How to take great photos on your next road trip
Capture the magic of your next road trip using these photographic tips.
Use the right equipment: Digital cameras make it much easier to record the real essence of a road trip, as you don’t have to hope you got the right shot. You can snap away and check as you go to ensure the perfect picture.
Learn how to work fast: Even if you’re travelling on your own, you don’t want each picture stop to take half an hour. Be prepared to wait though if the shot requires it – sometimes hanging on for the right subject (a person, animal, vehicle) to wander into frame, is well worth the effort.
Fine-tune your settings: Try to keep your camera within easy reach and ready on a mid-range zoom. This way you can quickly set yourself to grab a shot in a hurry. If you’re shooting from a moving vehicle, use as fast a shutter speed as possible to avoid camera shake. If you have it on your camera, use a continuous focus mode. Photographing things further away will minimise the effect of motion blur.
Look for inspiration: A big part of the trip is the local life by the side of the road and in the towns you visit. Simple things like petrol stations, food stalls, temples, fence lines and even road crews can all make fantastic subjects.
Tell a story: Look for strange road signs, either professional or hand-made, as they make fabulous subjects and you usually tell a story when you show the photos to others. Try to photograph them in context, showing the rest of the road in the frame to give an idea of the sign’s connection to the road.
Go exploring: Get off the beaten track and take scenic routes away from the main highway. Be careful relying on your GPS for directions as some brands only direct you to freeways, not the old roads. When photographing the road, try to include something characteristic to give a sense of place. This might be an iconic car, a local flag or a road sign.
Ask for advice: Take time to meet locals and chat about the area. They can share unique places not necessarily shown on maps, or in tourist guides. Photograph locals too as they help remind you of a location and prompt you for stories they shared when you view the photos later on.
One more thing: If you don't have a digital camera then you can still follow these tips and get great results using your mobile phone. Most modern smartphones now feature cameras capable of taking great photos.