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Sep 18th


By Jim Bendt

Posted in Travel Advice
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PhotoTips_RuleOfThirds (1)

Photo Tip: Rule of Thirds

You spend months, maybe years, dreaming about places you want to visit and experience. And you know that when you get home, everyone is going to want to hear your stories and see pictures. So how do you increase your chances of taking great shots while you’re traveling?
Here are a few tips that might help:

  • Avoid camera shake. While it sounds obvious, it’s one of the biggest problems that plague photographers. Be sure to hold the camera with both hands (one on the base, one on the lens) and close to your body for extra support.
  • Use a shutter speed that matches the lens focal length. For example, if you’re using a 100mm lens, your shutter speed should be no lower than 1/100th of a second.
  • Use a polarizing filter. This filter helps reduce reflections (think water, metal, glass) and can noticeably improve the colors of the sky and foliage. Added bonus – it protects your lens.
  •  Be mindful of the light. Lighting might arguably be the No. 1 element that can make the difference between a good picture and a great picture. Morning and evening light often have dramatic influences on a photo and are a great time to get out there and experiment.
  • Compose in thirds. To use this tip, imagine four lines (two horizontal and two vertical)
    across your image. This creates nine even squares. There’s no doubt some images may look
    best with the focal point in the center square, however, many may be more interesting and
    aesthetically pleasing when the subject is off center. The header photo to this article demonstrates this technique.
  •  Shoot on “fine.” Digital cameras allow you to adjust the resolution you want to shoot at.
    Consider shooting on “fine,” which gives you one of the higher resolutions available and the
    ability to blow up images if you’re going to have prints framed.


As National Geographic Photographer of the Year Flip Nicklin once said, “If you want to take better pictures, stand in front of better stuff.” There’s definitely some truth in that, but a few skills and practice doesn’t hurt either. So, get out on those trips you’ve been dreaming about and shoot some amazing photographs!

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PIQUE Travel Design is a travel agency based in Minneapolis, Minnesota serving clients across the globe.