Our photographer reveals tips on snapping amazing vacation photos.
Find the light
The best times to catch good light is just after sunrise and before sunset, called the golden hour. It creates warm yellow and orange hues and casts long shadows. Avoid shooting at noon, the light is at its harshest. Another good time is blue hour, an hour before sunrise and after sunset. It’s perfect to capture vivid street lights and an indigo-blue sky.
Waking up early also means getting a peek at the daily lives of the locals, which makes for authentic images. Here, at Ambergris Caye in Belize, I arrived at the beach just in time to catch children taking the scenic route to their school.
It’s hard to be natural with a camera in your face. Talk to people, get to know them. I bought a bracelet from this little girl in Ollantaytambo, Peru. I made a joke about my thick fingers, which made her laugh and broke the ice. Her face became more relaxed, her gestures more natural.
Be creative to draw out your subject’s personality. We played a game with riverine people in the Brazilian Amazon: we tossed a coconut into the river, and whoever retrieved it first won. I captured authentic photos that showcased their unique relationship with nature.
Look for scenes with lines that guide the viewer’s gaze toward a focal point. In Lisbon, we took a wrong turn and stumbled upon this beautiful tree-lined road. Here, the lines are created by the road, the wall and the trees, and they naturally lead our eyes to the end of the lane disappearing off into the distance. This creates a sense of depth and perspective.
Explore with angles
Most people take the same photo from the same spot. Think of all those pictures of people pretending to hold up the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Find a unique angle. Climb on a bench, lie on the ground, shoot upside down. While everyone was looking up, I looked down and captured this cool shot of the reflection of New York skyscrapers in a puddle.
Or shoot through something: branches, sunglasses, windows. It frames your picture in a creative way and adds another layer to your story. In this small reserve in Indonesia, I lay on the jungle floor and shot through leaves to capture this image of a male endangered crested black macaque protecting his harem. It adds a more natural element, like we’re witnessing a candid moment from a hidden point of view we’re typically not privy to.
Article by Benoit Brühmüller originally published in the November 2018-April 2019 edition of the Atmosphere magazine. Read the latest edition here.
Cover photo : Benoit Brühmüller