Photography has never been more accessible than it is now. Entry-level professional equipment is more affordable than ever -- Sony's NEX-5R for example, at roughly £400, is a great starter choice and has some amazing lens options. And for those really wanting to go bare bones, smartphones offer excellent solutions, many of them coming with built-in editing software.
Don't be afraid to get close to your subject. Too often we feel self-conscious while taking photos in public, so we stand back and just snap a quick image without much thought.
Step up. Get close. Get low. Get high. Experiment. The great thing about the digital era is that you can experiment without having to worry about the cost of buying and processing film.
It's always great to have a point of focus in your image. I like to put the main subject of my image to either the left or right side of the frame. This way, you are leading the eye around the image. Centered images tend to be quite visually jarring -- but that works if it's what you're going for!
Ahhh, lighting. This is probably the trickiest detail to nail down for any photographer. As most of you will be shooting with only the available light, there are certain things to remember.
Early morning (or any time before the brightest part of the day) and during that golden hour when the sun is starting to set are the best times to shoot.
The first part of the day gives you clean, even light. The light is diffused and soft, and you generally won't get harsh shadows or squinty eyes. Golden hour provides that warm, rich light that is flattering to everyone.
If you have to shoot during the brightest part of the day, you will meet two challenges. Firstly, people posing for images facing the sun can rarely, if ever, keep their eyes open. Secondly, if you get them to face the opposite direction, your camera will most likely expose the subjects of the photograph and underexpose the background. I usually overcome this by getting everyone to throw on their sunglasses. It's not the best solution, but considering you won't have the equipment to light the foreground and background properly at the same time, it's a good workaround.
Not only do most smartphones now have powerful integrated cameras, there are some great apps to go with them. My favourite is VSCO Cam for the iPhone.
To get started, double click an image. Go to the paintbrush icon and up pop your filters. Not only are the filters downright cool, you can also change the intensity level to suit your needs. Tap the white bar at the bottom, hit the wrench and bam… it's basically Photoshop on your iPhone. From here you can play with temperature, exposure, contrast, tint and saturation among other things.
Sometimes you just need to sit back and observe. Enjoy your travel moments. Sure, pictures are great memories but are you really having an experience to remember when you're snapping a million photos that have no purpose? Live in the moment. Have your camera to hand and ready to go. When you take time to sit back and just watch, you'd be surprised at what magical moments present themselves -- those are the ones you want to capture.