One of the most common questions I get asked is who takes my photos when I’m traveling, especially when me and my hubby are both in the photo together. The answer is I take the majority of my photos myself.
While I don’t consider myself a professional photographer in any sense, there are a lot of easy tips that I can share to improve your photos without having to rely on others to take photos for you.
It might sound strange but I actually prefer photographing myself. I often feel camera shy if someone else is taking the photos for me so setting up my tripod and taking photos myself allows me to move around in a more natural way. This results in better photos with more natural poses.
Here are a few of my tips for self shooting.
INVEST IN A TRIPOD
A tripod is essential if you’re planning on taking your own photos (and also if you want to save your relationship). My hubby used to take the majority of my photos for me but he would get annoyed at constantly having to retake my photos if I didn’t like them. This has been a huge relief on him and our relationship. And even better is now he can join me in some of the photos if he feels up to it. Invest in a sturdy yet cheap tripod, if you’re using it for travel photos you’ll likely be putting it in salt water and sand which will ruin it quickly, yet is necessary sometimes to get a good shot.
THE QUALITY OF THE CAMERA MAKES A DIFFERENCE
Firstly, you don’t need professional camera to take good quality photos. I have seen a lot of incredible photos taken from phones so don’t let your phone limit you. However for my photos I do prefer a good quality camera (particularly for my next tip I’m going to share with you.) The camera I shoot most of my photos with is the Sony A7 II with a Sigma 19mm lens. Having a good quality camera allows you to set your composition and lighting in the settings before taking the photos. If manual setting are overwhelming to a new/ amateur photographer the auto setting will do the trick in most cases.
USE THE INTERVAL TIMER/ TIME LAPSE FEATURE
The name of this feature changes on depending on the type of camera you own. This function allows you to take photos at an interval which you set to take a certain number of photos. For me, I set up my tripod and put my camera on a time lapse setting to take a photo every second for 100 photos or until I turn it off. Afterwards I’ll pick my favourite photo from the batch. This allows me to move around freely without posing for a photo and trying a lot of different positions near and far from the camera. This results in me looking more comfortable in the photos and having a number of different options to choose from.
**Tip: Drones also have this feature so you won’t need to be holding onto the controller while you take your own photos. Click here to find the drone I love to use.
DON’T BE EMBARRASSED
To be perfectly honest, you may get a lot of strange looks, even people stopping an watching what you’re doing. This has happened to me more times than I can count. I’ve even had a line up of people taking photos with me and my tripod when I did this in China (on the photo below). I felt weird doing this in the beginning but just remember that these are your memories. You can’t expect someone to always be there to capture your memories for you. You most likely won’t ever see these people again so be bold and take the photos you want. These are your memories that you’ll cherish forever.
READ UP ON THE RULE OF THIRDS
The rule of thirds is not the end-all-be-all of composition but it’s a good guideline to work from. The rule of thirds guideline proposes that an image should be imagined as divided into nine equal parts. Two equally spaced horizontal lines and two equally spaced vertical lines. The important elements should be placed along these lines or their intersections. Proponents of the technique claim that aligning a subject with these points creates more tension, energy and interest in the composition than simply centering the subject.
DON’T SKIP THE EDIT
Shooting your photos in RAW format gives you more flexibility with your post -editing. There’s a number of programs that you can use to edit your photos. I personally prefer to use Lightroom which allows you to individually edit each component of a photo. If you don’t have the time or skills to edit there are a number of presets that can be found online.
Now go out and practice taking photos. The only way your photography improves is by experimenting! Take a lot of photos and practice editing your photos. There’s always a learning curve but hopefully with these tips you’ll be well equipped to taking even more beautiful photos.
If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below.