LOGIN/SIGN UP function is disabled for upgrade and maintenance. It will resume on 22/01/2022 10.30 AM SGT. Sorry for any inconvenience caused.
Tips & Tutorials >> All Tips & Tutorials

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. Simply pointing and shooting may not do the scene justice, so how about tweaking the settings on your Canon EOS camera to your fullest advantage? Here are some recipes that will help you capture light beautifully for more impressive photos.  (Reported by: GOTO AKI, Fumio Kato (Digital Camera Magazine))

St Paul's Cathedral, Macau


1. Expressing the tranquility of a lakeside landscape

Tranquil lake with trees and clouds

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 that the scene is just one part of a larger, grander one. 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.


A narrow aperture depict 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. Narrowing the aperture gave me a larger depth-of-field, which not only helped achieved a sharp depiction of the shadows of the trees, but also captured the details in the clouds and water. In this situation, I got the best results at f/22.

Tip: When shooting at very narrow apertures, watch out for diffraction. It's at an acceptable level for this shot, but can make an image look softer than you want. 


2. Capturing memories of the fresh morning dew

Close-up of dew drops on leaves

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 (diagonal) backlighting can be used to bring out the glisten of the water droplets effectively. To do so, shoot with the light source diagonally behind the subject. As the raindrops and green grass would appear orangey in the morning sun, I adjusted the white balance to 3,300K to add a tinge of blue to the image.


Blurs the light to create bokeh circles
Telephoto lenses provide the shallow depth-of-field that you need to create bokeh, and this is enhanced when you shoot close to the subject. I combined this with the maximum aperture setting (f/2.8) to create bokeh circles. To make the bokeh circles even larger, I used the lens with a:
- Close-up lens;
- Extension tube; and
- Teleconverter.


3. A cinematic-looking shot of a World Heritage site

Portrait orientation shot of St Paul's Cathedral, Macau

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

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. The cinematic look was achieved through the composition and shooting angle.

Key technique: To create depth, shoot from the side

Shooting angle
I captured the architecture from the side, which adds depth to the image. This also prevented the cathedral from appearing blown out due to the backlight from the sun. 

I didn't want the area occupied by the trees and the leaves in the foreground to be too large. Shooting from the side helped to keep the balance.


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 achieve a cinematic look. In order to guide the viewer’s attention toward the cathedral, which is the main subject, I used a focal length of 22mm and took a vertical shot.


A narrow aperture 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 deep focusing at f/16. 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.


For more travel photography tips, check out:
Essential Checklist for Travel Photography
5 Ways to Frame Your Travel Photos
Improve Your Travel Photos with the EOS M10 #3: Using a Telephoto Zoom Lens
Decisions in Landscape Photography: Front Light or Backlight?
Quick Tips for Stunning Deep Focused Images

You may also be interested in:
Irresistible Tips from Professionals in Street Photography


Receive the latest update on photography news, tips and tricks.

Be part of the SNAPSHOT Community.

Sign Up Now!



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.


Digital Camera Magazine

Digital Camera Magazine

A monthly magazine that believes that enjoyment of photography will increase the more one learns about camera functions. It delivers news on the latest cameras and features and regularly introduces various photography techniques.
Published by Impress Corporation

Fumio Kato

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).