Take Great Photos When You Travel and At Home

Take Great Photos - High Park, Toronto
High Park, Toronto

Travel may still be far off for some, but it’s always good to learn how to take great photos anywhere. I like to wander around my city to take pictures when I can, especially after being in lock down for 90 days.

You don’t need a professional camera; phones take amazing photos too and are easier to carry around. It’s also great when you’re traveling, especially traveling alone as it doesn’t stand out as much as a bulky camera.

All the photos used in this article are taken from my phone, Samsung Galaxy 9 of parts of Toronto. I’ve heard the new iPhone camera is outstanding, but I’m an android person!

Here are some quick tips to take better photos every day or when you next travel. With practice, they are so easy.

Learn Everything About Your Camera

Read the instructions for your camera before you start using it. It’s key to know how to change the exposure and focus.

There are a variety of cameras to choose from, so all I will say is after reading the instructions, practice around your neighbourhood to get comfortable with using the settings in different lighting, motion and areas. The type of phone or camera you get depends on your needs and budget. Most phones these days take amazing photos. To help me pick my first camera years ago, I researched online and then went into a camera store to talk through what I wanted.

Shoot in manual mode. If you’re new to photography, you may not know which camera settings need to be adjusted, including ISO, aperture, and shutter speed. If you want the best images, you need to know how they work together and how to adjust the settings. Here are some tips for shooting in manual mode.

The video and camera capabilities on new phones are very high. The only real issue with the cameras on phones is their limited zoom capabilities. But if you don’t want to spend the money for a camera, they are amazing. It’s important to read the instructions to use your camera properly

Evergreen Brick Works, Toronto

Sunrise and Sunset

Light is one of the most important parts of taking amazing images, if not the most important. Soft, warm morning light is the best. Getting an early start also means you’ll have to deal with fewer people also trying to get photos.

One hour after sunrise and before sunset have soft, warm tones and great shadows for pictures.

Sunsets are also great and even the hour after, when the sky is still blue, but lights are turned on.

Take Great Photos - Roy Thomson Hall, Toronto
Roy Thompson Hall, Toronto

Be Patient

Good photography takes time. Professionals spend a lot of time to get the perfect photo; sometimes it can take hours. I personally won’t spend even close to that much time to get a photo, especially when I travel! But, if you have some time, even 10 minutes, find a spot that overlooks something scenic or photogenic, and wait for something that catches your eye to capture.

Research Best Spots

Check out blogs, Instagram, Facebook, and travel sites to get ideas about your destination or your hometown.  You may not know all of the great places, depending on the size of your city or town. Talk to friends who have been there. Find out where you want to take photos, how difficult it is to get there, and how busy is it at different times of the day. You can also find out which time of day has the best light.

Wander Around

You will probably take photos of the landmarks and of the things you’ve seen from others. Also, try to explore to get pictures of hidden gems. It’s how I get my favourite shots. The best way is to walk around. Get advice from someone where you are staying, or other locals. They can help you take pictures in unique spots and make sure you stay away from dangerous areas.

Take Great Photos - Underpass Park, Toronto

Quick Reminders and Tips

  • Always take your camera with you.
  • Make sure you always have a full charge and a portable charger.
  • If you have an expensive camera, get insurance for it.
  • Always keep everything secure to protect from theft.
  • Backup your photos on the cloud or a small hard drive.
  • If you have room, get a small tripod. It allows you to set your camera position.

For some more travel tips you can do at home, check out some of my other travel articles. If you want some tips for a staycation, it was my most recent travel piece.

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