Each holiday destination has its particular setting, character, and atmosphere. For travel photographs to be memorable, they may need to capture the essence of a place and the emotions of the visitors. With the expansion of social media, picture sharing seems to have increased. According to data released by Pew Research Internet Project, the photo-sharing app Instagram was the fastest growing major social networking site in 2014.
Alex Bucse is a photographer living in Seattle, USA. The Positive interviewed Alex on methods to take inspiring snapshots while on vacation.
How do you capture the character of a place in a photo?
I determine what is specific about a place or subject and what story I want the photo to tell. If it’s a building, for example, I look for lines leading to the building, such as a road, a handrail, a tree line, and incorporate it in the composition. If it’s a touristic place, I capture the tourists enjoying the location. Shooting after sunrise and before the sunset provides smooth light, which sets the mood. Photography during a sunny day may cast deep shadows or powerful light rays which may add contrast.
What techniques do you use when photographing landscapes and people?
Landscape photography depends on location, light, and weather, which may vary and change the quality of the photo. Finding the right location, having the right gear, choosing the right filter, and waiting for the right time and light, are all factors to consider. A wide-angle or ultra wide-angle lens may be best for landscapes. I also turn off Image Stability (Canon)/ Vibration Control (Nikon)/ Optical Steady Shot (Sony). Capturing motion or longer exposure may require a Neutral Density filter. For portraiture I use a 70-200mm F2.8 lens, which allows to blur and compress the background and to separate the subject from it. Regarding street photography, I aim to capture candid moments without distracting the subject’s attention. I use a technique called “shooting from the hip”; using a wide-angle lens, I carry the camera as I normally would when unused and point it towards the subject and take the shot without looking at or near the camera.
How do you take a group picture?
Group photos may be challenging, especially when travelling. I use a tripod and a remote for the camera. Another option is asking someone to take the picture for you if you want to be in the shot or to use a selfie stick. I encourage groups to do something spontaneous or fun to get some natural smiles.
How important is spontaneity when taking a photo?
Photographers aim to capture the moment and the best photos seem to be spontaneous. Nowadays it may be easier to bring a camera with you on vacation. Some examples of cameras packing high quality in small sizes may be Sony R100, Canon G7x and Nikon 1.
What kit do you rely on when you take holiday photos?
Nikon D610 with 14-24, 24-70, 70-200 lenses and Manfrotto Tripod is my go-to kit. An alternative lighter gear on a budget may be the Sony A7 with the 28-70mm kit lens and MeFoto Tripod.
What is the etiquette to follow when taking holiday photos?
Courtesy and common sense may take a photographer a long way. My aim is to get the shot, share the space, be respectful of locals and local customs, and considerate of other visitors.
Any additional tips you may like to share?
Occasionally I use the phone, as an alternative to camera. I aim to be dynamic, to change the angle of the photo, shoot from down below or from above, to move around. Finding the best angle may involve working with them all.
To see more photos by Alex and learn other useful photography tips, you may access:
What innovative ways are there to store and share holiday photos in the technology era?