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Top 10 Travel Photography Essentials

TravelShannon Guerrero2 Comments
Travel Photography Essentials - Shannon Did What?

For as long as I can remember, I've told people that the reason I travel is for the photography.  I love being able to capture life and the people of wherever I visit in their natural elements.  Over the years, I've acquired multiple pieces of photography equipment and accessories.  Some have worked and some were really just extra baggage.  It's hard to figure out what is actually a great asset.  I've compiled a list of my favorite travel photography essentials.  These are ALL things that I take with me on every trip.  I've detailed why I think they're great below:

1. MINI SURGE PROTECTOR - This has quickly become a must have when I'm traveling.  I always have so many things to charge at the end of the day - camera, phone, portable charger, etc.  It not only has 3 plugs but also 2 USB ports.
2. SONY ALPHA CAMERA - This is my go to camera.  While technically not a DSLR; it basically is the same thing, but smaller, lighter and reacts better in low light situations.  It is part of a line of mirror-less cameras Sony has.  If this one is a little to technical for you, try the A5100 or A6000.  They don't have a detachable lens but are great in quality.
3. GORILLAPOD - I first picked up one of these while in Japan.  It's perfect to keep in your purse (since it's small) and you can attach it to a variety of different things to get that perfect shot.  Want a good shot and no one else around to take it, and see a tree or rail nearby?  Attach this nifty item with its wrappable legs.
4. MEMORY CARD - This seems to be one of the best memory cards out there.  Super fast-processing.
5. INSTAX MINI CAMERA - I love this camera.  Polaroids are definitely the original Instagram.
6. GOPRO CAMERA - I found the wide-angle of the GoPro to be able to capture some scenes better than my Sony camera (with a kit lens).  It's great for adventuring.
7. GOPRO SELFIE STICK - The strap on this selfie stick is key.  If you're walking through the rushing waters of the Narrows in Zion National Park, you don't want to lose a grip on your camera.  I know selfie sticks are so last year, but this makes capturing footage that much easier.
8. WATERPROOF CAMERA CASE - I use this so often - while at the beach, paddle boarding, you name it.  And this one has proven to be super reliable.  I've never had any leaks or scares.
9. BUNGEE TRIPOD - I got this as a Christmas gift a few years ago and will never go back to another travel tripod.  This one is the lightest, smallest and best travel tripod.  It also opens up in literally seconds.
10. MEMORY CARD READER - If you're like me and take a crazy amount of pictures, you may need to dump your pictures on your computer to free up space.  This one is great because it has multiple card size slots.  The GoPro, for example, using a mini SD while my Sony uses a regular size SD card.

Hope these all prove as useful to you as they are to me!

Yours Truly // Shannon

 

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How to Edit A Picture

CreateShannon Guerrero2 Comments

I think the graphic pretty much explains the main things I do when prepping a picture to post on any of my social media accounts.  I feel like I get asked all the time how I edit my photos, so for all of you that ever asked me, here it is!  These 5 steps are very easily done in the Instagram app itself.  It really varies for me from picture to picture if I will just use Instagram or pull the picture into another app.  

There are two main reasons why I would use another app: the photo is pixelated/fuzzy or the color balance needs help.  Photoshop Express is my favorite.  Maybe its because I use Photoshop all day, every day at work so I'm really comfortable using it, but the express app version is pretty simple to use.  Since I have a subscription to the cloud service, I just log in and can use my favorite and secret weapon: the reduce noise tool.  You, too, can use it, you can just purchase it.  I would.  If you do use it, use the reduce noise tool slightly, then sharpen slightly, but I would go back and forth.  If you just use the reduce noise without sharpening it could look a little weird.

My second favorite photo editing app is called A Color Story.  It really is the best when it comes to color.  This app specializes in brightening the whites and making colors more saturated.  Of course, there are tons of filters you can use (and buy).  These filters are really some of the better ones I've seen.  They're not your typical Instagram filters.  Or if you understand RGB, you'll have no problem using the sliders in the tools section.  I love that if my picture is a little to red or blue, I can easily balance the color through this app.  In other apps, the colors aren't broken down as much as in A Color Story.  If you aren't familiar with RGB sliders, don't fret, I think it's really fun to just play around with them until you get a result you're happy with.

Hope you got some helpful tips from my fun little graphic!

Yours Truly // Shannon

How to Take Better Travel Photos

TravelShannon Guerrero2 Comments
How To Take Better Travel Photos - Shannon Did What

I've started to look at my travel photos and, actually, photos in general as pieces of art.  I really strive to create a picture that I will be excited to look at in the future and think "wow, that's pretty".  I've tried to come up with the main things I do to take the best travel photos.  The main thing I focus on is research before going anywhere, followed by patience and timing, new angles, clothing options and color.  I hope this post helps you create and take better photos to preserve your travels and memories!

First off, if you are using your phone, wipe off your lens. It most definitely is dirty and your pictures won't be as crisp! If you have an actual camera, try to use that as much as possible. I know they are big and more of a hassle to carry around, but really you'll thank me later. Although, I purposely bought a DSLR that is a manageable size, not to heavy and fits in a medium size purse. Because let's face it those Nikon and Canons can get very heavy.  I just started to carry mine around most places and am loving all of the great quality pictures I have.


RESEARCH
Research for me is key when it comes to travel photography. I've been told that a good photographer knows where they want to shoot and has planned out an idea of what they want to shoot before going there. I usually use my favorite search tools Google, Pinterest and Instagram.  First, I look at points of interest of that location on Google. I love using Google to view the points of interest because it shows pictures of the locations instead of just listing them out. Pinterest is great because you get more eyewitness testimonies.  Recently, I've started using Instagram to search for cool images.  After I figure out my itinerary and where I'm staying, I search each of those as locations and hashtags.  Sometimes there are multiple hashtags that you can search through. For example, Chicago has #chicago, #chitown and even #windycity, among others.  There are a lot of not great images but if you have the time to sort through them, you'd be surprised the great inspiration you can find on where the best views are, the best angles and other great ideas.  The photo below was inspired by a photo I found on Instagram by someone who had previously stayed at the same hotel.

How To Take Better Travel Photos - Shannon Did What

PATIENCE + TIMING
A lot of great images are a result of great timing, patience and possibly some waiting around.  In Chicago, for example, we went to the Bean before 8am when it was just starting to snow.  There weren't really any people around, but we did have to wait for a few others to get their pictures and clear out to get the amazing shots below.  My friends and family all asked me how on Earth I got pictures with the Bean with no one around.  Well, there you go!  Early morning, especially golden hour, is a prime time of shooting pictures.

TRY NEW ANGLES
Trying out new angles can really open up how you view something.  One thing I know we all forget to do is look up.  Looking up can give you a whole new perspective.  Even if you've done extensive research on what photos you would like to take, don't forget to try out different angles.  Try some from below, some from above and from the side, you never know how the photos will turn out.

How To Take Better Travel Photos - Shannon Did What

CLOTHING OPTIONS
I know, it sounds a bit silly and maybe a little obsessive but if you're truly wanting more memorable pictures it helps to think about these things.  Play around with outfit ideas in your head.  If you want something more whimsical and dreamy think of wearing a flowy dress and playing with the wind in it.  Wearing a leather moto jacket versus a sundress give off two completely different vibes.

PLAY AROUND WITH COLOR
I love playing around with the color of a photo.  I often forget about this since I'm a sucker for vibrant lifelike photos.  You'd be surprised how changing the photo to black and white or maybe a sepia color can give the photo a whole new feel.  The photo below is slightly adjusted with color from the black and white photo at the top of this post.  I can't decide which photo I like better!

How To Take Better Travel Photos - Shannon Did What

One thing I've struggled with is that sometimes my lens might not capture the whole view or object because I don't have a wide angle lens.  I figured out an easy fix.  Use the panorama feature on your camera.  Sounds really obvious but you might not think to use it if you're not thinking about panoramas.  Not all panorama photos need to be long and thin.  The above photo was taken by using the panorama feature.

The last thing I would suggest about getting better travel photos is to shoot as many photos as possible.  Keep in mind quality over quantity but sometimes you'll be thankful when you get home that you got those few extra shots, maybe even from different angles. If you are using your iPhone, try using the burst mode.  To use burst mode, just hold down the shutter button and it will rapidly shoot photos.  This is especially helpful in cases of jumping photos or a more active subject.  It will take like 20 photos in a matter of seconds versus just one photo.

Hope you've gotten some good pointers.  Now just go shoot!

Yours Truly // Shannon