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Learning photography (for your travels)


Dear Diary,

one of the most important things I do to document my travels is to take photos. Because a picture is worth a thousand words. And I don't just want to describe my travels to you, I also want to show you what I've seen. That's where photos come in! Pictures give you a better idea of which destinations you think are travel bucket list worthy. That's why I always try to keep our photos realistic and not edit them too much. That way I avoid false expectations and disappointment on your part. So that you too can take beautiful photos while traveling (or just like that), I would like to give you a little “introductory photo course” here!

THE BASICS OF PHOTOGRAPHY

With a professional camera, there are three main components in manual mode that you should know: The aperture, the shutter speed and the ISO. Whereby the aperture and shutter speed are the most important!

01. Aperture

The aperture is the opening that determines how much light is let into your camera. This allows you to control the depth of field in the image. This means that if the aperture is wide open (i.e. smaller f-number, e.g. 2.8), you can blur the image. If you focus correctly, your subject will be sharp and the background blurred. If, on the other hand, you want all image planes to be sharp, you need to close the aperture (i.e. a larger f-number, e.g. 9). You can also use the aperture to create lens flares in the right amount of sunlight to give your pictures a special touch. Because if you close the aperture a little, you break up the light, which leads to the beautiful lens flares. Depending on the location, we use an aperture between 9 and 14.


Aperture: 14 (Lense Flare)




02. Shutter speed

The shutter speed determines how long light falls on the sensor. You can use the shutter speed to control how movements are captured in the image. If you want to capture fast movements in sharp focus, you need to set the shutter speed as fast as possible (e.g. 1/1000). If, on the other hand, you prefer to create blurred movements, set the exposure time to a longer setting (e.g. 1/5 or even longer). However, it is very difficult to take a hand-held photo with a long exposure time, as the image will blur quickly. You should therefore take photos with a tripod.


Shutter speed: 1,3 Sek




03. ISO

The ISO does not lead to special image effects, but ensures the light sensitivity of the sensor. You can therefore use the ISO to adjust the brightness of your image. However, the ISO is more of an additional aid if the aperture and shutter speed do not provide the right brightness. You should therefore not regulate the brightness of your image primarily via the ISO. Because if you adjust the brightness (solely) via the ISO, this can result in image noise. The higher you set the ISO, the greater the likelihood of image noise.


ISO: 5000



The most important thing in photography is the interaction of the three components. Ultimately, the brightness of your image depends on the combination of shutter speed, aperture and ISO. In the end, however, you always have to act according to the situation. It's best to try things out a little. Try to capture fast or slower movements. Sometimes try to bring sharpness, sometimes blurriness into the picture.

If you want to photograph (fast) sports movements, for example, you need to choose a faster shutter speed. It is also easier to capture the movements if you set the aperture so that the entire image is sharp. You can then use the ISO to bring the missing brightness into the picture. For darker scenes (sunset or night photography), on the other hand, the shutter speed needs to be rather slow (e.g. 1/60, ideally using a tripod), as this also creates a certain brightness in the image. If you also want to have a specific subject in the foreground, you can open the aperture accordingly to bring blur into the picture. You can adjust the rest with the ISO, taking particular care to avoid image noise. If the image is too dark, you might want to experiment a little with the shutter speed and aperture to brighten it up!

You should also always make sure that you set the focus correctly. Because if the background is in focus but the model is out of focus, then no matter how good the other settings are, the picture will still be nothing (unless the effect was chosen on purpose). You can set the focus to automatic or adjust it manually. That's up to you. Autofocus is usually easier, but sometimes you can work more flexibly with manual focus.


TAKING PICTURES WITH YOUR PHONE

We take most of our photos with the Sony A7iii, the Sony A6000 or the Fujifilm X-T3. But we've also taken good photos with our phones! Once Bene even edited a picture and thought it had been taken with the camera, but he was wrong! It was an iPhone photo of mine. So you see, you don't always need the best camera to take good photos.

Phone cameras are now so good that you can take beautiful photos with your phone. It can even be a lot easier if your phone automatically finds the perfect exposure for you. And it's definitely easier to carry your phone and not a full camera backpack on a 28km hike. There are just a few things to keep in mind when taking photos (with your phone)!



1

ADJUST YOUR SETTINGS

The easiest way to take beautiful photos with your phone? Turn on your grid lines in the settings. Because with the help of the grid, you can adhere to one of the most basic rules of photography: The Rule of Thirds. The idea behind this rule is that every image should be divided into thirds - both vertically and horizontally. This division creates nine equal parts in the picture. If you align your subject with the resulting lines or intersections, the composition of your picture will look more harmonious and interesting than if you simply position the subject in the middle. This ensures a much better composition! Only occasionally can it make sense to break the rule of thirds. Just trust your eye.

By the way: The rule of thirds also applies to photography with real cameras!


2

TAKE PHOTOS IN MANUAL MODE

There are now some phones that allow you to set everything manually like a professional camera. Unfortunately, this is not (yet) the case on the iPhone. However, you can download an app that allows you to take manual photos. This allows you to take much better photos with your phone! We use the ProCamera app for this. Most of these apps also allow you to take pictures directly in RAW format. This is much better for image editing afterwards, because the color and light profile of RAW photos is much larger than that of photos in JPEG format. This gives you more leeway when editing images.

For manual photography with a phone, you can use the information on shutter speed and ISO as a guide; unfortunately, you cannot set the aperture on a phone.


3

FOLLOW A FEW BASIC RULES

In addition to the “rule of thirds”, it is important to learn to read the light! Light not only influences the mood, but also the quality and colors of your picture. At midday, the light may produce a lot of brightness, but it also creates sharp shadows. At golden hour, on the other hand, the light is a little softer and the colors are warmer. Depending on what kind of picture you want to take, you need to keep the lighting conditions in mind. It's best to just take a day and experiment.

I would also not use the zoom on a phone too often (even if the zoom is getting better and better). This will automatically reduce the quality of your picture. Instead, take a few steps closer to your subject to enlarge it! Or you can crop the picture afterwards.


4

FIND THE RIGHT MOTIF

When we arrive at a new place while traveling, we are initially subject to sensory overload. As a result, we simply photograph everything that we think is particularly great. However, the photos are often very boring afterwards.

To take good photos, you should instead look for exciting subjects. You'll get better at this over time, because we can train our eye to do this. For example, if you take your eyes off the tourist highlights and explore your destination from a different angle, you will automatically notice motifs that are not run-of-the-mill. Pay attention to special shapes, bright colors, reflections and contrasts and play with the light or capture a special mood of your travel destination. Just try to walk around with alert eyes and look out for the right motif and the right moment.


5

CAMERA EQUIPMENT FOR PHONES

With the right equipment, you can also turn your phone into a real camera! Because there are extra lenses for the phone camera. You can choose between wide-angle, telephoto or fish-eye lenses and many more. So if you want to try out photography first and don't want to invest too much money yet, you can get good camera equipment for your phone for comparatively little money.

Or you can turn your phone into an underwater camera by buying a waterproof case! Although your phone won't replace your GoPro for diving (at least not yet), a phone with a waterproof case is worth its weight in gold for snorkelling or kayaking. Because as soon as water is involved, most cameras fail (at least as long as you don't get an expensive water protection cover for your camera). So these are exactly the moments when your phone will definitely come in handy!


6

TRAVELING ALONE? NO PROBLEM!

Because with the help of a tripod and Bluetooth shutter release, you can also take great photos on your own. Simply use the tripod to position your phone as you wish, stand in the desired place in the picture and release the shutter on your camera remotely via Bluetooth.

By the way: You can also get the same for your real camera! We have a Gorilla Tripod that we can actually place anywhere or wrap around it. You can also connect your phone to the camera and use it as a shutter release!


As you can see, it's not that difficult to take the “perfect” photo! Even if you don't get everything just the way you want it at first, you'll get better with time! If you know a few little tricks at the beginning and keep practicing, you will automatically get better and better.

And if you don't get the light settings quite perfect: In the end, even the best photographers still have to edit their photos. With the right image editing, you can adjust the light and color ratios of your image just the way you want it. Or you can change the detail again by cropping the image. So just try your hand at photography and correct it with the right image editing if necessary! You can do it!

And if you have any questions, you can always write to me!

xx Chiara