Hot! Picture Perfect?

I know. I’m spoiled. I come from a marketing and journalism background and just by my chosen profession, I am surrounded by creative people with an eye for the visual. Still, in this digital age, why can’t more people take a decent photo?

While I’ve had years in a career editing and selecting photos, images and words for clients, we live in a time where advertising is everywhere. We’re exposed to marketing images every day. So much so, that I think people know good design when they see it, even if they can’t explain why.

As a solo traveler, if I want a picture of myself in front of a landmark, I have to ask. I know how to say “Excuse me, could you take my photo” in several languages. It’s usually the second phrase I learn – in between “I’ll have a beer” and “Where is the bathroom?”

I know the tricks. Don’t ask the old Frenchman who’s never seen a digital camera. Do look for the younger traveler with a nice camera. Don’t leave it up to the tourist to frame the shot. Do describe what you want.

But lately, these quick instructions of the picture I want have turned into Photo 101 lessons: From the basics of what button to push on my camera, to actually standing beside the person and framing the shot in the screen. In the end, I walk away with an average picture, new acquaintances and a renewed appreciation for using my camera’s self-timer.

Taking a good picture takes some practice. Thankfully, digital cameras are forgiving. You can practice all you like at no cost beyond the camera itself. Fellow travel blogger Johnny Vagabond suggests this and other fantastic tips for good travel photos.

Mr. Vagabond is currently on a one-year trip around the world. I’ll write more about what’s inspired his travels in an upcoming post. Until then, check out his recommendations, take a look at his photo essays, and remember: Practice Makes Perfect.

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