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Travel Photography

Lesson 16 of 32

Advanced Techniques

John Greengo

Travel Photography

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

16. Advanced Techniques


  Class Trailer
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1 Class Introduction Duration:11:45
5 Travel Gear Duration:19:13
6 Health, Safety & Security Duration:11:09
7 Gear: General Advice Duration:06:20
8 Gear: Cameras Duration:15:56
9 Gear: Lenses Duration:12:48
10 Gear: Tripods Duration:15:44
11 Gear: Filters Duration:04:08
12 Gear: Camera Accessories Duration:13:33
13 Gear: Final Thoughts Duration:03:55
14 Camera Checks Duration:04:20
15 Technique: Camera Settings Duration:13:30
16 Advanced Techniques Duration:13:00
17 Workflow & Composition Ideas Duration:07:42
18 Scouting Duration:17:33
20 Locations: Opera House & Dumbo Duration:05:12
22 Details: Buildings Duration:05:15
23 Details: Pattern Duration:14:51
25 People: Street & Candid Duration:08:46
28 People: Environmental Portrait Duration:15:37
30 Wildlife Duration:08:44
31 Events Duration:08:19
32 End of the Road Duration:09:35

Lesson Info

Advanced Techniques

All right, a few more advanced techniques here for you just beyond those basic settings. One of the best techniques in travel photography is... You have a big scene in front of you and your widest lens cannot cover it from left to right, and so you should all be shooting panoramas from time to time because it's the only way to get in a really wide scene. But it also helps you capture an image with really high resolution. Now, ideally, this is done from a tripod, but it can be done handheld. And the modern software programs can stitch it together quite easily. You just wanna make sure that you're overlapping each of your images 20, 25% or so. And as I say, the two main reasons for doing this is that either you don't have a lens that covers that range from side to side or you want really high resolution, which is what I really wanted in this case. I was using, I think, a 300 millimeter lens 'cause it was just a really long and skinny image. But with all that resolution, I can zoom in and...

you don't see noise and it's very, very clean. And so shooting three, four, five, six images all lined up together. There's a number of different programs, Photoshop, Lightroom, and others that will assemble this for you. You just overlap your images. In this case, I was shooting with a wide-angle lens, so I was overlapping almost 50% on each image because things get distorted a little bit more with wide-angle images, but you end up with a very, very high resolution image, far above the pay grade that you might have paid for your camera in that sense. And so it's a very good technique 'cause we are sometimes dealing with some very long and wide scenics. One of the things that I look for is I always look for a building that has a tall, circular place that I can go visit because then if I shoot eight images, north, south, east, west, and between each of them, I'll take those eight images with a modestly wide-angle lens and I can group them into one gigantic, 360 panoramic camera. This is from Istanbul, Turkey. You can see all the mosques there. And it's kind of stretching the limits of what you can do with panorama, but it's a lot of fun to be able to have an image that's this large, that has this much detail. And so if we would actually look at the entire image, it's a very long and skinny image here. And so ideally, I prefer to be shooting this off of a tripod that's level using manual exposure, manual focus because all the individual lenses-- all the individual photographs end up becoming one complete photograph and that's why they all need to be the same. You can't shoot this in aperture priority. It's gonna adjust and it's not gonna come out right. Middle or small aperture works for most lanscape-y type shots like this. I like shooting left to right. That way when it comes up in the computer, it comes up looking like the panorama that you actually created. And you wanna overlap, as I said, 20 to 30%. There are some cameras and obviously a lot of phones that have in-camera panorama options. I find that these are better for quick snapshots than serious images that you really wanna get the most out of. And that's because of anything that moves will be recorded multiple times and depending on the built-in software, you might get some unusual artifacts, as they say. And so I don't mind using it when it's not really important. I just kinda wanna remember what that scenic area looks like. And so a lot of these cameras, you need to practice it because some cameras, you go too fast, some, you go too slow. And so you gotta figure out what that sweet speed is. And as I say, it's not always perfect. One of the tough things to deal with is people. Right, lots of other tourists out there. And sometimes you just don't want other people in your shot. And one of the things that you can do, by using a tripod and taking multiple photos, is you will eventually collect enough photos that you have spots where nobody is in those spots. And so you can come back into Photoshop, combine them together, and get the best of all the areas, so that you get all the people that were there for just a moment and then they were gone, and so you can clean up your shots in this manner. If you wanna do this, the camera cannot move. This cannot be done handheld properly or easily, I should say. Manual everything 'cause these are all gonna become part of the same images. The lighting can't change either, dramatically, in this. And just try to take as few shots as possible, so that your computer doesn't have to work with too many images, putting it together in the software, or you have to work with too many, figuring out where everything is. Just look for those empty gaps and you know, watch for that person sitting on their butt, talking on their cellphone for 20 minutes. You know, that's gonna be a problem there and so. In places where people are moving in and out, it's an option. It's not something that I do very often. Very rarely do I do it, but it is possible. Now, for those of you using Photoshop, there is a way to automate this process. And this is the most in-depth we're getting into Photoshop. You can go into File, Scripts, Statistics, Median, choose the images. It looks at all the images, it runs them together, and it tries to clear that stuff out. I don't know exactly how it's doing it. I do know that it's not perfect and so you may need to try it a couple of cases. You may need to manually do it if this doesn't work right. So one of the problems is crowds and people everywhere where you may not want them. In Mongolia, we were trying to get this shot of this gigantic sculpture that you've seen in some other photographs and this is what it looks like a majority of the time. How do you get shots without all those people there? Well, patience definitely helps. A little bit of psychology here, sociology here. I have found that in general, people are impatient and they're lazy. And so your typical travel photographer is not gonna get up first thing in the morning to go be at a place and take photos there. Not gonna do that. It takes too much effort. How much time are they gonna spend at one particular location? I find that a lot of viewpoints and scenic places, people will come up and they'll take their photo and they'll take the picture of their friend there. You know, that's pretty nice. Okay, we spent 30 seconds here. And they turn around and they leave. And so I'm playing this game. How long are these people gonna be there? Well, these people are coming, these people are leaving. Oh god, okay, if this guy leaves, I'm gonna have my opportunity. And you're ready when you have that five-second window and they all clear out of that space. And so it's mostly just patience. Just waiting your turn. And I found that, you know, if it's important, you gotta know where to invest your time. If it's important, you can wait and you can get that shot exactly as you hoped, which is what I did here. One of the very... most common situations is you run into a place where it's low light. You either don't have your tripod or they don't allow a tripod and you wanna take a photo. So you are handheld and you're gonna need to make this happen on your own. What can you do to give you all the benefits? Find stable shooting locations. See those wine barrels? You know how far apart they are? They're about elbow length right there. So I can stabilize my elbows right between them, so that I am securing myself and the camera as steady as I can. And so I'm choosing a shooting position that is as stable as possible. You can't see it in this image, but there's a post that has a rope on it that I have my camera on. It's kinda like a monopod, but you know, a security post and I'm just resting it on there, so that it's moving around as little as possible. Where is the light coming from? Maybe you have an opportunity of shooting pictures all over, but if you go over to where the light is, you're gonna have the easiest time setting your shutter speeds. And so finding the light. It's something to look for. Sometimes you're photographing subjects that are moving around. Well, you don't have to photograph them when they're moving at their fastest. Maybe they're gonna slow down. And find out when those moments when they slow down are, when nobody's moving around much. Of course, you can fully embrace the slow shutter speeds and use them as an effect in your photograph that you want to have in there. And so utilize that slow shutter speed, use a panning technique, and have that blur in there, which is perfectly fine in many photos. And so here's your low light, handheld tips. And I think if you use this and any other little creativity that you can bring into it, you can shoot pictures in almost any situation, coming away with interesting, good photos. Now, I'm not gonna talk about the selfie, but I will talk about the self-timer because occasionally, you do need to get in the shot yourself. And I have been in a number of situations where I needed to take group shots. And I think I'm a pretty good self-timer photographer. If I had to really say what do I think I'm good at, I think I'm a professional self-timer photographer because I just hate it when it's like, 'Oh, we need to take a group picture. Everybody, line up against the brick wall.' And a brick wall? You're traveling in these beautiful locations. Find and just wait for that moment when you know you can get everyone's attention, when you have a good place to be. That's the time to pull out the favor when you're in your group of friends about when do you wanna do your group shot. Try to do something unusual. Try to do something different that's unique. Fine, you can't see our faces, that's perfectly fine. I like silhouettes. We were in Cuba, I realized that if we pointed our lights up against the ceiling, it was a perfect reflector. It was like a giant soft box that were illuminating us. The only thing that's illuminating us is our own headlamps. And so I was doing this a lot back in my adventure days when I was doing my bike tours and we needed to show what a location would look like. And in general, what the idea was was find a great landscape shot that just looks good on its own and then ride your bike through it. So you have something that's good and then you add that one element to it. Okay. One of the very few selfies in the class. Up on the top of Mount Rainier, attach the camera to the end of an ice ax. No, it's not a selfie stick, it's an ice ax, folks. One of my favorite shots from one of our canoe trips. Lining up all of our gear, doing something different than just standing there like this. So wait for those good moments, kind of plan. And this is something, I'm always like, 'Where am I gonna do the group shot this time?' I wanna do something different. I wanna do something interesting that has a nice background. So pull out the stops, wait and say, 'I'm not gonna do many groups shots, but when I do one, I gonna want your time and effort 'cause it's gonna be a good one.' So I like setting the camera up fully manually. Test shots, make sure it's right. Usually, from a tripod. Get it composing right. Usually using the self-timer for simple shots. Sometimes, you need a little bit more time and that's where the Wi-Fi or an Intervalometer will allow you to get in the shot. This is the only dangerous slide in the class. What do you do asking somebody else to take your photo? I don't know, for some reason... It's not that the recognize me, but I get asked all the time and it's kinda like, 'That guy looks like he knows what he's doing, let's have him take our photo.' And I would be like, 'Oh, you're gonna need a little field flash, let's dial that down to minus one.' And I'd dial their cameras in. But most people that you ask to shoot your photo doesn't know how your camera works. And especially in some places you go, they don't even know how to work a camera in any regard. And I found this out real recently. I was trying to get a group shot, so I handed the camera to one of the tour operators and I looked at it and totally cropping off our feet. I'm like, 'What is going on here?' And then I had to shoot it again. And there was still another problem. And I was like, 'What's going on?' Oh, I realized it. I was asking him to look through the viewfinder. A lot of people have no idea about looking through it. They use it like... Oh, like, what's going on here? And no, put it up your eye! They just didn't understand and then I realized immediately what the solution is. Everybody knows how to use a phone now, and so you gotta use live view or use the rear LCD on your camera because people will hold that up and they know exactly how to hold a phone or a camera looking at the back LCD, and that'll get it all composed right. And so I think that's a great tip for if you need to ask somebody else to shoot your photo, which does happen from time to time.

Class Description

Are you going on a once in a lifetime trip and want to have photos that you can share with friends and family? Do the decisions of what to bring, where to shoot, and what to capture feel overwhelming? Travel photography can feel challenging, time consuming, and expensive. But with the right tools you can plan and prioritize to come home with images that you treasure.

Join photographer, educator and author John Greengo, who has photographed all over the world, as he guides you through all of the steps that you need to capture the photos that you want during your travels. This class will offer different plans of what to bring, and how to create a realistic agenda based on your priorities, whether it’s documenting your trip, telling a story through photographs, or simply capturing great images.

John will teach you:

  • What gear to pack based on your goals.
  • How to create a media storage plan and workflow while traveling.
  • Best practices on how to find and scout the best locations to photograph.
  • How to approach locals and build trust before taking their portraits.
  • Camera techniques and settings for different shooting scenarios.
  • Different types of travel photos, such as The Walk Away, The T-Shot, and Environmental Portrait.
  • What to do with your photos once you’ve returned home.

Don’t let the challenges of travel photography keep you from capturing images that will provide you with lifelong memories. Join John Greengo to learn the best techniques, tools, and technology to capture great photos no matter you limitations in time, money and resources.



As usual John has been an awesome instructor. He is so energetic and fun. I love taking his courses and this was no different. I absolutely loved it. I have learned so much by taking his courses. Thanks John for all you do to help us beginners out.

Melissa Maxwell

So inspiring! This class is so comprehensive and I look forward to applying all of Greengo's tips. He is a wonderful instructor and the example photos are breathtaking.

user 1399347749726793

John is fabulous ... and so inspiring! I can travel the world and live vicariously through him! I've watched John for years and always find that he teaches me something new every time! Thanks John and CreativeLive for another awesome class!