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Matthew David Parker’s 7 Tips for Memorable Travel Photographs

Matthew David Parker is a Las Vegas based professional photographer. Having lived in Vegas all his life, he developed an eye for seeing the city in a different way. The contrast of men in suits hurrying into an office against tourists strolling around in flip-flops that started his journey into capturing those images on film.

Most tourists want to take photos of their trips to remember them. Unfortunately, most travel photos are snapshots with little artistic value. But with these seven tips from Matthew David Parker, you can start creating photographs that will impress your friends and capture the true essence of your travels.

Tip #1: Get out early, or stay out late. Some 95% of all published travel photos are taken within an hour or two of sunrise or sunset. The sunlight makes the colors rich and reduces harsh contrast.

Tip #2: Take your time. A few extra seconds spent making a few adjustments could be the difference between a great photo and a snapshot. Look for leading lines that carry the eye toward your main subject. Use a person or building to establish scale.

Tip #3: Get down on your knees. Many travel photos are from the same head-on position with the photographer standing up holding the camera (or phone) horizontally. Get down on your knees, or stand on a nearby (safe) object to gain a different perspective. Turn the camera vertically to compose a different image.

Tip #4: Get rid of clutter. Try to understand what it is you are trying to capture. Look through the viewfinder and see it there is anything that distracts from your subject. Powerlines, billboards, even people can distract from your subject. Move a few feet to see if you can better frame your subject.

Tip #5: Photograph the locals, but ask permission. When traveling to different cultures the local people will be carrying on with their usual habits and customs. These photos can become some of your most cherished especially if you take some time to get to know these people. Ask to take their photos, and offer to send them a print. Remember to get their names, address, and email, and be sure to follow up.

Tip #6: Look for the unusual. When you travel, it can be overwhelming with all the new sights, sounds, and smells. Yet, even with your senses on overload, some things stand out as unusual. An unexpected plant, or a new building in among a group of shacks. A water buffalo pulling a cart surrounded by bicycle commuters. Children often can be a source of unexpected activity. Remember get the parents permission.

Tip #7: Know your camera. Before leaving on your trip, take some time to get to know your camera and accessories. There are few things more disheartening than missing a great photo because you didn’t know how to change a setting. Plan on taking several hundred (if not thousands) of photos before you leave in as many varied situations as you can think of.

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