One of the greatest joys of being on the 2017 Live Be Yoga Tour has been getting to experience and document our travels around the U.S. The best way to make those memories last and to inspire other people to take risks and explore is by capturing those moments with a perfectly timed photograph. Luckily, with the advancement of camera phones and easy to carry point-and-shoot cameras, you don’t need to be a professional photographer or have thousands of dollars worth of gear in order to snap and share your best memories. Here are a few tips that you can try out on your next adventure!
1. The best camera in the world is the one you have with you.
As a photographer, I have some very nice, pricey cameras that can do incredible things. But some of the best shots I’ve ever taken have been completely off the cuff with the phone in my pocket. The amazing thing about the technology most of us carry with us everywhere is that it’s already set up to take an incredible photograph, and it’s easy to carry anywhere. I’ve even seen entire feature films that were shot exclusively on iPhones that looked incredible. So instead of feeling like you need to invest in better equipment in order to take better shots, just experiment and learn with what you already have!
2. Use wide angles.
By wide angles, I mean don't overuse the digital zoom feature on your phone or camera. Keep it zoomed all the way out, then crop the photo later on if you feel like you need a better or different framing of what you’re trying to capture. Landscape shots tend to look much better when you can fit the expanse of the features of the land and sky all in one wide shot.
3. Forget the flash.
Unless I’m shooting inside at short range, I tend to turn off the flash on my phone or camera. Learning to read and use the available light really makes for some unique, beautiful shots. For the greatest effect, try to shoot when the shadows are long. By that I mean when the sun is near to the horizon, either around sunset or sunrise. The long shadows create a varied, textured landscape and the light tends to be softer and have a less harsh, warm glow that can really make landscape shots pop.
4. Look for unique angles.
Look for unique angles before you start snapping in the same place everyone else is snapping. Moving a few steps in different direction or finding a higher or lower vantage point can really yield some unique results. When the camera perspective changes, it can affect the entire mood and message of a photograph. Experiment and see what works and what doesn’t!
5. Include people.
If you have a travel buddy or a partner in your current adventure, get them in the shot! Scenic vistas and wide-open landscapes can really benefit from having a person in the frame. It gives some life to the photo and gives the viewer a sense of scale and grandeur. The human element can really make the viewer connect with the place and the feeling that the person in the photo must have been feeling.
6. Take yoga photos!
If you’ve been anywhere near Instagram in the last couple of years, you’ve surely seen some incredible shots of yogis twisting themselves into pretzels in the most unlikely places. While we know that yoga looking pretty isn't the point of yoga, the juxtaposition of the human form in unique shapes against a natural background can be stunning. Find yoga poses that either mimic or contrast with the natural shapes around you. Find an angle that shows off both the best parts of the posture and the best parts of the landscape. Warning: Be careful! Doing Handstand on a cliff is vastly different than doing it on your mat back home.
7. Bring water and food.
Many times, finding an incredible landscape or a unique view requires heading off the beaten path. In order to be as comfortable as possible while waiting for the light to be just right, make sure you have water and adequate snacks to keep you energized and in good spirits. Whenever I head out on a trail, I grab my Camelbak Chute water bottle. It’s tough as nails for when I inevitably drop it on a rock, and it’s double-walled and vacuum-insulated so my water stays cold, even on all-day hikes in the desert.
8. Don’t be afraid to edit your photo.
Sometimes the photo you capture just doesn't do what you saw justice. Maybe the colors don’t pop like they did when you were there, or it’s underexposed so the shadows have taken over the frame, or your subject isn’t centered the way you want it. Either way, don’t be afraid to play with your pic in a photo editing program to help make it look just the way you remembered it or just the way you want it. Instagram has a pretty decent editor built right in if you dive a little deeper than just the filters, but I recommend a program called Snapseed by Google. Its tools are much more powerful. It may take you some time to get proficient at it, but it can really take your photos to the next level.
9. Know when to put the camera down.
Taking an incredible photo to show off later can be a supremely rewarding experience. But sometimes just having a memory of experiencing something without ever having to think about anything else is worth more. Make sure that you’re not paying so much attention to getting that perfect shot that you forget to just enjoy the moment. When you find that perfect sunset, get a few shots. Make sure you’re happy with at least one of them. And then put the camera away and settle in for the show.
10. Have fun!
Lastly, remember that there are no rules when it comes to shooting and creating art! For every one of these suggestions, there’s an incredible photo out there that goes directly against it. Taking photos should be fun, uplifting, and inspiring, not a task with rules and marks you have to hit. So grab some friends, pack whatever camera you have, and head out into the unknown! Check out some of my shots from the 2017 Live Be Yoga Tour on Instagram at @brantdwilliams and @livebeyoga.