Shooting For Keeps

by Scott Woodward
Photos by Chino Sardea
22 May 2017

Travel photographer Scott Woodward shares tips on capturing the perfect shot — anytime, anywhere

As a travel photographer doing commercial and editorial photography, I get asked a lot about my tips for taking travel photography. And I’m always happy to share them with everyone.

Be inspired and get inspired. One of the best things that you can do is look at social media surrounding us that are filled with images, and use that to gain inspiration. In my pocket I have a ready database that is filled with thousands and thousands of inspirational images. If you’re going to Paris, for example, look at how people have photographed it, and use that as an inspiration before you go on your trip. There’s no shame in looking at other people’s work to gain inspiration.

Make use of interesting light, which can make even mundane subjects look interesting. It’s really important that you try and shoot as much as you can during what we call the ‘golden hours’ – an hour after sunrise and about an hour before sunset – when the sun is low and the light is golden and soft. That is when you get lovely long shadows. If you can go out and look around at things during those hours, I think your photos will improve dramatically.

(Renowned photojournalist) Robert Capa famously said that if your photos aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough. When you’re shooting street photography and portraits of people, try and fill the whole frame with the subject and their faces. Don’t try to leave a lot of space around it. And if you think you’re close enough, get even closer.

Try to add life to landscape photos. If you’ve ever been subjected to a family member’s holiday photos of landscape after landscape after landscape, you know how quickly they get boring. What I try to do when I shoot landscape is put a human being in it; even if they are small and they occupy a small space in the image, that pop of color will add some life to the picture, or their size will add some perspective and add some drama to a really big landscape image.

Finally, you don’t need to travel to make travel photography. Singapore is an exotic place to someone who lives in Italy, just as Italy is exotic to someone who lives here. So take your camera, shoot that interesting neighborhood or that interesting character, and when you go on that big trip to Italy, you’re prepared.

View Scott's photographs online here

Listen to the conversation with Scott in the exclusive Portfolio Podcast here