Want to take that perfect photo on your next trip? Renowned photographer Michele Westmorland shares her tips for capturing those memorable images.
1. Ask permission when photographing people.
Respect will get you a long way when photographing people in foreign lands. Engaging a person and getting their approval is the cornerstone of cultural photography. Of course, with large crowds, that is not always possible, but when singling one person out, just ask or move on.
2. Pack light and review equipment needs.
Review all your equipment needs and make a list. Not only will this ensure you don’t forget any important gadgets but it will also help you to be selective and abide by airline weight restrictions.
I tend to select my lenses based on weight and needs. A wide-angle zoom lens such as a Canon 16-35 will provide the capability of photographing landscapes and large groups of people. A medium zoom, such as a 24–70mm, will give you nice portrait photos or detail shots. Then to finish, a telephoto zoom will provide the best results for wildlife, such as birds.
It’s easy to just focus on capturing the “big picture” but don’t forget to get the details. When taking portraits, focusing on interesting elements such as the hands, an interesting piece of clothing or jewelry or a musical instrument being played.
5. Circular Polarizer
I never leave home without mine. A polarizer allows those rich forest images or puffy clouds to really pop.
6. Back-Up Those Images
Don’t rely on just your laptop or viewing device—I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard about people losing their precious images from device failure. Small portable drives are inexpensive and can give you peace of mind that you will get all of your images home safely.
7. Why RAW
If your camera has the ability to shoot in RAW format—use it! RAW format this is like having a negative of your image—it allows you to post-process the images the way you saw the scene through the lens. JPEGs take up less space but they compress the image, limiting your post-processing options.
8. Know Your Camera
Make sure you understand your camera. I am always happy to help sort out cameras but with so many cameras on the market it’s impossible to know the details of all of them. If you do not know the ins and outs of your camera, bring or download the manual—it will come in handy.
Experience Papua New Guinea with Michele this June on our “Through The Lens” small group trip. Michele Westmorland, a veteran of dozens of trips to Papua New Guinea with deep local connections, will facilitate wonderful cultural interactions and provide expert technical advice.This is travel as artistic endeavor, a deep immersion in the sound, shape and color of the world’s most kaleidoscopic land.