Travel Photography Tip -Taking Photos of People You Don’t Know

© 2011, David/Anna Smith. For copyright permissons

 

Glamour, Dress, Vertical, Looking At Camera, Outdoors, 2024 Years, 2530 Years, Ethnic, Cheerful, Indonesia, Asian Ethnicity, Standing, Sitting, Smiling, Holding, Traditional Culture, Day, Bali, Padang Bai, Cruise ship. destination, travel, Traditional Clothing, Mid Adult, 20s, 30s, Color Image, Ornate, Three People, Women, Young Women, Portrait, Photography, Adults Only, inba011 Close-up portraits of young Bali women wearing traditonal costumes at Padang Bai, Bali, Indonesia, Asia

Local people add color and excitement to travel pictures so photograph them…an intimidating idea to many of us. Flowers, animals and mountain lakes don’t talk back to you but it is people who make the world colorful, friendly and more interesting (IMHO).  Be aware that different cultures react differently to foreigners and photographers.  Don’t violate cultural or religious taboos on photo taking – research this before you arrive.

To start: Experiment with people you know, Use telephoto lenses. Try children first ….they are much easier with few hang-ups. On Location:  Relax, study your site for interesting subjects, get people to be used to you and that you are a photographer with a camera and using it!  When you arrive at a scene for the first time  you are like a rock in a still pond causing huge  ripples everywhere.  If you have the time, hang out, relax, sip a latte, let the “ripples” subside and others will soon get used to you.

Shoot around your subject, then move closer & SMILE.  Engage in friendly conversation “I love your hat” “you have a beautiful village”  “Can you help me find —?”  Learn a few words of the local language, people always appreciate your efforts. After establishing any type of relationship with your subject ask “may I take your picture?” or if there is no common language, point to your camera then your subject with  a “may I?” gesture.  If there is a negative response – move on, there are billions of people in the world left to photograph.   The first poses are often stilted or unnatural – get your subject to hold and show you something or interact with others and plan on taking several shots to get a good one.  Come back later and try again, the second time your subject will be more natural and relaxed.

Don’t feel obligated to tip unless your really want. Bring home town pins, flags, mementos to hand out. In high traffic tourist locales tips can attract amazing subjects dressed in local costumes for better images. Some of your subjects rely on tips for their livelihood so carry lots of small bills to hand out, particularly in high traffic popular sites.

In a photo rich setting, watch and prepare for candid shots and practice your camera technique at home to be ready for that once in a life time opportunity, like this one of women fruit sellers in Antigua, Guatamala. David had 2 seconds to grab 2 shots before they turned down a lane.

 

Closeup. portrait, ethnic, Viet Nam, Viet Namese, Asian, Asia, Da Nang, Hoi An, village, historic, looking at camera, old, man, 70 to 80 years, 80 to 90 years, ancient, rotten, teeth, no teeth, toothless, straw, hat, wearing, smiling, backlight, tooth, toothy smile, blind, backlit, back light, water, boat, canoe, fishermna, fishing, fisher, posing, staring, People, Contemplation, Dress, Hat, Outdoors, War, Vietnam, Traditional Culture, Day, Hue, Traditional Clothing, One Person, Vietnamese Culture, Adult, Young Adult, Color Image, South Vietnam, Old man, Photography, Vietnamese Ethnicity, David Smith, Interface Images, Close-up of a Vietnamese man wearing a straw hat in a fishing boat in Hoi An village, Viet Nam

Close-up of a Vietnamese man wearing a straw hat in a fishing boat in Hoi An village, Viet Nam

A few tricks:

  • Let children pose themselves – they’re natural; Say “Touch heads” and you will always get a smile and a laugh.  Want a friend for life? – exchange contact info, send/email photos.
  • Using a digital Camera? The BIGGEST icebreaker by far is to show them the picture you took.  Everybody likes to look at themselves. Capture yourselves with your new friends by using Dave’s Smile Circle ä effect, a technique which will be explored in detail in a future post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

teenage, girl, young, model, beautiful, attractive, Karen, hill, tribe, Chiang Rai, Thailand, brass, neck, long, ring, neck, longneck, village, villagers, ancient, historic, medical abnormality, ethnic, portrait, tribal, custom, smile, smiling, photographers, adventure, travel, outdoors, Asia, Asian, culture, Thai, ethnicity, culture, David Smith, Interface Images, Teenage girl in the Long Neck village of the Karen hill tribe near Chiang Rai, northern Thailand

Teenage girl in the Long Neck village of the Karen hill tribe near Chiang Rai, northern Thailand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No need to travel afar, watch for local festivals and special events.  When people get dressed up for parades and cultural festivals, they are really saying “take my picture”  Don’t get there just for the parade – get there for setting up and post parade interaction. If you are on a tour be sure to photograph your traveling companions doing things, your tour guide and any local hosts or entertainment events.

gay, pride, pryde, parade, Vancouver, rights, festival, lesbian, bisexual, homsexual, public, nudity, celebration, event, day, editorial, procession, gay rights, movement, transvestite, out of the closet, David Smith, Interface Images, Image by Interface, gayp019 Participants in the annual Gay Pride Parade in Vancouver, BC, Canada on August 5, 2007

Participants in the annual Gay Pride Parade in Vancouver, BC, Canada

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remember -A memorable portrait is really a moment in time between a photographer and a subject and is an effective  tool to get to know, experience & appreciate people around the world.

Please share some of your favorite photos and stories of people you didn’t know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Better Photography Techniques For Tours and Shore Excursions

© David Smith  www.interfaceimages.com

Tour, Guide, Nina, Kazarina, in, front, of, an, Oceania, Cruise, Lines, tour, bus, and, holding, a, tour, bus, "popsicle", in St. Petersburg, Russia, Petersburg, tour, guide, Oceania, 001 Tour Guide, Nina Kazarina, Oceania Cruise Lines. Cruises, tour bus,"popsicle St. Petersburg, Russia, shore excursion, destination, services, port of call, Russian, smiling, ahppy, friiendly, face, 20 to 24 years, intelligent, outgoing, travel, David Smith, Interface Images

Tour Guide Nina Kazarina in St. Petersburg,

 

Many guided tours and cruise ship shore excursions provide excellent travel photography opportunities that are frequently missed.  As frequent guest lecturers and  invited escorts on tours organized by Holland America, Seabourn Cruises, Oceania Cruise Lines and Regent Seven Seas,  Anna and I have toured most world ports of call in the their amazing Mediterranean, Baltic, Atlantic, Caribbean, South American, SE Asian and South Pacific and Australian/NZ itineraries.

There are some travel photos and videos in this post to help illustrate some of the following suggestions for getting better travel images while on tour:

  1.  Research your tour itinerary by reading the detailed tour descriptions and attend shore excursion presentations on board to learn planned visit locations in advance to help prepare your photography strategy and a shot list. Local tour operators can move you around quickly so always have your camera ready for those one in a lifetime photo opportunities. Practice your camera techniques before touring to avoid fumbling with your camera on site.  David’s  online Travel Photography Tips and Techniques  course  will help.
Melanesia, Kanak, natives, New Caledonia, South Pacific, Ocean, tribal, ethnic, costume, cannabal, tribal, tradition, island, culture, grass. skirt, straw, fierce, dangerous, local, travel, David Smith, Interface Images, fine art, ilse, pines, newcaledonia, native, 001 Kanak natives in Ile de Pines, New Caledoniawearing etnic tribal costume

Kanak natives in Ile de Pines, New Caledonia wearing ethnic tribal costume

 

Locate yourself for uncluttered shots. If there is live entertainment or a cultural demonstration sit in the front or side of the audience to get unfettered action images.  Consider walking about during the show to get different angles and distances from the action. All entertainers and presenters are willing to have their photographs taken You paid for the tour and presenters are paid by the tour operator as well so get your cameras out and ask.  Be sure to capture locals in ethnic dress. Visit a previous Blog post about photography of people you don’t know for more.

  1. Create a photo story of the tour to create more interest when you share your photography later. Capture the your guide, the sign on the front of the bus, flags, icons and symbols as well as the typical shots. Get establishing shots (the most common type), medium range shots and close-ups to keep interest.  Review a prior post Travel Photography Tips for Cruisers – Part 1 for more hints. This collage summarizes a recent visit to the twice a week fresh market in Kusadasi, Turkey.
collage, Kusadasi, Turkey, local, culture, ethnic, fresh, produce, market, vendors, life, life style, people, many, Turkish, Muslim, Tuesday, traavel, fine art, David Smith, Interface Images, FreshMarketKusadasiTurkey A photo story of the fresh market in Kusadasi, Turkey as a collage

A photo story of the fresh market in Kusadasi, Turkey as a collage

David’s photos of his recent  shore excursion tour of the newly opened Titanic Belfast Museum.  (Our tour guide Ed Boyd  is a professional actor as well and he made the tour fascinating by acting out the major players as they decided on the number of lifeboats to put on board)

Multiple values, cruise ship. shore excursion, port of call, tour, Titanic, Museum, Belfast, 022 null

The NEW Titanic Museum in Belfast

When you come across an excellent tour guide or fabulous entertainers a tip is always appreciated and use that opportunity to get portraits of your guide and hosts  with and without your travelling companions and be sure to hand your camera to someone to get yourself included in the fun and excitement of your tour photo story. Exchange contact information, be Facebook friends and send your photos to your new friends. Revisiting those magical ports of call and have new friends waiting for you makes travelling with your camera a must while on tour and on shore excursions.

Florence, Italy, Tuscany, Firenze, historic place, travel, port of call, shore excursion, cruise ship, destination, tour guide, David Smith, Interface Images, Oceania, Cruises, Florence, Italy, tour, 001 Lisa of StepIntoFlorence is an excellent tour guide!

Lisa of StepIntoFlorence is an excellent tour guide!

David has just published a new online Travel Photography – Amazing Tips and Techniques course.

About the Authors. David and Anna Smith are World travel & fine art photographers, Bloggers, workshop leaders, key note speakers and cruise ship guest lecturers, Their world image archive: Interface Images, fine art gallery: Celebrate the World and Blog: Images-Connecting the World

Permission to post this in its entirety on other Blogs and web sites is granted subject retaining all links in this Blog and  providing your info and a link to dave@interfaceimages.com and credit to “David/Anna Smith of Interface Images www.interfaceimages.com

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Travel Photography Image Brief – Easy Camera Settings to Capture Stunning Sunsets

On a recent visit to the Greek Islands (happiness is a scooter, sandals and a bathing suit!) we watched an amazing sunset being created from our hotel balcony in Rhythmno on the north western coast of Crete. This sunset was visible all over Crete and the locals still talk about it weeks later. Casual travel photographers rarely capture sunset sunsets properly since the camera light meter gets confused by the combination of bright bright sun and dark clouds. One needs to underexpose sunset photographs to create a dramatic sky, better exposed sun and bright highlights and increased color saturation. In the film camera days, good photographs would set exposure to the sky behind the sunset and then set cameras settings in manual to -2 stops. With digital cameras its easy, just set your exposure value (UV) to – 2.0 but you have to be off automatic mode on most digital cameras to be able to change your EV settings.

Use -2.0 EV setting on your camera

Use -2.0 EV setting on your camera – Fine Art Prints Available

 

A 2012 post about capturing sunsets is repeated below, kind of a cool travel photography story.

Istanbul Sunset

Istanbul Sunset – A Call to Prayer

When Captain Ressa moved Oceania Cruise Lines new Marina cruise ship from the pier in Istanbul, he could not have picked better timing. As she swung about to slip by the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and the Topkapi Palace, an intense vivid red sunset was punctuated by a Muslim call to prayer echoing among the minarets. On deck, some tears were shed, cameras clicked furiously and it was all over in a few minutes as dusk faded into night and the ship moved southwards down the Bosphorus. Being the start of a Oceania Cruises “Myths and Monuments” voyage to Turkey and Greece is this lifetime memorable event a sign of more to come?

Travel Photo Tip with David Smith: Capturing better sunset images

I cringed as I saw most cameras capturing this lifetime moment with just a few shots in automatic mode. Light meters, even in today’s sophisticated digital cameras, can’t handle the complexity of both the intense bright spots around the sun lit clouds and the dark moods of the burnt ember colored sky. In automatic mode the inability of a camera’s sensor to capture both bright and darks
at the same time results in a rather flat looking image with blown out bright areas and not so colorful clouds. To capturing better sunsets with your camera you must underexpose the shot to reduce blown out brights and increase the saturation of the brilliant colors..

The magic elixir that makes this happen without having to know anything about shutter speeds and f-stops is the Exposure Value (EV) button. Often a plus/minus symbol with a diagonal line or a menu setting control in almost all digital cameras have this control, sometimes enabled only when you are NOT in automatic or scene modes.

EV control button

To underexpose your shot set the EV control to a negative number. The default setting is EV=0.0 so take a shot at the auto or default setting, then move the EV setting to -1.0 take a shot, then move it to -2.0 take a shot, etc. Better cameras have EV setting ranges of up to + or – 5.0 so go lower than EV=-2.0 if you can. An EV of -2.0 is the same as underexposing by 2 stops in the old film camera world. You can see the results instantly on your camera’s LCD. By bracketing you can can select the best shot to show later. This sequence of photos of the same scene shows the dramatic difference to sunsets by underexposing the shot in 1 EV increments. IMHO, the most dramatic images is the -2 EV shot.

 

Underexposing sunset shots increases color saturation and adds drama

 

 

 

 

 

NOW – to really Jazz up the shot!

To create an even more dramatic image as shown in the top of this post, I selected the -2.0 EV shot and performed a 1 mouse click adjustment of the image by using an amazing image enhancement plug-in called Topaz Adjust 5.0 from Topaz Labs.  I used my favorite “Spicify” preset from the dozens of presets available.  This preset gives the image a dramatic textured effect ideal for travel photos .Other plug-ins for image noise, simplify, black and white effects and others are also available from Topaz Labs.  These plug-ins work with Photoshop Elements, Photoshop CSx, iPhoto, free Irvanfu and many other photo editing software products and all are user friendly and no not require “Photoshop” skills. They even offer free and live training webinars.

Readers can order fine art canvas, prints, acrylic and cards of this Istanbul sunset image and other world fine art images from our Fine Art America web site.  Images there can also be that can also be downloaded for print publication and Blogs.

David  Smith is a professional travel photographer, guest lecturer and photo workshop leader on cruise ships, photo conferences and corporate events. He is published worldwide and his web site is Interface Images 

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Fun Travel Photography Tip – Group Photos of People You Meet

 

Group, portrait, teenage, Turkish, Muslim, girls, young, dressed. local, Amazon, smiling, happy, fun, 16 to 18 years, 18 to 20 years, youth, exuberant, excited, dancing, travel, tourism, local, culture, ethnic, portrait, costume, Photographers and Travel Writers, David, Anna Smith, Interface Images, demonstration, photo, Interface Images, Blog, www.interfaceimages.com. Sinop, Turkey, Amazon, Girls, Sinop, Turkey, 010 Group portrait of teenage Turkish girls dressed in local Amazon costume in a circle while looking down on the camera. Photographers and Travel Writers David and Anna Smith of Interface Images are in the top right hand corner of the image. A demonstration photo of David
Group portrait of teenage Turkish girls dressed in local Amazon costume in a circle while looking down on the camera. Photographers and Travel Writers David and Anna Smith of Interface Images are in the top right hand corner of the image. Location is Sinop, Turkey

Cool Photographer Tip – Dave’s ‘Smile Circle Group’

As a former Vancouver BC based wedding photographer, I created a fun and creative photo technique to capture the bridal party. It became my signature wedding image for all my weddings. I would lie on the dance floor with my camera pointed up, flash on and make sure all of the bridal party were positioned above me looking down and smiling while touching heads. Here are a few examples from my wedding shoots. :

 

 

 

 

 

Well I modified this technique to be used in our travel photography adventures so BOTH the photographer and the subjects can be in the shot. This works with BOTH Point and Shoot and SLR cameras and works indoors or outdoors. You can capture up to 10 people with this technique (depends on the camera lens and zoom out setting). Here’s how it’s done.

  1. Set the camera timer to about a 10 second duration. Look for the clock/timer symbol.
  2. Force the flash on to lighten up the faces with the typical strong back lighting from the sky or overhead lights. Look for the lightning bolt symbol or pull up the popup flash (or use an external dedicated strobe flash set at ETL/ATL).
  3. Set the cameras focus method to multiple point or face detection. If left on the default center spot focus setting the camera will not focus on the faces but on the sky or background
  4. Set the lens to the maximum wide angle possible to fit all people in the shot
  5. Remove the lens hood, if any, as the wide angle lens setting will cause a shadow in the lower half of the image created by the light of the popup flash hitting the lens hood
  6. Turn off image stabilization (don’t forget to turn it on afterwards!) to avoid blurring the image when the camera is stable on the ground
  7. Place the camera on the floor/ground pointing up.
  8. Ask your subjects to gather round the camera facing down so their heads form a ring of faces over the camera. Ask them to touch heads. This always invokes laughter and merriment.
  9. Press the shutter button, and if you want to be in the photo yourself, join the ring and encourage the group to smile, laugh, making funny faces, etc. Remember the timer is set to 8 or 10 seconds, don’t have people laugh/giggle until just before the shutter goes.

Notes: By placing the camera on the floor/ground you have an opportunity to get more people in the shot as it us further away from the subjects versus holding the camera while you lie down. 10 seconds later you will have created a memorable photograph. Take several shots to select a best one

Send us your best shots by email using this technique. The best ones will be featured in our next Images newsletter and ALL entries will awarded complimentary access  to both  David’s online Udemy Travel Photography courses

Travel Photography – Amazing Tips and Techniques or Easy Photography Tips for Cruise Ships and Ports

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© 2014 David Smith www.interfaceimages.com. All rights reserved. Licenses for image use and content publication are available. Please share this post and links.

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Easy Panorama Travel Images – Part 2

A Fine Art Print

A Fine Art Print

Easy Panorama Travel Images – Part 2                                                           © 2013 David Smith www.interfaceimages.com

Using your camera to capture panoramic images was covered in a recent Blog post: Easy Panorama Travel Images – Part 1. After capturing the multiple set of images with your camera, stitching of your panorama images is easy with today’s stitching software. Note that some cameras stitch the images in camera or use a video capture technique without requiring a computer and software. This post covers software techniques.

IMAGE SIZING

Before merging the images into a panorama you need to decide on the final size of the panorama photograph and to match that size with your own printer or photo finishers capability. A common panorama aspect ratio (i.e width:height) is 4:1,5:1 or 6:1. A typical image resolution for printing is 300 pixels per inch so a 100 in wide x 20 in. tall panorama print (a 5:1 aspect ratio) requires a crop width of 100 in x 300 pixels/inch = 30,000 pixels and a height crop of 20 in. x 300 pixels/inch = 6,000 pixels. In short, 30,000 x 6,000 pixels. Simply select your crop dimensions for 30,000 x 6,000 pixels and set the resolution in the crop tool to 300 pixels/inch and voila you have a crop!

Decide in image sizes before select the crop

Decide on image size before select the crop

Watch edges and key components before final crop is done

Watch edges and key components before final crop is done

Some online printing services may restrict image file size so your huge panorama file may not be accepted. Check the uploading specifications for your printer service as some may accept lower resolution (as low as 100 pixels per inch), compressed files or smaller dimensions for upsizing.  Alternately deliver the image file directly. Expect file sizes in the range of 10 Megabytes to 50 Megabytes and more depending on the camera megapixels, number of images used in creating the panorama, cropping, image resolution and jpg compression or quality settings used.

The screen snapshots in this post are taken from Adobe Photoshop CS4’s “Photomerge” tool which is identical to Photoshop Elements (9 and up) File/New/Photomerge tool. Most scenic and travel panoramas involve subjects which are a long distance from the camera so shooting handheld and leaving the software default settings and options on the wizards works well. In some cases, particularly for closer architectural images, you may need to experiment with image layout and image distortion correction option settings to get a good merge. Sometimes just repeating the software process creates a better merge.

TYPICAL PHOTO STITCHING STEPS

Select your panorama  series images using the "photomerge" tool

Select your panorama series images using the “photomerge” tool

The default settings work well with scenic panoramas. Experiment with various options as necessary

The default settings work well with scenic panoramas. Experiment with various options as necessary

When your subject is closer to the camera, within 50 feet or so, you can get parallax errors associated with the fact that the optical center of the camera is not the same as the tripod screw pivot point or center point of a handheld sequence. In such cases the camera position needs to move forward or backward  to minimize this type of distortion using somewhat expensive ($200 plus) adjustment mounts or like I do jury rigging off tripod center camera mounts with screws and metal pieces for a few dollars. To correct perspective distortion and correct buildings falling in (i.e. vertical lines are not vertical) in Photoshop CS or Elements use Select/All and the Edit/Transform/Perspective options then select and drag the tiny corner boxes for vertical true lines. Watch for an upcoming  Blog post this month  entitled “Easy Correction of  Perspective Distorted Travel Images” 

PANORAMA STITCHING SOFTWARE

In addition to the easy to use panorama tool wizards in Adobe (www.adobe.com) Photoshop CS (CS2 and up) and Photoshop Elements (9.0 and up), software supplied with some cameras and other software solutions are available. Other panorama stiching software includes the free Hugin Panorma Photosticher (www.hugin.sourceforge.net), PTgui (€ 79 and up) from www.ptgui.com and panatour (€99.00) from www.kolor.com.

PANORAMA FINE ART PRINTS.

I have recently added a high quality World panoramic fine art print collection to my Fine Art America online print gallery including 360 degree views of the interior of Grand Central Station in New York City (in color and black and white) , snowy city skyline of Vancouver, BC, Monaco harbor in the French Riviera, Portofino in the Italian Riviera , Santorini caldera and newly uploaded Cape Town Skyline at sunset and the Catherine Palace near St. Petersburg, Russia.  Most of my panoramic fine art prints have been dramatically enhanced with the Adjust 5.0 “Spicify” plug-in (usable in most software products) from Topaz Labs.

 

Use the Select/All and Edit/Transform/Perspective to straighten verticals

Use the Select/All and Edit/Transform/Perspective to straighten verticals

SHARE YOUR PANORAMA IMAGES

You are welcome to post links to your online panorama images in the comments below or join and upload your travel images to my Facebook Group:  Travel Photography Tips and Photo Adventures. I will award complimentary lifetime access to my online Travel Photography-Amazing Tips &  Techniques Course  for the best panoramic image submitted before May 31/13.

About the author:  David Smith is a world travel photographer, travel writer, travel photo blogger, photo instructor and guest lecturer on cruise ships, photo conferences and corporate events.  He has visited 100 countries on 6 continents and is published worldwide.  Recent clients include National Geographic -Poland, Wall Street  Journal, Seabourn Cruise Lines, Oceania Cruise Lines, Holland America Lines,  Geo Saison and Frommers. Web sites:  Interface Images online archives ,  Fine Art Print Galley,  online photo training courses, Facebook page and Facebook Travel Photo group.  Contact

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Some Easy Fixes for Mediocre Travel Images

Some travellers don’t take the time to use or have knowledge of good composition techniques when using their cameras. Frequent travelers also find themselves at famous world locations at the wrong time and place.  Organized tours and cruise port of call visits often occur during midday when the sun is high and the scene is lit with high contrast and light glare from the noon-time sun.  Unless a return and longer visit in the early morning or late afternoon is arranged, those magical travel photographs with soft colored light at dynamic low angles just don’t happen.

The good news if it is raining or there are overcast cloudy skies, then the softer diffuse light created by the sun’s light coming though clouds (as the world’s biggest light soft-box!) makes for  pleasant and softer more color saturated travel images. A soft rain makes for amazing travel images so don’t hide in the covered cafes, get your cameras out!  Be sure to wipe dry any moisture on your camera and lens frequently to avoid camera electronics failure down the road.

Here is an example of a very bad travel image I captured on a recent cruise ship visit to the island of Samoa in the South Pacific. The local tourist board put on a fantastic cultural music, dance and art craft exhibition which started at 11 am just as the sun peaked above with the worst light and glare possible. Not knowing what would be happening I did not take a seat for the music and dance performance area but kept moving about the event and behind the audience to get better uncluttered views. When the torch bearer came on stage, the emcee asked for the stage right grassy area be cleared of people – that was my clue to go to stage right so I had the area to myself for a few moments for some uncluttered quick shots.  When the torch bearer passed by me twirling his lit torch, I felt kerosene drops on me (hence the warning) but got a few quick grab shot. I checked my camera and wiped a big kerosene drop off the front of my lens. Yikes!

When I viewed the image later on my computer I groaned – this is an ugly image!!.  High contrast, strong shadows on faces and horrible composition with the main subject centered, trees and audience members everywhere. Ugh!! Here is the unedited shot:

An ugly travel image lit by midday sun

An ugly travel image lit by midday sun

Steps to fix this ugly image:

  1. Reminder: Set your camera image size to the largest possible so future cropping still retains high quality in smaller size.
  2. Straighten the image for the horizon line to be actually horizontal. This is a frequent problem for me. (I think one of my legs is shorter than the other!). Use your image editing software straighten image tool.
  3. Crop the image to eliminate the unnecessary components such the tall palm tree and hut on the right and most of the audience members on the left while placing the torch bearer off center. (Cropping alone often fixes poor images dramatically. Use the rule of thirds, leading lines and keep your main subject off centered). 
  4. Fix the darkened faces in your digital photography software by increasing the lightness of the shadows, increasing exposure slightly or adding a fill light (or suitable  combinations) .
  5. A simple easy to use fix for the poor exposure is to use the the HDR Sketch – Light  preset  in the Topaz Labs Adjust 5.0 plugin with slightly increased brightness. (HDR=High Dynamic Range). This preset automatically increase lightness in dark regions, reduces brightness in light areas and adds texture and punch to an image and in one mouse click.

Total time to crop, straighten and fix exposure: Only 15 seconds! 

Here is the resultant edited image.  Now isn’t this better?  By the way, this image started to sell as a fine art print within days of posting it in my Fine Art America gallery.

Please take the time to fix your bad travel images and before showing them to others, A good travel photographer does not show anyone their bad images. (Well, I made an exception in this case…)

Order as a fine art print

Order as a fine art print

Please share your before and after editing travel images and how you fixed them.  Please send by email. Interesting ones will be published in future Blog updates and the photographer will gain lifetime access to any of my online travel photography classes.

Our next Blog post will be another popular Where’s David and Anna? quiz.  Watch for it soon.

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