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10 Top Tips for Better Travel Photography

Written by Rebecca Greig from Canon

Where are you going this summer? Whether you're planning to spend some time at the beach, take a city break, go backpacking or travel somewhere more distant, don't forget to pack your camera, so you can capture those once-in-a-lifetime moments and bring your holiday memories back home with you.

For travel photos with more impact, follow our top tips for capturing attention-grabbing holiday pictures. We'll help you choose the best camera settings for your holiday photos, get photos that are out of the ordinary, and make your pictures the envy of your social media followers!

When it comes to which camera to pack, the full-frame mirrorless Canon EOS RP is ideal for creative photography on the go, packing a full-frame 26.2MP sensor, a powerful DIGIC 8 processor and plenty of creative controls into a lightweight camera. Pair the EOS RP with an RF lens from the new EOS R System or use a simple adapter to add an EF or EF-S lens with no loss of performance.

The Canon EOS 250D is an incredibly lightweight DSLR with a movable LCD screen, so it can go to more places and be with you more often. Thanks to features such as Face Detection and Tracking autofocus, plus Scene Intelligent Auto mode, it can help you get great photos in different situations.

If you prefer a straightforward point-and-shoot camera with a lens built in, the Canon PowerShot SX70 HS has an enormous 65x optical zoom, a 20.3MP CMOS sensor and features such as Adaptive Autofocus for low light to help you compose perfect pictures.

 

1. Pick a different angle with a flip screen

Alternative angles will make your holiday photos stand out. The Canon EOS RP, Canon PowerShot SX70 HS and Canon EOS 250D all have Vari-Angle screens, meaning you can try shooting from alternative viewpoints. Hold the camera above your head or flat to the ground and angle the screen so that you can compose using Live View. Move your feet, bend your legs and stretch up to the sky for truly unique holiday imagery.


Taken with Canon EOS 250D + Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM len

 

2. Everyone loves animals!

You’ll get the most likes for animal pictures – especially if they're cute, majestic or unusual! For the most engaging animal portraits, choose Portrait Mode on your camera and keep the eyes in focus. If you're using the compact yet powerful Canon EOS RP, you can set your focus point precisely by making use of the 4,779 selectable AF points on the touchscreen. Try placing an AF point over eye of the animal that's closest to you, for maximum impact. The Canon EOS RP’s silent shooting mode will also help ensure the animals won’t be frightened by the sound of the shutter.

Eliminate distractions by framing tightly around your chosen animal – if you're using the Canon PowerShot SX70 HS, its impressive 65x optical zoom means you’ll be able to do this without getting so close that you disturb the wildlife.

 

3. Look for shiny surfaces

In the built environment, glass is your friend – look for reflective surfaces, from shopfronts to bus windows, and start to photograph the scenes you see in them. Reflections give you an alternative, sometimes more abstract, often much more entertaining view for creative holiday shots.

If you have a camera with a Manual Focus option, such as a Canon EOS RP or Canon EOS 250D, use it when photographing reflections as it can help in finding your desired focus point. Take care with where you position yourself, too, or you might end up capturing your own reflection – unless that's your intention, of course.

 

4. Play with shadows

With luck, you’ll be enjoying some holiday sun... and with the sun comes shadows. Don't be afraid of high-contrast scenes! Using your camera's Spot (Centre) Metering mode, expose for the light area of your scene and watch the shadows appear in sharp contrast. Once you have set your exposure, recompose and shoot. Experiment with dramatic shadows from the palm trees lining the beach, or watch for creative effects as the sun streams through the windows of the café you’re in.

For crisp, high-contrast shadows, shoot when the sun is bright – or for softer, longer shadows, shoot when the sun is low in the sky.

 

5. Get up close with a macro lens

Get up-close and personal with the sights by trying a macro lens on your Canon EOS RP or Canon EOS 250D. Capture minute detail and shoot fascinating objects that other visitors might have missed. The Canon EOS R System is designed for a range of impressive RF lenses including the Canon RF 35mm F1.8 MACRO IS STM lens, a versatile wide-angle lens ideal for close-up macro shots as well as striking street photography and creative portraits.

Even without an interchangeable lens system, you can search for the details that make the place you're visiting unique, and create beautifully artistic shots: set to Macro, the Canon PowerShot SX70 HS can focus on objects closer than 1cm from the front of the lens.

 

6. Experiment at night

Don’t leave your camera behind when you're out for the evening. Cities – and skies – truly come alive at night, so don’t miss the photographic opportunities that await you whether you're having a night on the town or in remote areas. The full-frame Canon EOS RP will help you capture spectacular night scenes with its incredible low-light and high-ISO capabilities. Similarly, the Canon EOS 250D's APS-C sized sensor and DIGIC 8 processor ensure great results, even in low light.

To shoot the glittering night sky, you’ll get the best results with your camera resting on a stable surface or a portable tripod, to avoid camera-shake. Using a slower shutter speed will allow more light to creep in from distant stars – the shot below-right, for example, was taken on a Canon EOS RP with a Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM lens using a shutter speed of 25 seconds, an aperture of f/2.8 and ISO of 3200. Shorter shutter speeds will be more suited to some conditions and kit, though, to avoid the stars from blurring. Experiment to see what works best.

If a night-time cityscape is more your sort of thing, the Canon EOS RP’s exceptional low-light performance, beautiful Live View display and ability to autofocus down to an amazing -5EV will help you take shots packed with detail even when the human eye can barely make things out.

 

7. Master the settings to capture the scene

Wherever you travel, you'll want to capture the sights and views around you. Instead of just snapping away, take the time to think about your camera settings and create more distinctive photos. Do you want to take in a broad vista with a wide-angle view, or to hone in on one part of the scene using a longer focal length?

The picture of the girl on the beach below was shot on a Canon EOS 250D with a Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/4-5.6 IS STM lens at 55mm; the view of the hilltop town was taken with the same camera and lens but at 18mm.

For front-to-back sharpness, stick with a small aperture (high f-stop) in the range of f/8 to f/11 or so. Using a small aperture will maximise the depth of field in your image – getting more of the scene sharp, from close objects to distant ones – but f/11 is the smallest you should need to choose to achieve this effect. Smaller apertures than this run the risk of reducing image quality, without usually improving the depth of field enough to make the trade-off worthwhile.

 

8. Use the light

Bear in mind that the best time to shoot a striking landscape is often when the sun is lower in the sky and the light is softer – particularly during the so-called 'golden hour' around dusk and dawn. Shooting in the bright midday sun will tend to produce harsh shadows and risk blown-out highlights.

If you're shooting towards the sunset (or into the sun at any time), people or objects in the foreground are likely to be silhouetted. Don't fight it – embrace the opportunity to capture the atmosphere! For portraits with a difference, use the warming glow of a summer sunset to create dramatic silhouettes of your family and friends. For the most drama, try to keep your subject directly in front of the light you have exposed for, and look for strong and distinct shapes. If there are other objects in shot, try to move around or alter your composition to avoid any confusing overlapping or merging together of shapes.

 

9. Capture perfect people shots

It's not just about the places you go, of course, but the people too – whether they're you’re travelling companions or intriguing people you meet in your travels. For striking portraits that are all about the subject, embrace wide apertures (low f-numbers) for beautiful background blur or bokeh. Think about colour in the scene instead of distinct shapes.

Shoot using a 50mm prime lens such as the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM, set at f/2.2 for a bright portrait that glows with rays of the summer sun blurred in the background. The Canon EOS RP's built-in Eye AF will help to keep your portrait subject’s eyes in sharp focus when the camera is in Face Detect mode.

10. Go with the flow!

For more natural, relaxed photos, don't interrupt your holiday activities to pose your family in front of things. Instead, photograph them as you sightsee, capturing their spontaneous reactions. To capture the action, set your camera to AF Servo and select a quick shutter speed of 1/500 sec or faster. AF Servo setting enables you to lock focus onto moving subjects in order to keep them beautifully crisp. It's ideal for natural street-style photography or when the kids just won't stand still. The Canon EOS RP's Eye AF mode also works in AF Servo mode for super-sharp people pictures on the move.

If you have a DSLR or mirrorless camera from Canon, download the Canon Photo Companion app before you leave, for an easy access to learning content anywhere your travels take you.

Above all, remember to have fun!


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