Travel photography is a very personal subject. People travel to discover the world and find amazing photographic subjects. First of all, it’s an interior journey so each photographer sees things differently. Some argue that travel photographs should reflect reality and be free of any image manipulation. Others do anything for a beautiful picture and apply filters and special effects to every image. However, should you edit your travel photos? And if you should, how should you do it? Check out the following tips for editing travel photos.
Use cropping wisely
Many photographers cut out parts of their images to improve the composition. Travel photos are mostly snapshots, taken without much preparation, and often not in the best conditions. It’s normal to have elements you don’t want in your picture and be tempted to cut them out. However, don’t overdo it. Learn to observe the entire frame, not only your subjects. And, of course, take a lot of pictures waiting for the perfect moment.
Use the same aspect ratio for all your photos and deliver a homogenous and consistent series of photos. Also, use a photo editor that provides guidelines for the rule of thirds and the golden rule. You don’t want to create unbalanced compositions.
Subtle adjustments are the best ones
Keep in mind that you want real results and natural-looking images. Use subtle adjustments for contrast, color, and light. Don’t add fake sun rays or sunset lights to each photo and make sure your images reflect reality. To avoid dull images, choose wisely the time of the day, avoid overcast, and use a circular polarizing filter for shooting at noon. You can fix exposure in post-processing, enhance contrast, and remove noise. But don’t transform a desert into a tropical forest or a gray street life into a beach at sunset.
“Live with no excuses and travel with no regrets” – Oscar Wilde
Improve portraits but respect human nature
Portraits are frequent in travel photography. Make sure you show the natural beauty of your subjects. You can change the light and brighten their faces, remove blemishes, and fix red eyes. You can also enhance clarity and reduce noise. But don’t smooth their skin as you see in fashion magazines; don’t remove any part of their identity and personality. If you ask them to pose for you, allow them to stay in natural positions and be relaxed. Remember that this journey takes you on foreign land and you have to respect your host’s rules and lifestyle.
Don’t alter the reality in any way
You travel because you want to see the world as it is. You take pictures because you want to show the world as it is. Be truthful to your pictures and viewers: show the world as it is. You may encounter messy scenes or beautiful ones. You may witness conflicts, poverty, celebrations, and traditions. Remember that you aren’t there to judge but to document. Find beauty in any corner of the world. Reflect social and environmental issues in your art. But do it with honesty and empathy.
Travel photography is a mirror of the world. You’re the lens. It’s up to you to find the most interesting subject matters and the best way to photograph them. It’s up to you to extend your horizon and your viewer’s as well. Image editing is here only to support you on your journey, fix any mistakes you may do, and give you all the tools you need to create amazing travel photos.
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