This article first appeared in Olympus Magazine May/June issue. My tips on creating beautiful images while on holiday…
Travelling always provides such a wealth of inspiration, I often end up feeling a little overwhelmed. The subject matter is fresh and you see photo opportunities everywhere. The impulse is to try and convey exactly what you’re seeing and how it looks and feels but that can be difficult.
I have a two-pronged approach. I like to focus on details – which can be so powerful in communicating mood and experience – and the bigger picture. The bigger pictures can be a challenge especially if you’re faced with sunny, overly bright conditions that can wash out your pictures. Here are my tips for both.
Shooting The Details
I love setting my aperture low and selecting my focus point on a smaller detail that really stands out to me. This is great fun to do in the shade where you can find rays of light streaming through to highlight your subject. Or you can include the play of shadow and light in your picture to create a really visually striking image. I always take time to focus these shots to make sure the image is sharp, sometimes half-pressing two or three times until I am sure. Ideally I’ll use the 45mm 1.8 lens for this.
Shooting Bigger Pictures
Getting great shots of buildings and places can be a challenge. For me, the 17mm 1.8 lens is ideal for this. Last month in Athens I was faced with overly bright conditions during the day. In the first instance, I adjusted my exposure down and increased my aperture value to reduce the amount of light coming in. Moving around and shooting from different angles was key and ultimately resulted in some strong, moody shots. Atop the Acropolis where there was little shade, my travel companion Arianna and I tried out the new Monochrome modes on the Pen F with great effect. The bright naturally lit conditions translated really well into striking black and white high contrast images.
Arianna’s Pen F Experience
“I’m absolutely loving the new Olympus Pen F. Apart from the fact that it is the perfect compact size that I can easily carry around with me, it delivers the shots that I am after. One of the main features that I love are the different colour modes that it has to offer, especially the monochrome mode. Here I chose mode 2 which gives it a grainy film effect. I thought that it was perfect to capture the mood of the Acropolis in Athens and bring the shot to life. It gave it far more depth and texture, which can be lost in natural colour shots.”
What To Shoot
It can be overwhelming when deciding what to focus on in a new place. Being a blogger and an Instagrammer I suppose I already have a few themes I like to concentrate on. Coffee, cafes, food and pretty doors work for me and as a result these are the shots I naturally look for. Think about what type of colours and content you are drawn to – searching online and on Instagram is great for inspiration – and come up with a mental list of the type of shots you’d like to take. This can really help focus your photography and efforts. For example, I had a quite a clear idea of the shot I wanted to take of the Parthenon and was thrilled to be able to achieve it.
Don’t be passive! If you can see a great shot that requires a bit of set-up, go for it. For example, I really wanted to incorporate my morning cappuccino into my hotel room’s (we stayed at the boutique art hotel New Hotel in the very central Plaka district) view, so I opened the window and balanced my cup on the edge of ledge and shot away. I love the holidays vibes of this picture!