Road trips are one of the great American pastimes. And so are selfies! Seriously though… when on a road trip, taking great photos is a must, but how can you take photos that are going to make you wish you were back on the road?
Here are my favorite tips for road trip photography:
Take everything you need
Camera, memory cards, extra batteries and chargers, the cord you need to transfer photos in case your card gets full, the laptop to transer to, a great case, a tripod (or a make-due tripod).
Know the “must shoot” icons in advance
Plan the best photo ops before you go. What will you be seeing? What are the “must take” pics for those places? I always hate when I visit somewhere awesome and forget to take a picture.
Jump out and take a pic every time you cross a state line!
Record the day
Shoot a pic of the local newspaper where you stay so you know what was going on in the world while you were traveling it. Or of the menu you were ordering off.
Try different perspectives
Those iconic landmarks are fun, but everyone has a shot of them, and well…you can find a pic on the internet. So get in the photo. Make it exciting. If the scene is too big to comfortably fit in a photo, focus instead on some details to give it a unique perspective. Try an abstract crop. It can have greater impact and give you an original photo to enjoy.
Learn about aperture
While many people take point and shoot photos, if you want to branch out a bit and play with f-stop for more dramatic and awesome photos keep this one rule in mind: wide aperture for portraits, narrow aperture for landscapes. And by wider aperture, it means smaller f-stop. This is what is going to give you the in focus subject, and the blurred background.
A reflector can be positioned on the not illuminated side of an object or person to help even out the light. It will reduce shadows and make for a more pleasing image. When in a pinch a white paper or poster board works great. Even a paper plate can work to help reduce shadowing when on the road.
Shoot early in the day and in the evening
Light is key to good photography. And when on the road, taking photos at high noon can often mean big shadows and bright glares. While there are exceptions to this rule, try to shoot in the best light, which is the light at the beginning or end of the day, when the sun is lower in the sky. Your pictures will have awesome contrast, shape and texture, when you shoot in that great light. Just remember to best exploit the shadows you get!
Make a fake tripod
If you don’t have a tripod, stabilize your camera on uneven surfaces using a bean bag. My best road trip hack for a tripod is to bring a bean bag and set the self-timer. Set the camera down on the beanbag to get a stable hold, even on uneven surfaces like rocks, frame the shot, and press the button. By the time your self-timer takes the photo, the movement from pressing it should be over and you will get a clearer shot. Just be sure to set a long exposure for a dramatic shot.
Lose the crazy arm selfie look
Use the self-timer rather than the extended arm. Makes for a better photo.
Use Burst Mode
Shoot kids in action in burst mode, it will increase the chance of getting the shot you want. Without having to stage it.
Hope this helps you get the best road trip photos ever!