How To Take Better Travel Photos

World Photographer of the year Craig Easton shows you how to take shots you'll want to frame

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Tired of coming back from a city break with a set of lame photos to remember it by? World Photographer of the Year Craig Easton shows you how to improve your travel shots.

Anticipate
Sometimes you’ve seen the shot you want and you just need something to happen to make it work. Or maybe it’s just the choreography of life that you are waiting for to arrange people into a pleasing composition. It’s about people watching and anticipating how the scene might play out. You need to be ready for some disappointment when it doesn’t work out how you thought, but remember it’s equally likely to be better than you imagined.

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Shoot (almost) directly into the sun
Popular advice is to avoid shooting into the sun, but backlighting a subject can be very flattering. If the sun is just out of shot you can create a lovely highlight around the hair and shoulders of your subject. Experiment with shooting into the sun for cityscapes and buildings too. Break the rules!

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Get up early
On a very early summer’s morning in the city, the streets are quiet and the shadows are long. You get a sense of the city waking up and can shoot pictures that reveal a very different character.

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Look for details
As well as portraits of friends and family and shots of iconic landmarks, don’t forget to shoot the details; the essential little sights that tell you about the city you are in.

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Look for an unusual angle or viewpoint of familiar landmarks
The large iconic buildings in great cities have all been photographed a million and one times – but the light and people around them are never the same twice. Try to find a new angle on famous landmarks: it may be that you shoot it reflected in a reflection or catch just a glimpse as part of wider shot.

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Expect the unexpected and be ready
I always carry a camera with me and am aware of the light conditions at all times because capturing spontaneity is paramount. Being ready also reduces the aggravation you may cause your subjects whilst you set everything up just so.

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Learn to look
Photography is all about the looking. Your equipment and technique are important, but unless you take the camera away from your eye and really experience the city you’ll risk constant disappointment in your pictures no matter how technically perfect they are.

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The magic hour
There is a short window of time every day in good or bad weather when the fading daylight balances beautifully with the artificial lights of the city. You’ll need to steady your camera to avoid blurring but you can experiment with manual controls to create trails from moving lights such as headlights.

World Travel Photographer of the Year 2012, Craig Easton has become Photographer in Residence at selected InterContinental Hotels & Resorts across Europe this winter. The internationally acclaimed photographer is offering guests who book a Weekend Escapes package at selected InterContinental Hotels & Resorts an exclusive photographic experience. The experience will be offered to guests at InterContinental Düsseldorf next on 29th and 30th November and 1st December. 

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