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Irresistible Tips from Professionals in Travel Photography

The greatest pleasure of travel photography is that it allows the photographer to break away from daily routine and chance upon scenes that leave a deep impression. With Canon’s EOS DSLRs, you can produce more impressive shots during the trip using the wide variety of camera settings available. In the following, we will feature some camera settings and ways to capture light in your photos. We will also introduce ideas from professional photographers that would tempt you further to capture travel photos.


A focal length and f-number for capturing the expanse of the lake beautifully

EOS 5D Mark III/ EF35mm f/1.4L USM/ FL: 35mm/ Manual exposure (f/22, 1/40 sec.)/ ISO 100/ WB: Daylight

In this example, I aimed to capture the simple horizontal expanse of the landscape as well as the blue-white-blue colour arrangement. I wanted to convey the soothing feeling you get from the sharp texture of the trees as well as from the tranquil flow of the clouds, the lake and time itself. (Photo and text: Goto Aki)

A lens focal length that depicts the expanse in a way that is close to what we see with our naked eye


I composed a symmetric shot of the sky, clouds and lake with the trees at the centre. The focal length of 35mm can be used to depict the expanse of a space and at the same time, also suggest a frame “cropped” from a larger scene. To bring out the horizontal expanse, I used the rule-of-thirds composition to divide the sky and the clouds into a 2:1 ratio.


An f-number that depicts the clouds, lake and trees at the same time


Although the trees seem to be standing next to one another from the image, they are in fact located at different distances from the camera. To deepen the depth of view of the shot, I narrowed down the aperture to f/22, so that I could sharply depict the shadows of the trees and the feeling of cloud and water.


Bokeh circles accentuate images of a glistening morning

EOS 6D/ EF100mm f/2.8L Macro USM/ FL: 100mm/ Manual exposure (f/2.8, 1/640 sec.)/ ISO 400/ WB: 3,300K

I took this shot in an early morning after the rain had stopped. Raindrops on the grass glistened in the morning sun. Here, I created bokeh circles from them to bring out the fresh, dewy feel of the scene. (Photo and text: Fumio Kato)

A direction of light that creates reflection from the water droplets


Oblique backlight can be used to bring out the glisten of the water droplets effectively. To do so, take a shot with light coming from an oblique direction behind the subject. As the raindrops and green grass would appear orangey in the morning sun, I adjusted white balance to 3,300K to add a tinge of blue to the image.


Blurs the light to create bokeh circles


I opened up the aperture to f/2.8 to create bokeh circles. I also combined the use of a 100mm macro lens, with a close-up lens, an extension tube and a tele-converter, so that the bokeh circles created are larger.


A composition that results in a dramatic shot of a World Heritage site

EOS 5D Mark III/ EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM/ FL: 22mm/ Aperture-priority AE (f/16, 1/160 sec., EV+0.3)/ ISO 400/ WB: Daylight


Point: Create depth not from the front but from the side


St. Paul’s Cathedral in Macau is a World Heritage site that is always crowded with visitors, so I went up a low hill nearby to look for a better shooting location. Although this is a side view of the cathedral, I made use of this angle to add depth to the image. Also, I chose a composition that prevents the cathedral from appearing blown out due to the backlight from the sun.


A lens focal length that strikes a good balance between the foreground and the main subject


I made use of the dramatic effect of the backlight and the objects in the foreground to give the photo a lifelike feel. In order to guide the viewer’s attention toward the cathedral, which is the main subject, I chose a focal length of 22mm and captured the architecture from the side so that the area occupied by the trees and the leaves in the foreground was not too large.


An f-number that reproduces the textures of the foreground objects


The trees and leaves in the foreground looked beautiful in the backlight, so I tried to reproduce their traits and textures by setting the aperture to f/16 to create a deep focus. I would not have been able to direct the viewer’s attention to the main subject (cathedral) effectively if the foreground was too sharp, so I positioned the camera closer to the leaves and purposely left the image slightly out of focus.

Goto Aki


Born in 1972 in Kanagawa Prefecture and graduated from Sophia University and Tokyo College of Photography. Goto published a photo collection work titled “Land Escapes,” and is also actively engaged in works such as “Water Silence,” an installation that merges photographs with videos.

Fumio Kato


Kato’s scuba diving experience led him to take up underwater photography. After having won the Junji Takasago Prize twice, he began to pursue photography as a profession. Kato became a freelance photographer in 2006, and expanded his scope from underwater to nature photography. In 2012, he came in second place in the Nature’s Best Photography Japan contest, and his works were exhibited at the Smithsonian Museum for a year in 2013. A member of the Japan Professional Photographers Society (JPS).

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