Berlin The most important milestone on the way to photographic success is to think about what should actually be photographed. “The biggest mistake you can make as a photographer is to just take pictures instead of taking pictures,” says Sebastian Ritter from the online travel magazine “22places”.
Discovering a subject and then holding the camera on it is not enough: “This creates images that are boring and leave no impression,” says Ritter, who is a passionate travel photographer himself. Instead, you should pause for a moment and consider how and with which focus you can best stage the subject.
A good photo rarely runs in front of the lens
Charlott Tornow of the online magazine “Reisevergnügen” also knows that a good holiday photo does work: “You have to ask yourself: What is my unique perspective on the world? What do I want to show people? And then you have to go in search. A good holiday photo rarely just runs in front of the lens.”
It is better to ask yourself what story you want to tell with your photos. During a stay in Rome, for example, you can capture how the Romans live and photograph them in their everyday life, says Tornow. “Something very banal can seem super interesting if I think about the story behind it beforehand.”
The following applies: “The most beautiful photos are those that reflect a mood, arouse emotions in me and raise questions,” says Tornow. Helpful in this context: Don’t take pictures of what everyone else is taking. But a classic motif could also be interesting. And that’s when you have a different or new look at it. For example, in Rome you could photograph the people throwing coins into the Trevi Fountain instead of just capturing the fountain itself.
The interesting pictures are different
Sebastian Ritter recommends to leave the tourist trails for exciting and beautiful motifs: “Of course, the famous sights should not be missing, but the interesting pictures are often different”. The really special, authentic motifs can be found rather away from the tourist classics: laundry stretched over an alley or the old scooter on the wall of the house.
But even the most beautiful subject seems boring if it is poorly staged, standing about exactly in the middle of the picture. That’s why image composition is very important. “A simple trick is the rule of thirds,” explains Ritter. In doing so, the image is divided mentally with four strokes into a grid of nine equal-sized parts and the main motif is positioned on the cut edges and points. Practical: With many smartphones and cameras, a grid can be displayed in this way. To do this, just look in the settings.
And then there was the light. It is most beautiful at the blue and golden hour, i.e. the times just before and just after sunset, explains Ritter. This also applies analogously to the sunrise: “Early risers also have the advantage that they can often take pictures all by themselves in otherwise crowded places.”
Light and shadow, frog or bird
But light can also be incorporated directly into the picture: “Especially in the city, in high-rise gorges, light-shadow games can be extremely exciting,” says Charlott Tornow. In cities, you can also play with perspective by aligning the camera with the escape lines between the trains. Experiments with the frog or bird’s eye view are also often worthwhile.
You can also give subjects a frame: “Instead of just photographing the Eiffel Tower from my hotel window, I then take a few steps back and capture the Eiffel Tower in the window frame,” explains Tornow. She advises to be inspired by pictures from other photographers: “If I really like a photo, I always analyze what it is and then try to recreate it.”
It also works without automatic mode
If you go away from the automatic to manual settings, you can implement many photo tricks and tips even more purposefully. This is especially true for cameras, even though more and more smartphones offer manual camera modes. What ISO, exposure time and aperture do:
The ISO value indicates the sensitivity of the exposure sensor – the darker it is, the higher the ISO value must be set. At the same time, however, the image noise also increases with increasing ISO value: “That means it becomes pixelated,” explains Charlott Tornow from the online magazine “Travel pleasure”.
If you want to prevent this, you can choose a longer exposure time instead of increasing the ISO value so much. More light falls on the sensor of the camera: “This is used, for example, at night, when you want to photograph a starry sky,” says Tornow. However, a tripod is also necessary for this, because no one can keep the camera still for so long.
The aperture, in turn, can be used to influence the depth of field. “At a low aperture value, you have an extremely sharp foreground and a very blurry background,” Tornow explains. This is mainly used for portraits or to bring certain objects in the picture to the foreground. On the other hand, if you want to photograph landscapes, but usually everything should be sharp – a high aperture value is required here.