Reviewing Nat Geo’s Mastering Travel Photography Seminar – Seattle

Thomas getting a shot of Seattle's public library

This past weekend we were at Seattle’s Central Library attending National Geographic’s Mastering Travel Photography seminar.  After 6 hours of listening to two of Nat Geo’s best travel photographers (Ralph Lee Hopkins and Bob Krist), we came back with a wealth of information.  Here’s a list of the top 5 things we learned or confirmed from these guys!

1. Light, composition, moment – Ok, we definitely knew this one already!  Get up early and stay out late, when the sun is low and the light magical.  The colours and shadows really pop at this time.  Use the rule of thirds, and then break all rules to compose those beautiful shots you’re looking for.  And finally, anticipate the moment.  Arrive early.  Research.  Get behind the scenes.  Keep your eye in the viewfinder and finger on the shutter.

Sunset in Bagan - Myanmar

2.  Start using a tripod – As much as we, and everyone else hate tripods, they’re definitely a must!  We pack ours every trip, and are lucky if we use it even once.  Useful for night photography, HDR, motion blur, and more, we’ve definitely got to start taking ours out more!

Bangkok at Night

3.  Flash really isn’t all that bad – Our next purchase is definitely going to be a decent flash after seeing what Ralph and Bob have done with theirs!  We’ve always hated the thing, but probably because we really had no idea what the heck we were doing with it.  Using it more as a filler, rather than primary light, and avoiding firing it directly on subjects, these guys showed us that flash can really aid in producing some beautiful photos.

4.  Give yourself a mission – Rather than going on a trip and hoping you’ll get lucky with some of your photography, give yourself a mission!  Set out to capture the essence of a place by shooting for different categories.  For example, seek out shots of people, food, architecture, festivals, history, wildlife, natural resources, etc.  Having a mission, and then shooting for different categories will help give you variety in your photos as well as help you capture the true heart of a destination.

Kids in Myanmar

5.  Photography can be a cruel, cruel world! –  Publishers don’t care about the great lengths you’ve gone through to get a photo.  They don’t care that you got up at 4 am 23 times to get the perfect sunrise over Angkor Wat.  In the end, publishers are looking for photographs that they are instantly drawn to, which can be for a variety of reasons.  Anyone can take a good photo, but it’s those that get up early to get the perfect shot who get the cover.  Photography is about more than just taking photos.  It’s about making photos!

The Steps Up to Shwedagon Pagoda - Myanmar

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Categories: Myanmar, Thailand, Tips For Travellers, Worth Sharing

Author:Thomas & Katherine

A love for travel, adventure, and photography. We just can't help but write about it!

2 Comments on “Reviewing Nat Geo’s Mastering Travel Photography Seminar – Seattle”

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