Whether you’re heading to Saint Barth’s, to Cap Ferrat, or to Lake Como, these tips apply. From what to wear to when to shoot, Christian Oth shares his top five tips for capturing the best travel images on your own.
1. Think about wardrobe before you head to the airport
A packing list should always include outfits specifically selected for your travel photographs. Consider bringing a simple white dress which always works against a variety of landscape and architectural backdrops. A scarf (again, white is a great idea!) is a good option to add visual dimension to an image and gives you a prop to play with. Consider adding a little extra makeup to make sure your features pop – nothing too dramatic, but add a bit of eyeliner and a lip color a few shades deeper than your natural lip tone to make sure your eyes and smile pop in the image. Another great tip is to bring a travel steamer to ensure your clothes are wrinkle-free.
2. Golden hour, blue hour, or noon sun?
Certain times of day tend to have the best light for capturing photographs.
If you want to photograph yourself in the water, you’ll want to do this right at noon. That’s when the sand becomes visible and the water’s color is the brightest shade of green or blue thanks to the overhead sun. However, for any portraits or scenery shots, aim for golden hour. Golden hour is the hour before the sun is going to set and that’s when you get the greatest sunlight on your face. But don’t stop shooting at the golden hour, there’s the blue hour when the light is soft, without the direct sun on your face. Pro tip: download the SunSeeker app to make sure you don’t miss the moment.
3. Location, location, location
The best vacation shots are when the image provides good context of your whereabouts and features you in a prominent way. When you’re in Lake Como, the perfect shot is when you’re on the back of a boat with the lake and mountains behind you. When you’re in Saint Barth’s you might want to have the Eden Roc (or another iconic hotel) in the background of your shot at sunset. When you’re in Cap Ferrat you just can’t go wrong. Consider going to Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild (now a museum) and capture a shot overlooking all of Cap Ferrat and Beaulieu-sur-Mer.
4. Consider some hardware
If you’re traveling as a couple and don’t want to rely on asking a stranger to take a photo of you together, consider bringing a tripod and remote shutter. This will allow you to frame the shot you love, and take your time to make sure you capture a great image of the two of you. You can find one on Amazon. Don’t worry about feeling a little embarrassed when setting it up—you’ll be thrilled to have a photo together against the backdrop of your beautiful destination.
5. Don’t pose
A great image is one that captures a natural moment. If you’re shooting your partner with your iPhone, wait until they’re taking in the environment around them. Snap a shot when he or she is sipping an Aperol Spritz on the Amalfi Coast or running into the water in Saint Barth’s. Part of the magic of travel photography is capturing those exceptional moments, so don’t overthink it.