Life Behind The Lens: Five Tips For Travel Photography

The pair behind the popular blog share how they capture their breathtaking travel photography for The Journal. 

Every destination has its own history, culture, landscapes and stories, and photography is about seeing what’s in front of you, not just with your eyes, but with your heart & mind too. We’re in love with the idea that everyone has the ability to see the world with a unique perspective, to capture a fading moment in a photograph that lasts forever.

 

Learning to capture the magic of a destination in your photographs brings back the memories and feelings you felt, and helps you to share it with others, giving them a glimpse of what it might be like to venture there. Here are a few of our photography tips, some simple rules we use to guide us on our adventures around the globe.

Christopher wears the IWC Portugieser Chronograph
You don’t take a photograph. You make it.
Ansel Adams
Christopher at poolside

Look for light

Lighting truly is the most important element for great photography, and nothing beats that gentle morning glow. Many of our favourite photographs were taken in those precious moments as the sun rises or dips, that mystical golden hour with its soft, warm hues and photogenic shadows. Waking up early also means you’ll beat the crowds. There is no better feeling than wandering along an empty beach at sunrise or exploring an ancient temple without the noise of hundreds of camera shutters sounding in unison.

Location, location, location

We spend a lot of time researching a destination before we set off on our adventures. This helps us figure out what we want to see, where we want to eat, drink and sleep and what locations we need to cover. Make sure you read travel books, spend some time on the web and talk to friends who have been to the destination. Find out everything you can that is relevant, and devour it — then put together an itinerary of all the places you want to tick off, prioritize and become more knowledgeable about the places that will capture the essence of the destination. 

Sarah-Louise walking up stairs
A gondolier in Venice

Patience is a virtue

So many great photographs are the result of patience, what you’re looking for isn’t always in front of you. Pay attention to the details, slow down and make a conscious effort at becoming aware of your surroundings before pressing the shutter — the right circumstances are sometimes the key to getting that perfect shot. We once waited half an hour for a gondolier in an iconic straw hat to pass by us in Venice; it is still one of our favorite photographs to this day.

Find gems by getting lost

Escape the crowds and explore the road less traveled. Wander down alleys, sit in cafés and watch the world go by. Don’t eat where tourists eat, but where the locals do. Set off into the unknown and see where it leads, look outside the box and find beauty in the unexpected. When you’re exploring a destination, always carry a camera with you; serendipity plays a significant role in travel photography — you never know what you are going to find, and you have to be ready.

Sarah standing on a patio
Photography is an art of observation. It has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.
Christopher on the beach

Compose with the rule of thirds

Composition is key to a beautiful photo and one simple tip to follow is the rule of thirds. Break an image down into thirds horizontally and vertically, and visualise your subjects in each section to frame the image in a way that’s pleasing to the eye. Follow nature’s leading lines and use natural geography to lead your viewer to the main subject — and always make sure the horizon is straight. A human element with negative space can add a sense of scale, allowing the viewer to focus on a destination’s majestic landscapes.

 

Where will we adventure to next? Make sure you follow the @iwcjournal Instagram to find out. 


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Sarah-Louise Marks and Christopher Phelps run the popular travel blog "The Adventures of Us". The London-based couple are sharing their breathtaking escapes on The Journal in a special travel series.