4 Advanced Travel Photography Ways to Use WHENEVER YOUR Travel

Today, professional photographer Laurence Norah of Locating the Universe, continues his five-part series on taking better travel photos. In this article, Laurence is taking it up a notch to provide some advanced travel photography techniques such as for example long exposure shots, HDR, star shooting, and more!

Among the challenges we face as travelers is that so lots of the places we visit have been photographed extensively.

In today’s post, I wish to give out some advanced travel photography techniques that may help you get more creative together with your travel photography. These more complex concepts build upon the ideas in the first three posts in this series.

I’m likely to cover four topics in this article on advanced travel photography techniques that may start new creative possibilities for when you’re on trips:

  1. Long-exposure Photography
  2. Night Photography
  3. High Dynamic Range (HDR) Photography
  4. High Contrast Photography

Simply click on the links above to jump direcly compared to that section.

Part 1: Long-Exposure Photography

Perhaps you have ever seen an image of a waterfall where in fact the water looks white and fluffy? Or a go of a street during the night where the cars have already been replaced by streaks of light? Here’s a good example of a waterfall to provide you with a concept of what I’m discussing:

This is shot in Glencoe, a sensational area of the Scottish highlands. As you can plainly see, the water’s surface includes a silky, flat look, and the waterfall itself looks similar to cotton than water. Additionally, the clouds in the sky have a feeling of motion.

Here’s another shot, of the Dubai Marina during the night, where you can start to see the cars have already been replaced by streaks of light:

Both these shots were achieved using the same technique, long-exposure photography.

I talked just a little about using shutter speed in post two of the series, and how too low a shutter speed can lead to blurry images due your hand movement. Long-exposure photography is focused on benefiting from that blurry effect, but due to the objects in the scene instead.

You are likely to need a tripod to create this work, as otherwise, your images will be blurry everywhere instead of just where you want them to be.

The trick to long-exposure photography is to place your camera in either shutter-priority or manual mode, that may permit you to set how long the camera’s shutter is open for. This will be marked as “S,” “Tv,” or “T” mode on the mode dial if your camera has one. If you’re shooting utilizing a smartphone, many recent models, like the LG G4, also enable you to manually set the shutter speed via the camera app.

For waterfall shots, you’re looking at any shutter speed slower than 1/15 of another. For traffic, it’ll depend on the speed of the traffic, but you’ll have to shoot at speeds slower than one second. Both of the long exposure shots I’ve shared above were shot with a 30-second exposure.

Should you be shooting in the daytime, you may want a neutral density filter so as to compensate for the number of light available (start to see the travel photography gear post, the 3rd in the series, to learn more). If you’re shooting in manual mode, you’ll need to set the aperture to achieve the correct exposure. Stay away from apertures greater than f/16 though, because they often bring about lower-quality images.

Long-exposure photography could have you looking at the world and motion in new ways, and it opens up a variety of creative possibilities. Enjoy it!

Part 2: Night Photography

When I travel, among my favorite things gets far away, to the center of nowhere, and just finding out about at the night time sky. From the town lights, it’s is among the most spectacular views open to us, and gazing up at it always helps me gain a feeling of perspective.

Of course, once I’m done looking at it, I wish to try to capture it as an image. This isn’t as hard as it might seem and, aside from a tripod, doesn’t need significant amounts of expensive equipment to accomplish. But shooting star trails does require more thinking than simply pointing your camera at the sky and hitting the “expose” button.

There are two main types of star photography. First, that you can do a long-exposure shot and turn the stars into streaks of light, such as this:

This is a two-hour exposure I shot while camping in the Western Australian outback. Yes, two hours! (You will need a large amount of patience and a decent battery for long-exposure star photography.)

Also you can do multiple long exposures lasting from 30 seconds to one minute and stack the resulting photos together using specialist software such as this. This reduces the “noise” that super-long exposures are recognized for, plus the threat of your battery going flat mid-shoot, nonetheless it does require more work afterward.

However, most cameras won’t enable you to aim for longer than 30 seconds in manual mode. You will need to switch to “BULB” mode, whereby the shutter button will remain open for so long as you contain the shutter down. Some cameras have this in manual mode rather than dedicated BULB setting – check your camera manual to discover how your style of camera works.

You are unlikely to want to stand together with your finger on the shutter button for just two hours, but don’t worry, you involve some options. Easy and simple is to purchase a remote release cable, that may enable you to “lock” the shutter button down for so long as you want. Alternatively, in case you have a far more modern camera with Wi-Fi built-in, you will probably find that there surely is an app that enables you to control the distance of the exposure beyond 30 seconds.

Finally, consider the movement of the stars. The planet earth rotates from west to east, if you want circular star trails, you’ll have to point your camera north or south. If you’re in the northern hemisphere, composing around the North Star (which remains stationary) is a superb place to begin.

The other kind of star photo is where you capture the night time sky without motion. This tends to still need a long exposure, but one which is not as long as to bring about the stars blurring from motion. Around a 30-second exposure may be the maximum prior to the motion of the stars from the earth’s rotation becomes apparent. Here’s a 30-second exposure of Venus setting in the Galápagos for example:

The setup is quite similar to star trail photography, for the reason that you will require a tripod and can have to think about your composition. However, with only a 30-second exposure, you will need to raise the ISO on your own camera to get as much light in as possible.

Modern cameras can handle shooting at ISOs of 3200 and 6400 without introducing an excessive amount of noise in to the image. Furthermore, you’ll want to open your aperture as wide as possible – depth of field isn’t a really consideration when shooting the infinite! Open it as wide as it’ll go, preferably in manual mode.

In a few ways, these shots are easier because you’ll manage to start to see the results far more quickly. Here’s a go of the stars over France:

The Milky Way is a great subject for static star photography – it’s an all natural leading line, as you can plainly see in the shot above. This is a 30-second exposure at ISO 6400 and f/4, shot on a Canon 6D in manual mode.

Once you’ve gotten the hang of basic star photography, you can begin to become a little creative. At these exposures, a good little light could make a siginificant difference, so that you can try “painting” objects with light, with a flashlight and shining it on objects in your area.

Part 3: High Dynamic Range (HDR) Photography

Perhaps you have ever pointed out that sometimes your camera fails spectacularly to fully capture a graphic as your eyes view it? For instance, the sky is too bright, or the shadows areas are too dark?

Simply because our eyes have a much greater “dynamic range” when compared to a camera has. Dynamic range may be the difference between your darkest and lightest part of a scene which can be observed, and our eyes have the ability to resolve a much wider range in darkness and brightness when compared to a camera can.

That is why you might end up getting a go that appears like this:

Or such as this:

…when the truth is – to your eyes – the scene looked similar to this:

The problem is that cameras battle to capture the full selection of the exposure, from the dark shadows to the bright highlights. Either the sky is a white washout, or the landscape will be dark and unrecognizable.

The perfect solution is is a technique referred to as high dynamic range photography or HDR. This simply requires you to take multiple photographs of the same scene at different exposures, and put them together. That is also called exposure blending.

In case you have a comparatively modern smartphone or camera, then it’ll probably have an HDR mode built-in. The iPhone, specifically, comes with an excellent HDR mode. You can access this from the settings menu in your camera or smartphone menu. On a Canon camera for instance, the menu is really as follows:

Making use of your device in HDR mode is simple, and it’ll do everything for you personally. Your device will need the required number of photos, align them if necessary, and blend them together to provide you with an image that looks more representative of the scene you saw.

The disadvantage of the is that you will be leaving the camera to create all of the decisions, and you won’t will often have the foundation images – you’ll you need to be presented with the ultimate HDR image, as well as your camera will discard the interim files.

If you would like more control over the ultimate image, then you’ll have to set your camera to “bracket” the exposures for you personally. This will help you to have a sequence of photos of different exposures simply by holding the shutter down. To find this mode in your camera, look in the menu for auto exposure bracketing, or AEB.

Then you’ll need to use software applications to merge the images together right into a single photo. There are a number of software tools open to merge your images. I take advantage of Lightroom, Photoshop, and Photomatix Pro, but there are lots of others out there.

Shooting multiple photos simultaneously does mean you will need the very steady hand or – you guessed it- a tripod. If your hand moves between your shots, then your images will likely ought to be aligned, which doesn’t always work perfectly. Furthermore, be familiar with moving objects, as these can create odd ghost effects as the program tries to mix images.

HDR is most effective in largely static, high-contrast scenes, particularly landscapes where there isn’t much movement and the difference in brightness between your darkest and lightest elements of the scene is pronounced.

Part 4: High Contrast Photography

Talking about high-contrast scenes, don’t forget which you can use these in your favor. You don’t need to use HDR; instead, you should use all that light to create wonderful silhouettes of your subjects.

That is a terrific way to get a different undertake a topic, and used creatively can provide you some standout images.

The shot above may be the silhouette of a boat against two islands in the Seychelles. Shooting straight into the sun such as this means that you will need to decide which section of the shot you would like to correctly expose. EASILY had setup the shot therefore the boat was correctly exposed, the sky is a giant white mess due to the light from sunlight.

I possibly could, of course, have shot an HDR image, however in this case, a silhouette of the boat and two islands was a far more attractive composition.

Other great subjects for silhouetting are people, trees…really, any object with a unique outline.

This type of shooting will require just a little practice, as the camera won’t know very well what type of exposure you want. The joy of digital is you could review a go and check it out again – particularly in a scene such as this, where you have a little bit of time to get the shot before the sun sets. Remember that your exposure meter may be indicating that you will be over- or underexposing the scene.

The simplest way to get great results is to shoot in manual mode and set everything yourself. Keep carefully the ISO rating only possible, and adjust your shutter speed and aperture based on the composition you wish to achieve, taking into consideration the depth of field and any long-exposure effects you could be trying to attain.


I take advantage of all of the above travel photography techniques regularly when I’m on trips in the world, seeking to put a brand new perspective on a familiar scene. Admittedly, they are individually complex subjects to tackle, and it’ll remember to master all of them, but the rewards have become much worthwhile. Just begin by picking one method and focus on it as often since you can. With regular practice, it’ll become second nature and you could move to another. Travel photography is a slow process, but it’s a rewarding one if you’re ready to put in the task. If you shoot for progress rather than perfection, you’ll be taking better (and more complex) travel photos very quickly!

Laurence started his journey in June 2009 after quitting the organization life and buying change of scenery. His blog, Locating the Universe, catalogs his experiences and is an excellent resource for photography advice! There are also him on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

More Travel Photography Tips!

For more helpful travel photography tips, make sure you browse the rest of Laurence’s travel photography series:

  • Part 1 – How exactly to Take Professional Travel Photos
  • Part 2 – How exactly to Shoot an ideal Travel Photograph
  • Part 3 – Camera Gear: How exactly to Not END UP GETTING the incorrect Equipment
  • Part 4 – How exactly to Take an ideal Photo: Advanced Techniques
  • Part 5 – 7 Post-Processing Ideas to Improve Your Travel Photographs

Book Your Trip: Logistical Guidelines

Book Your Flight Look for a cheap flight through the use of Skyscanner or Momondo. They are my two favorite se’s because they search websites and airlines around the world and that means you always know no stone is left unturned.

Book Your Accommodation You can book your hostel with Hostelworld. If you need to remain elsewhere, use Booking.com because they consistently return the least expensive rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels. I take advantage of them all enough time.

Looking to discover the best companies to save lots of money with? Have a look at my resource page to get the best companies to use when you travel! I list all of the ones I use to s

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