Guest Writer: Stephanie M.
One of the most rewarding parts of being an influencer is being able to tell stories and share them with the world. Creating the perfect shot while traveling is one of the best ways to do this. While you can always tell someone about your fantastic trip, sometimes you can show it better than you can say it, and that is where taking great photographs come into play. Here are a few things to consider when preparing to create your perfect travel shot.
Location, location, location. When you’re traveling, you want any photo you take to capture the essence of your environment. Whether you’re traveling domestically or internationally, there’s always something special about a location worth capturing in a photo—you just have to find it. When looking for that perfect spot, think about the things you find appealing in the photos of others. What pictures have you seen of that location that let you know that one day you’d travel there? What was it about those pictures that drew you in? You never want to take the cliché shots that everyone takes. Instead, try to blend in with your surroundings. This is what will separate you from the average tourist and make your photos stand out on your social platforms. Doing a little research ahead of time about natural landmarks, historical locations, or local events can provide you with great places to shoot when you arrive. Also, pay attention to how busy a location is. While you want to capture some of the people around you, you don’t want a crowd to distract you from taking a great shot or detract from the quality of the photo. Sometimes, quiet and serene locations are better. Ultimately, finding what resonates with you about the culture and environment you’re immersed in and using that as your muse, can help you to take a photo that translates the beauty of your travel experience to your audience.
Yes, what you pack can go a long way when creating the perfect shot. From the props you may need to assist you when taking a picture to the clothes you bring along with you, how well you pack has a great impact on your overall travel experience. For example, if you’re traveling solo, while you can always take a selfie, you may want to pack a travel tripod to capture photos of yourself. Additionally, you want to be sure to pack clothes for the environment you’re traveling to. If you plan on hiking up a mountain trail, be sure that you’ve packed clothes suitable for any rugged terrains you may encounter. Also, be sure to pack things like sunglasses, lightweight carrying cases for your phone or camera equipment, and clothing that matches the environment you’re at. Your goal should be to look as if you fit in while taking a picture that stands out.
If you happen to be traveling with a friend or significant other, asking for their help when taking pictures can also help you create those stand out moments for your social feeds. Even if your travel partner isn’t an expert at taking pictures, a few quick coaching tips should be sufficient for them to help you create the perfect shot. Let them know what angles you look best in and ask them to keep an eye out for interesting spots to take pictures. If you’re taking a distance shot, make sure they understand how to capture you so in a way that’s inclusive of both you and your environment, and most importantly, have you looking your best! Two people can see the same thing differently, so having a buddy handy while traveling can help you see a location from a different point of view. Also, if your travel partner enjoys taking photos, they may serve as the perfect model for your shots. Find out what your travel partner is comfortable with and then go from there. Traveling is fun solo, but it’s also exciting with a friend, so use that to your advantage.
Whether you’re taking a picture of yourself, a friend, or your surroundings, understanding how angles work to enhance or detract from a photo is critical to taking the perfect travel shot. Angles are your friend when you know how to finesse them properly. When taking travel pictures, you want to avoid angles that yield too much glare from the sun. Lighting is another key to great photos and playing around with angles to balance out sunlight and shadows is a skill that takes time and experience to perfect. Another key to taking the perfect shot is having an understanding of how height and distance play a role in a final shot. When taking a picture of a person, the closer the camera is to the person, the more the person will fill up the shot. That may be cool, however, if your goal is to capture the location in the photo, standing at a distance would be ideal. Additionally, when posing for a picture, try to look away from the camera instead of looking straight into the picture. This helps to make the picture about you and your surroundings and can make it appear more interesting.
When traveling, many black women face challenges when deciding how to wear their hair on their trip. Most women want to be low-maintenance while they travel, however, there are ways you can style your hair that is both low maintenance and stylish. For example, braids are probably the go-to style for many black women. Braids typically fare well in any environment, and you can easily switch the style up from a low-key ponytail to a stylish updo for a night on the town. As an influencer, how comfortable you feel when you’re taking pictures often relies on how comfortable you are with your appearance. If you’re traveling and having a bad hair day, more than likely your discomfort will translate through the photos you take. The best way to eliminate any hair drama is to be strategic when picking a hairstyle. Basically, if your goal is to take shots you can floss in, you want to ensure that your hairstyle is easy to maintain, you look good in it, and that it photographs well.
One of the most exciting advents of digital living in a digital era is the many apps available to help you reach your audience as a social influencer. From photography apps to social media platforms, to apps that help you find exciting events and places to travel to, knowing the tools of the social trade is helpful to any social influencer. Apps that help you define the best hashtags to use to brings attention to your travel feed, or that can balance out the lighting in your photo on a rainy day, can help you to stand out in the travel community. Since many travel influencers use their cell phone to capture the perfect shot, navigating between apps and your cell phone camera is often seamless. So, educate yourself on what tools work best for the kinds of experiences you share, and take advantage of apps that will make sharing with your audience easier.
Living in the moment is probably the most important message you can send to your audience as a travel influencer. Staged photos can be spotted immediately, so when taking pictures with you in it, try to have fun with it. Don’t pose as if you’re taking your 9th-grade yearbook photo. The point of traveling is to learn about your environment and immerse yourself into a culture that is different than your own. The best travel photos are the ones that portray that. When creating the perfect travel shot, make sure you’re taking a picture that attracts viewers to the beauty around you and the mood you’re experiencing while there. Don’t fake it! Authenticity is best for any influencer, so if you’re traveling around the globe living your best life, make sure it shows in your pictures. Most importantly, have fun!
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We’re just going to say it - Black folks have been killing the travel game lately. From Cape Town to Cairo, Bali to Budapest, we’ve been there done that, and taken the photos to prove it. Here's our list of favorite hashtags to follow and to feed your wanderlust and get you excited for the next trip!