How to Take Amazing Photos

Acclaimed Local Adventure Photographer Shares Tips For Getting The Best Shot


Whether or not you recognize the name Travis Burke, chances are good that you’ve seen this San Diegan’s amazing photos, which have been featured in National Geographic and Backpacker magazines. Or maybe you’re one of his more than 800,000 followers on Instagram.

Besides the breathtaking landscapes he captures, Travis’ trademark is adding a human element to his photos. Maybe it’s a man on a cliff admiring the view, a woman exiting the ocean on a stunning beach or someone’s feet dangling above the Napali Coast in Hawaii.

We asked Travis to give us a few tips for snapping better landscapes and potentially telling a more captivating story with the images we take. Here, he shares his five best tips.

1. Use a tripod. By adding this piece of gear to your kit, you really expand the type of images you can get. Not only does a tripod give you the ability to take night photos (because it keeps the camera steady during the long exposures necessary in low-light conditions), it also allows you to play with different types of long exposures.


2. Don’t shoot at eye level. Get creative with your compositions by laying on the ground or jumping on top of a rock to get a higher perspective. We’re so accustomed to seeing everything we look at, at eye level, (I would say: We’re so accustomed to seeing everything at eye level or We’re so accustomed to looking at everything from an eye level) that if you can mix it up by shooting at a completely different angle, your photo will automatically stand out.


3. Use a human element. By including a person in your frame, you give the setting a sense of perspective that is sometimes lost when you’re shooting natural landscapes.


4. Research your location ahead of time. Does the landscape you’ll be photographing look better at sunrise or sunset? If you’re shooting night photography, where will the moon be and at what phase? There are a number of apps that can help with these elements so you can plan for success.

5. Never forget lighting. The majority of landscapes look best in early morning or evening, not under direct midday sun. This is why number four is so important—plan ahead so you have enough time at your destination to photograph it in the best light possible.

Categories: Lifestyles, Tricks of the trade