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 Improving your travel photography with Sue Forbes

 Sue Forbes is a part of the expedition team working as a naturalist, Zodiac driver and photographer. She joins several Noble Caledonia trips each year teaching photography and putting together slideshows and films of your journey. Sue has provided guidance below on how to improve your photography when on tour.




You know that feeling..looking at someone’s photo and thinking ‘why don’t my images look like that’.  Surprisingly its actually not that hard to improve the images you take, and it doesn’t have to involve spending thousands of pounds on gear or knowing all the technical stuff in your camera.

In this article I’m going to share a few suggestions on how to improve your photography in the areas that I think embrace the essence of a Noble Caledonia trip – Landscape, Culture / people and Wildlife.  The theme throughout is about how you see images, using your eyes and body to look around, move around before you take the photo.





The landscapes we encounter are usually immense with lots of interesting layers that our eyes capture with ease.  It’s more difficult for the camera so here are a few tips to help with that:

              • Include something recognizable as scale like a person, building or a zodiac.
              • Think about placing objects in the foreground and background to provide depth like rocks or a lake in the foreground and mountains in the background.
              • Use leading lines, like a road, stream or telegraph poles to lead your viewer into the photograph. 




  Culture / People

              • When taking photos of people try not to cut off various limbs!  There are 3 classic people shots – Headshot (down to around mid-chest), Body shot (down to mid-thigh to get the fingertips) or Complete person (remember the feet!)
              • For the classic portrait definitely use the portrait mode on your phone or camera as it will make the person ‘pop’ by putting the background out of focus.  If it doesn’t, just get the person to stand further away from the background and that will help.
              • For cultural settings like traditional dancing or village life, video is a great format so you can record not just the movement but also sound.  Keep the clips short with small, smooth movements for capturing dancing.       
              • Have a go at taking people shots from a slight angle, like this girl in Vanuatu. It's more flattering for the person you’re taking a photo of.




While you’re scratching you head wondering how you can possibly get good wildlife shots this gray seal provides a hint.

            • Listen to the naturalists on board so you can understand the behaviours of the animals you’re trying to capture.  You stand a much better chance of getting great shots if you can predict what is about to happen and be ready for it.  Like the arching back of a humpback whale just before it dives, showing you those amazing flukes.
            • Don’t always put the subject right in the centre of the photo.  It makes for more interesting shots to place them off centre and provides space for the animal to move into.
            • Make it easier for yourself to capture the action by using burst mode.  On a phone just hold down the shutter button on the screen and it will take multiple shots.





So, while we are all limited to our home bases right now go give these ideas a try and be ready for your next Noble Caledonia adventure!