Don’t wait until you’re on your travels to improve your photography. Start right now in your own backyard...
Get over the nerves of approaching strangers by practicing at home in the UK. A smile and a hello will go miles. If someone has a great face for a photo, tell them so. And once they’ve said yes, learn to work fast: you can’t expect someone you’ve just met to miss their bus so you can get one more shot.
The thought of going out in the rain to shoot might not be all that attractive, but when you’re in a tropical rainstorm and you don’t know how to get the best results from your camera, you’ll curse yourself for not trying it out here in rain-soaked Britain first.
Learn how each animal moves, some of its defining characteristics and what kind of angles work best when attempting to photograph it. Try close-ups and wide-angle shots, and determine whether you get better shots when it is moving or standing still, and the logistics involved in each.
Capture what you see on the platform, through the window, and at your destination.
This will help you convey movement, and take the range of photos (set-up shots, portraits, details) you need to tell a story. All for the price of a train ticket.
Rising at 4am might seem daunting, but as day breaks, you’ll experience a whole range of light and shade. Besides, it’s a wonderful experience in itself – once you’ve got a few shots of coffee down you, that is.
See the world in monochrome for a day. Look for environments where texture and shade are prominent.
Try to make these destinations desirable, as if you are selling your local town as a travel destination.
You might think your daily grind is a mundane subject for photos, but so (we imagine) do Indian rickshaw drivers and Moroccan tea vendors. Find the interest in the everyday.
A bit of fun, this one. Put the camera on self-timer, press the button, and see how far you can run in two seconds. Check out one man’s surreal and entertaining efforts.
If you’ve ever seen the film Smoke starring Harvey Keitel you will be familiar with this concept. The longer you can keep going, the better – you will begin to realise how things subtly change as time goes by.
It could be a greengrocer, a postman, a town councillor or a business executive. The key is to develop an eye for the subtle nuances of this person’s working life, the emotions and events that shape who they are. It will also help you build confidence when working with strangers.
Have fun searching for seven great shots dominated by one single colour of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. NB this one’s great for kids, too.
It’s not just the Serengeti that has wildlife, you know. Choose a species – squirrel, wren, Peregrine, deer, buzzard, pheasant; it must be wild and live within a five mile radius. Spend a weekend photographing, and keep just three shots.
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