when I was there, but they consistently make a nice frothy cappuccino – totally worth a twenty minute walk. Besides, walking in Rome is one of lifes great pleasures. Can you imagine how early I had to wake up to take this photograph?

Admittedly, I’m crazy for anything Italian, but I’ve also had delicious coffee in Spain, Mexico, and probably some places I can not recall at the moment.

So tell me, how far will you go, literally or figuratively, for a good cup of coffee?

All materials ©pennysadler 2012 – 2013