Instagrammer Alex Shapiro recently travelled to Thailand and came back with not only epic photographs, but also a new set of photography tips to share.
Why did you choose Thailand?
For the challenge. It’s one of the most photographed countries I’ve ever seen. In a country so captured, it leaves room for the uncaptured and unseen.
I went to a place called Bang Krachao in Bangkok. Only a few people go there so the images I took offer a unique perspective.
What does travel photography mean to you?
Being able to capture my interpretation of a certain moment in time. I love how it makes me feel, and the gift of getting to hold onto it and share it with the world.
How can you go from an average shot to a great travel photo?
You need to become a storyteller. Anyone can take a photo, but it takes practice to really tell a story.
Learn how to use lines: Create geometry in your style that people will recognise. This goes for colour as well. I don’t use my Instagram colours for client work, yet my clients ask me to make their photos look like mine all the time. As an extra, read up on colour psychology. This will help you see certain contrasts before you shoot, giving you better results in the end.
Time of day and weather play an important role in photography. Do you have any tips for working in less than ideal light and weather conditions?
The only advice I have is to be creative. If it’s midday, use shadows and if it’s “blue hour”, get your tripod or find a rock. Lighting will never be ideal, especially when you’re travelling. Although having the correct supportive gear helps to overcome bad weather, the challenges remain. Luckily with a bit of perspective and post-production, you can do wonders.
Composition is a very important element of photography. Do you have any tips?
Compose correctly from the start. If you’re photographing for a print, compose for that and if you’re photographing for Instagram, remember that it has its own unique composition format.
When you’re taking travel photos, remember the rule of thirds: Level horizons with your horizontal grid lines and always look at the lines surrounding you. When shooting for Instagram, remember that Instagram favours images uploaded as 4×5 / in portrait. So, when composing your shot, turn your camera as you would shoot a portrait. Follow the lines — look where the lines are taking you in your image. If you’re taking photographs of people, for example, avoid having a line going through their head. Look for small details that will allow someone to see and feel what you did at that moment.
Could you share one final tip that travellers can use to elevate their skills?
Leave your camera at the hotel for a day and just explore; immerse yourself in the energy around you. Also, get to know your gear so that you don’t have to struggle with the technicalities on your trip. Don’t be scared to get your adrenaline pumping; the fear that you will experience can bring some of the best creativity out of you.