A pro's guide to travel photography

Angle, ease and simplicity; Stefan Haworth's guide to acing the travel shot.

A quick scroll through New Zealand travel photographer Stefan Haworth's Instagram feed and an overbearing wanderlust will inevitably encroach. From sun-soaked images of Thailand's lesser-known island gems to incredible snapshots of the nomadic Mongolian Kazakhs; Haworth's imagery evokes curiosity and awe. An ambassador for Sony Action Cameras, Stefan will go to great lengths to secure the perfect shot, his adventures seeing him paraglide over the lush valleys of India's Palchan and swim alongside Tonga's mammoth whales.

If there's a method to translating those stumbled-upon, inconceivable travel marvels into lifelong visual treasures, then Stefan Haworth certainly has it mastered. 

The tools

True to his love of adventure, Stefan's travel kit consists only of the essentials."I like to be able to be on the move and not restricted by bags," he says. "Carry-on only is my favourite."

Using Sony RX Series Cameras, Stefan has poised his lens in the direction of stormy Tulum beaches, preoccupied Manali locals and a sun-setting New York skyline. Compact and with SLR-like operation, the Sony RX100 V delivers a rich quality of imagery, its ability for wireless NFC and Wi-Fi data transfer making it the ultimate travel companion.

Also in his bag, Stefan packs weight-saving USB-battery chargers, merino singlets (for those humid travel conditions) and a 10,000+Mhz battery pack for charging his phone.

Stefan's tips for first-time explorers? "You don't need every piece of gear with you. Restrict yourself and you'll be rewarded. Leave that tripod!"

The perfect shot

Achieving the perfectly curated travel album shouldn't become a taxing holiday task. Stefan believes in trying to capture the true essence of a destination by telling a story, rather than just taking a series of empty photos. 

"It's not always easy," he admits. "Show what the area is about; if it's farming, the architecture or the scenery. I aim to get a timeless image. Frame it without the disposable commercialism or signage. The more surrounding elements captured in a simplistic manner the better the image."

People can make an image instantly more interesting, but Stefan advises leaving them out if they become a distracting element in the composition.

The subject

Rome's Leaning Tower of Pisa can rarely be seen without a crowd of tourists manoeuvring their hands in the air on the grass below. While landmarks are a go-to shot for most travellers, there is an art to composing an interesting photograph and one that differs from the thousands available online.

"Aim for simplicity on the angle and light," says Stefan. "I like to vary my proportions of the subjects in my imagery, from small figures to close up portraits. But the biggest thing is not to have distractions in the image; pull the eye to the subject from the simplicity of the image." 

However simple the approach may be, capturing a unique perspective on a landmark may mean forfeiting a holiday sleep-in. "Try to arrive at first lights to beat the crowds," says Stefan.

The settings

Camera modes are a useful element for photography beginners. Spend time learning what options are available with your camera model and familiarise yourself with its settings before embarking on your trip. 

Stefan tends to keep his mode setting constant, instead carrying his WB (white balance), aperture, light sensitivities (ISO) and focus. 

"A key setting I can't go without is the back button focus, which RX models allow" Stefan reveals. "Having a separate focus button away from the shutter allows me to set the focus on a spot and take the photo without refocusing. There is no room for error unless I chose to focus wrongly."

This article is presented by Sony

 


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