4 mins

How to use the coronavirus lockdown to improve your travel photography

Are you missing taking photos on your travels? Need a fix? Believe it or not, you can use this time to improve your travel photography from the comfort of your own home...

(Kav Dadfar)

1. Plan your next shoot

Where will you photograph next? (Kav Dadfar)

Where will you photograph next? (Kav Dadfar)

As a photographer, sometimes you'll get lucky. You will arrive at a location and everything will fall into place. Wonderful light, an interesting subject and the perfect composition all combine for that fantastic travel photo. But unfortunately, most of the time you must be willing to work hard to capture the shot you want to take.

Whilst at home during this period, use the time to plan your next photoshoot - wherever that may be. Start by looking online to get an idea of the type of photos you want to take and also what already exists from that destination.

Write down a shot list or just some ideas for specific shots, then work out the best times of the day to photograph that location or scenario. Doing this preparation now means that  when travel restrictions are lifted, you'll be ready to capture the perfect photograph.

2. Practice around the house

Not your average house (Kav Dadfar)

Not your average house (Kav Dadfar)

Taking landscape shots of the wilderness might be off the cards for now – unless you are lucky enough to live in the wilderness. But there are still lots of ways that you can practice your travel photography at home.

You can brush up on your portrait skills by photographing people in your household. Or you can practice your food photography, both indoors and outdoors using natural light. A family pet can help you improve your wildlife photography, and even the flowers in your garden can be wonderful subjects.

You can also try to improve aspects of your photography that you struggle with. For example, being able to shoot handheld in low light conditions, such as the ones you might encounter in a local market. Dim the lights and take photos of your family members and experiment with different settings to see where you might be going wrong.

You might just look back on this time as the period where you took your travel photography to the next level.

3. Read your camera manual

Do your homework to learn how to snap the perfect shot (Kav Dadfar)

Do your homework to learn how to snap the perfect shot (Kav Dadfar)

It may not be the most riveting piece of writing, but your camera manual is one of the best sources of information for your camera. Read the manual cover to cover and keep your camera handy, so you can try out all those buttons, dials and functions that you didn’t know the purpose of.

Once you have a good grasp of your camera you can always extend your knowledge further by searching the millions of photography articles online. Not only will doing this allow you to understand your camera better, but it will also help you improve your travel photography, too.

4. Evaluate your work

Be objective about your past photographs, says Kav (Kav Dadfar)

Be objective about your past photographs, says Kav (Kav Dadfar)

Use the time you have at home to look through some old photos from your last few trips and seriously evaluate them.

What’s good about the ones you like? What lets down the ones that you don’t? Why is that photo blurred? What could you have done better or what would you change if you could take a particular photo again?

By trying to figure out where you went wrong (or right), you'll be able to build up a catalogue of mistakes you've made in the past - and how to avoid making them again. Often, you'll learn more from your photography mistakes than your successes.

5. Be inspired by other photographers

Find inspiration in the work of fellow photographers (Kav Dadfar)

Find inspiration in the work of fellow photographers (Kav Dadfar)

As well as evaluating your own work, you can also admire the work of other photographers.

Whether it’s on Instagram or contests such as the Wanderlust Photo of the Year competition, looking at great photography can be inspirational . But it can also help you to improve your own work and encourage analytical thinking.

Try to figure out the settings that they might have used. Or the time of day that the photo was taken. You can even make some notes on the way the shots have been composed. Most competitions will have comments from the judges for winners and highly commended photos. If not, reach out to the photographer on social media.

This can be a great source of knowledge from professionals who really know their stuff, but remember: this exercise isn’t about replicating other people’s work but learning new skills.

6. Learn to edit your photos

Now's the perfect time to adjust your images (Kav Dadfar)

Now's the perfect time to adjust your images (Kav Dadfar)

Editing photos has always been a contentious issue. There are some photographers who prefer not to edit their photos at all. Whether you decide to edit your photos or not will come down to personal preference.

As a rule, almost every photo will benefit from some level of editing. This might be as simple as straightening it. Or it might be more complex and include adjusting the brightness, contrast, saturation, white balance and more. The key is subtle editing to enhance what already exists in the photo.

If you have never taken the time to learn how to use software such as Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop, this could be the perfect opportunity to learn. The good news is that there is a wealth of free information and videos online that can take you from complete beginner to editing expert.

Not only will it help cure some of the boredom you may be experiencing, but it'll also transform your final images.

7. Create your own photo book

Most importantly, ENJOY your travel photographs. They're memories, after all (Kav Dadfar)

Most importantly, ENJOY your travel photographs. They're memories, after all (Kav Dadfar)

For many people, all those wonderful photos of their travels will sit on their hard drive, never to be seen by anyone else. So, why not create a photo book that you, your family and friends can flick through?

Don’t just stick in a load of photos without any structure. Before you start, create a plan so that you can have a seamless flow through the book to keep it interesting.

Also, think about the photos that you will be putting in there. On each page, photos should work in combination with each other but also be different enough to avoid repetition. This means that you will have to be ruthless when deciding which photos make the cut and which don’t.

By the time you finish, you may end up with your very own personal Wanderlust travel book.

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