digital photography tips with Digital Photo Mentor Darlene Hildebrandt

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Travel Photography Photo Examples and Tips in Practice

I am currently in Nicaragua having just finished our most recent photography tour here with 10 fabulous people. We even brought my own mother along for her first visit here and she loved it.

Our group on a photo walk with the photography kids at Empowerment International in Granada.
My mom with Guadalupe, one of the kids we sponsor.

So I wanted to share a few images from the trip with you and some tips you can learn from them. Recently I wrote these articles:

Take those tips and the following images and see how you can apply them to you photography, whether you travel or shoot near home.

Street photography

A normal scene here in Nicaragua. Processed in Lightroom.
Another version processed in Macphun's Tonality with a texture added. Using a texture overlay is a good way to add mood to your images.
A typical street scene. I took several images of the man sweeping but it was missing something. Be patient, and wait for the scene to be complete before you shoot.

More on Street Photography
We've got an entire section on street photography for you to look over as well. You'll find lots of great stuff in there.

Use light to your advantage

Translucent subjects look great with backlighting. The colors really come out and glow.
The backlighting here adds drama to the scene. I noticed the smoke but the doorway was empty. When the guy entered the scene it was completed and I took the shot.
Sunset is a great time to shoot landscape photography.

This was shot from our bus. The huge orange globe was just too hard to pass up not taking a shot.

For more tips read: 3 Tips for Creating Spectacular Sunset Photos

Watch for unusual things

The power of observation is a good thing for you to have as a photographer. Hone your skill in this area by people watching, even without your camera. Keep your eye out for things that are out of the ordinary and unusual. Here in Nicaragua, that is easy!!

Bags of peanuts and guys sitting on top going down the highway. Yup normal here.
In the market here this guy was having a good time hamming it up for our photography group as we passed by their stall. People here are very willing to have their photo taken, enjoy it even.
I saw this lady at a night festival and noticed the little bird on her shoulder. I think the other people taking her photo adds to the story and they even added light to help me take my shot!


People photography takes practice. If you do not feel confident photographing people try testing the waters at a parade or festival. At events, people performing are usually used to having their photo taken and there are many photographers. Or join a camera club and get a friend to go with you.

Diogenes and Rebecca at the community in Chinandega where we cooked a meal. She's a super duper cutie pie!
These kids were all smiles and poses for us too.
The matriarch on the left was the lady that helped us make tortillas on our walk in the local neighborhood (barrio). This is a three generation photo.
Don't forget to use good composition. Putting this little girl off-center in the frame and the line of the fence help direct the viewer's eye to her.
If people smile at you – take their photo! You don't need to speak the same language. Smile back and point at your camera if you have to.
Pigs are people too right? Two-day old piglets, there were 13 of them on the cacao farm we visited.

Using framing in composition

Sometimes if you find a good subject try backing up and shooting through a doorway or window and framing the subject inside.

Left: I framed this lady in the wheelchair with the large pillar on the right.
Right: After I walked through the door on the right I turned around and saw the scene through the doorway.
Using an 8mm fish-eye lens I was able to frame the city of Granada from the tower and include the bell as well.
I could have zoomed in and just taken a photo of the dog, but showing the fence as well tells more of a story.

Shooting action in low light

Using tracking (continuous) focus, continuous shooting, and zone focus is helpful for shooting fast moving subjects.
1/160th of a second has some blur showing in the girl's swirling dress.
1/500th of a second has frozen the movement of this girl's dress.
Shooting in low light and getting sharp images requires a high ISO and large aperture. This was shot at ISO 4000 at f/1.4.

Read more here: Tips for Low Light Photography

Shoot details

Architectural details. The brilliant blue of the sky and the white cathedral is eye-catching.
Get close to ordinary subjects to add interest. This was shot with a wide aperture f/4.3
Hands make great detail shots.
This is an achiote. A small seed pod they crush and use to make into a red spice that is added to a lot of their food. I liked his hands holding it opened to show scale.

Play with your food

Instagram is full of photos of food but if you're going to do this, do it well. I used to do food photography professionally and let me tell you, food photography is an art unto itself. In these shots taken for Hotel Con Corazon in Granada (our home away from home) I got an action shot of the making of the drink, the creator, and the final product.

Yes, I did drink it and it was yummy!!

This is what the hotel looks like:


To capture a starburst from the sun read more here: How to Create Sun Flares for Effect In-Camera

Your turn

Every chance you get to go out to photograph – do it. Take photos as often as you can. I told our group the goal of the tour was to have better photos on day #14 that those from day #1. From what I heard as feedback, that seemed to be the overall consensus.

The bottom line is the more time you put into photography the quicker your work will improve and you'll see a difference.

Don't compare yourself to other photographers.

Look back on your images from a year ago or more and see how far you've come. If you see an improvement then you're going the right direction, keep at it. In the unlikely case that you don't – you just need to do it more often.

Happy shooting.



PS: After sharing this post to your favorite social media site, I encourage you to continue reading this article on Creating Depth and Dimension in your Images.

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