Photographer Frances Freyberg offers advice for taking great travel photos

by Frances Freyberg on May 20, 2011

Editor’s note: With vacation season just around the corner, we asked local photographer Frances Freyberg for some tips that will increase your chances of bringing home excellent photographic memories. As a reference, she used photographs from her recent trip to Patagonia. They will be on display at a group exhibit part of the continuing Silicon Valley Open Studios this weekend (May 21-22) at Little House on Middle Avenue in Menlo Park.

Torres del Paine National Park (c) 2011 by Frances FreybergI recently returned from a backpacking adventure through Torres del Paine National Park in Chilean Patagonia. Over the course of the two-week journey, I took nearly 2,000 photos, with a goal of bringing back just a handful of really good ones to exhibit and sell during this year’s Silicon Valley Open Studios.

Throughout and after the trip, I was reminded of several photography tips I’ve learned from years of trial and error on the road.

Tip #1: It doesn’t matter how good your camera is if you don’t use it. If your goal is to come home with photos, then the most important quality in a prospective camera is that it’s easily usable by you. Be sure you’re comfortable with the weight, size, and functionality of your camera, and practice using it before you go.

Tip #2: Bring a back-up. A spare battery and memory card take very little space in a shoulder bag and allow for uninterrupted shooting while on the go. If photos will be your most important souvenir, then consider bringing a back-up flash drive and regularly copying your images to it throughout the trip. Should your camera be damaged, lost, or stolen along the way, you’ll still be able to take home most of your images. Finally, consider carrying a cheap back-up camera to use in the event of loss or theft, and/or in “risky” conditions, such as in the rain, or on the water.

Torres del Paine National Park (c) 2011 by Frances Freyberg

Tip #3: Don’t forget to print and share your photos! Resist the temptation to let your beautiful travel photographs languish on your computer. Take the time to sort through them in a timely manner and select the best ones to print or share online. Write captions while the trip is still fresh in your mind. And consider making a photo book to share with friends and family, using sites such as Blurb, Kodak Gallery , or Menlo Park’s Keepsy, featured earlier this year on InMenlo.

Frances Freyberg is a Menlo Park-based photographer, who has exhibited widely.

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