Expert photography tips

Expert photography tips

A great travel photo captures the character of a destination, and is a long-lasting memory of your trip. But how do you turn your holiday snaps into travel photography you can really be proud of? We asked official photographer for the London 2012 Olympic Games, Jon Nicholson, for some tips.

Before you set off do some research into the place you are going. Libraries and the internet are a great source of information that could prove invaluable.

Take your time
The common fault when faced with a stunning view is to shoot on a wide-angle lens; but the problem with this is that you are left with a small point of interest in the middle of the frame. So shoot on a longer lens and pick out the most interesting points of the view – be it shapes or colours of the trees, a church spire or a particular detail, character or animal – and concentrate on making them look good. The rest of the picture will come.

Discover something new
Explore off the beaten track. Lose yourself in the alleyways of Varanasi or Marrakech and you will be amazed what you can find. Stop and immerse yourself in daily life, and get as close as possible to the subject of the picture to capture the different textures and tones, which are key to giving the picture colour and life.

Get a different perspective
The best shot may not be from a standing position; climb up high or lie down to take pictures from more unusual perspectives and always remember to look behind and above you. Don’t be afraid to just relax and take photos from as many different angles as possible – don’t hide behind the view finder!

Speak to the people you are working with and don’t worry about being shy – once people know what you are up to they are normally happy to have their picture taken. Be patient, even if this means talking to your subject without your camera to gain their trust before going back later to take your shots. It is essential to respect the cultural boundaries and form bonds before taking pictures – a smile can go a long way to break down any such barrier! Don’t always shoot on a long lens from across the street. Get up close and personal, and use a wider lens such as 35mm or 50mm.

Remember the essentials
Don’t take too much gear; remember good shoes, a smile and a bottle of water. People get very tired quickly by carrying too much equipment and this can ruin a day.

Budding photographers can join Jon Nicholson on guided photography tours to Bhutan, Jodhpur and Varanasi this year. For more information contact Abercrombie & Kent (0845 618 2194;

Photo by Jon Nicholson

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