We asked our friend and photographer Luca to answer a few questions about travel photography, which may also be helpful for both beginners and advanced, who aim to take great pictures while traveling.
What it means to you to take pictures during a trip: what’s the art of being able to capture emotions?
First off, enjoy the trip! Returning from a trip with pictures is essential, but not mandatory. The goal should be a few pictures, but good ones; start looking at the shot as a unique, reasoned but also instinctive moment. And not with a myriad of pictures because “digital isn’t a problem anyway, and a good one turns out”.
Art is within us; art is not about perfection and technique. If the conditions aren’t good, don’t take the picture, a mediocre memory is not nice to have.
What’s the basic equipment for a travel photographer?
A photographic backpack, a reflex/mirrorless camera, memory cards, 1 or 2 lenses, (one zoom and one fixed lens); it is important that they are bright optics, because it will help you even in the most critical light situations, and to have wonderful blur, especially for portraits. I’m actually a Canon photographer.
Pictures on the go: do you study before taking the on-site photos or do you leave room for emotions and suggestions once you get to your destination?
If it’s a business trip, yes absolutely I study a lot before. A photographer is a sort of meteorologist, always looking at the sky, the clouds, the intensity of shadows on the ground, and the warmth of the light at that precise moment. If it’s a leisure journey, I leave everything to chance, I don’t take photos if there are not the right light conditions. Maybe they will be there the next day, maybe not, who knows 🙂 I’m lazy!
P.s.: I’m not a tripod fanatic but when needed I consider it essential. And not a cheap tripod, but a real tripod, heavy, solid, and with a head with panoramic rotation, bubbles, and precise adjustments.
How do you prepare for a photographic trip?
I prepare the photographic travel based on the season and the place, the lenses based on these factors, without overdoing it because the photographic backpack weighs and above all it’s valuable.
In the backpack of the photographer, there is his entire life. The photographer’s backpack says a lot about what kind of photographer you are.
The art of making portraits while you’re traveling: a handbook for portraying people
Photographing people is difficult because you enter into their intimacy. Not all of us are photogenic, not everyone likes to be photographed. From my personal experience, a reassuring phrase and a smile can create the base for doing great things. And trust is the key. Making a person feel comfortable is the basis of a portrait. Then there’s street photography, which I don’t like: it’s observation and concentration, after deciding what we want to tell about that situation, that person. But of course without getting caught!
Tips for making an original photo
Always put yourself, don’t take photos from Instagram, because you’ve already seen thousand of photos of that place, that dish, that concert, and in the end they’re just another copy. No! We are overexposed to images that are all the same! Relax, breathe, and do what you want, communicate what you want, and take the photos you like! Make yourself happy, and make yourself proud of your pictures, always!
Relax, breathe, and do what you want, communicate what you want, and take the photos you like!Luca, professional photographer
The importance of lights and shadows in travel photography
Light commands photography, better if it is natural light. Understanding it, and knowing how to read it is wonderful. And wonderful it is to make mistakes, try and try again; waiting for the right moment that can really last a very short time, but how much difference it will make! The shadows chisel the photo, difficult to manage, but even here with the shadows you can say a lot about yourself, about the style you want to give to your photography. A hard shadow or a soft shadow will be the basis of your style. Which may change over time or become your photographic style.
Taking pictures with your smartphone: pros and cons
I’m old, I wasn’t born in the smartphone era. I use it and perceive its potential, especially the new generation ones. But I’m not a big fan of smartphones, I don’t like taking pictures with my phone.
Post-production: how to make the emotions you felt vibrate by taking your photos on the go
The post-production of photographs is very important because it’s the final finishing, “the Paris touch”. The more personal it is the better it is because it’s so easy to end up in the jungle of automatic and pre-set filters. By now there is no non-post-produced photo, but in my opinion, one must be careful not to distort reality.
Emphasize it yes, distort it no because it is very easy to fall into the tacky and fake. A fake sky is not beautiful, too smooth skin is not real. You take the photo, not the camera, nor Photoshop. “Well, there’s Photoshop”, please don’t say it, also because often those who say it, don’t even know how to use Photoshop 🙂
You take the photo, not the camera, nor Photoshop.Luca, professional photographer
Postproduction should help you, not overwhelm you. Excellent post-production will say a lot about you, it will make you recognizable. You will refine it, and the post-production will be based on the shot, not the other way around.