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Here's a brief list of simple tips I've picked up in my travel photography practice. Some of these I learned in my first photo class as a freshman in high school. Most, I learned through experimentation and repetition.

1. Frame the shot, then wait.

2. Get closer to your subject.

3. Don't be afraid of what your subject might say or do when you take their picture.

4. Give your subject space to move into.

5. Sunrise FTW

6. Sunset FTW

7. Crouch. It just works. 

8. If you use an interchangeable lens camera, use a prime lens rather than a zoom lens. It will force you to move your feet and not be lazy. 

9. Add an element.  A shadow. A layer. A bird. More elements = more interesting photos (as long as the subject remains obvious).

10. Take more pictures. Pros get the best shots because because they are willing to get the most lousy ones. 

11. Anticipate the shot. Know what needs to happen for the shot to be awesome. Otherwise, by the time you notice it, it will be gone.

12. Opposite colors work well together.

13. Look for natural frames. Arches, windows, trees, etc. 

14. What mood or emotion does your photo convey? You should know. 

15. When everyone is looking one way, look the other way. Find what they cannot see. 

16. Show depth. Branches in the foreground, Raindrops on the window pane. Fill the distance between you and your subject to keep the image from being too "flat."

17. Show scale. If something is enormous, show how enormous it is by putting something small in the image. Most landscape shots suffer from a warped sense of scale, rendering the landscape less impressive. 

18. When editing, mess with the clarity. Boosting the clarity works especially well with black and white photos.

19. Also when editing, mess with the "dehaze" or "defog" feature. Two apps I like that allow you to do this on your phone: PS Express, Adobe Lightroom mobile.

20. Avoid cliches. But not like the plague, because who's really out there thinking "I know what I'll do today. I'll avoid the plague today!" No one. 

More later. Good luck. 

January 17, 2016 by David Axelrod

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