Expert view: Travelling photography

While travelling do you often halt and take pictures of something that you find interesting?  spoke to fashion and travel photographer Pranav Sharma, who started his career by assisting European fashion photographer Martin Machaj. Pranav, whose work has been featured in Zinc, Glamor, Vogue-Italy and Esquire among others, shares his tips on how you can shoot stunning travel pictures. Read on to find more!

“Usually, I use a point and shoot prosumer camera and my Nikon SLR lenses with D3X body. My usual assignment gear includes Nikon D3X 24.5MP FX CMOS Digital SLR, Canon Powershot G15 and Dynalite MK16-1222V Roadmax series,” said Pranav.

Pranav Sharma Photography

Prague, Czech Republic – Pranav Sharma Photography

Camera phones are not to be relied upon because, while they are good for “capture a moment” kind of shots, they don’t give high quality shots. “The biggest myth in the industry is that mega pixels make better images. Mega pixels don’t define quality of the image produced–they just tell you how big the image file is. Smart thinking would be not to fall for mega pixel myth but just check the size of the camera sensor in the phone,” he pointed out.

One advantage of using Digital SLR cameras is that you can choose lenses–Pranav’s favourites are the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II and the Nikon AF-S Zoom Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED AF. “These two lenses and the Canon G15 are usually all that I require.”

Once your equipment is in order, you should focus on the place. “Each place is unique and has its own character. Lakes, mountains, flowers–photographs of all these can trigger our memories and communicate how we felt about the moment to others.” The pitfall to avoid is being stuck into a rut with all the technology and jargon. “With digital cameras people tend to be lax with composition,” said Pranav, who pointed out that many people with digital cameras just take a 100 pictures and then pick the best one at their convenience and edit them later. “To me this defeats the whole purpose of discovering the place. You are spending more time wondering about camera settings and composition instead of enjoying the place.”

Palais Garnier Opera House Paris - Pranav Sharma Photography

Palais Garnier Opera House Paris – Pranav Sharma Photography

The other issue is lighting. Pranav said that he prefers to shoot in the evening or night or between 6 am to 10 am and avoid shooting at noon unless it is cloudy. If you are travelling, it is usually good to use a weather app to find out conditions before you travel. “Each one has his own style and it’s important to control the composition based on light conditions. Knowing how to adapt to given conditions differentiates artists from amateurs.”
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Flash: I have SB900 camera flash and Dynalite Roadmax gear, but for travel related work, flashes pose a distance limit.

Tripod: I use a Mefoto travel tripod kit. It is very light (less than 1.36 kg) and sturdy.

Storage: Travel with a portable hard drive and keep backups weekly if not daily. Use several smaller memory cards instead of one big card–for example, if you have two 8 GB cards instead of one 16 GB card, you have some safety from data errors.

Format: I always shoot RAW format. You never know when some client sees an image and requests it for publishing only to realize that JPEG wouldn’t fit the print profile.

6 tips to take better photographs in poor light

Normal is boring – true in life, but even more so in photography. If you have a studio where models pose for you, you can shoot with any type of light you need. However, if you have to take photos in poor light conditions, you’ll need a few tricks.

The standard way is to use a flash, but a flash is distracting and you may not want to use such a harsh glaring light at all times. Here are some tips on how to get good pictures without using a flash:

1.    Use a high quality camera: This may sound like a “duh!” suggestion, but many cameras that take good pictures in good light tend to produce grainy images when the light is poor.

2.    Use a tripod: You may have to wait for the right time—for instance, you may want to wait for the exact moment that the sun is setting to shoot a picture. You may find it hard to hold a camera for a long duration, so a tripod will usually improve your shoot.

Tamron SP AF 90mm F-2.8 Di 1-1 Macro for Nikon Digital SLR Lens.1

The Tamron SP AF 90mm featured here is designed for Nikon Digital SLRs. It comes with an f/2.8 Di 1:1 Macro Lens, which is ideal for dim light photography

3.    Use a fast lens: What works for Western gunslingers works for you too. While most consumer zoom lenses are rated at f/3.5 for maximum aperture, you can get better results by using an f/2.8 lens. The smaller this number, the longer the exposure time—and this gives you more depth of field.

4.    Mind your ISO: No, not the certification. ISO here refers to the sensor sensitivity and increasing this makes the sensor collect light faster. As a rule of thumb, if you double ISO, you double shutter speed.

5.    Use a shutter release cable: This goes well with tripods because it prevents shaky images. It can also help you keep the shutter open for longer—just take some time to release the cable. Be warned that keeping the shutter open for too long may increase noise.

6.    Remember Bruce and the spider: Shooting in poor light—especially during a sunset—is tough because you can’t always replicate available conditions—one day it is cloudy and another day is sunny, so your mileage will vary. Keep at it and you will master this dark (pun intended) art!

Try out these tips and keep us posted on how things pan out. We will keep giving you more tips in the future, so keep clicking on often and we will help you to keep your camera clicking!