A blurry street scene, a dimly-lit group shot, a poorly-framed picture of a half-eaten dinner. For many, these are the photographic reminders of vacations past, relegated to live in a shoebox under the bed. But with a little instruction, there’s no reason travelers can’t bring back frame-worthy photos from their adventures on the road.
At a Costa Rica photography workshop, travelers are able to immerse themselves in a new culture while learning how to improve their skills behind the camera. Everyone from first time photographers to seasoned professionals can learn new techniques for composing, shooting and editing images. And the best part of attending a photography workshop in Costa Rica? You can put your new-found skills to the test in real time while exploring a new locale with an experienced guide.
Below, seven things you’ll learn at a Costa Rica photography workshop.
Choose your equipment wisely. Sure, a DSLR looks fancy and is capable of taking some really amazing photos, but it does you no good if it’s too cumbersome to carry around. Choose a camera that fits your needs and destination, whether it’s a DSLR with multiple lenses, a point-and-shoot that fits in your pocket, or a smart phone.
Have patience. Not all great photos come in a flash of inspiration. Some images take an investment of time. Wait for the perfect moment to capture that sunset, wave, or bird as it readies for flight. Your patience will pay off.
Look for the unexpected shot. Anyone can take the typical, straight-on shot of a popular landmark. Instead, try changing your perspective. Get down low, or find another unique vantage point. Are there tall buildings around or sand dunes you can climb? Look for other opportunities, like reflections from glass or water, to make your photos really stand out.
Don’t be flash-happy. A lot of beginner photographers leave the in-camera flash on, no matter the lighting conditions or the type of photo they’re trying to capture. Refrain from using the flash when capturing landscapes, or when taking photos at large venues like concerts or sporting events. Instead, only use a flash to illuminate poorly-lit subjects when they’re within the flash range (typically 10′).
Use natural light. For best results, use natural light whenever possible. Many photographers seek out the “golden hours”—the first and last hour of daylight—each day, when the light gives objects more shape. And don’t be scared completely by shadows—they can actually add interest to your photos, providing contour and balance.
Pay attention to the background. A light pole sticking out of someone’s head, an errant hand jutting into the frame—these are the kinds of things that can make an otherwise good photograph bad. The background of a photo should help to provide context for the image, not distract the eye. When composing your photo, pay attention to the background and edges of your photo. If you’re unhappy with the composition, try moving your subject, or if that’s not possible, move yourself to get the shot.
Get personal. A destination is a lot more than its landmarks. Try to capture scenes of everyday life that include locals, whether it’s fisherman pulling in the day’s catch, a crowd at a cafe or the old woman who runs the fruit stand. When possible, introduce yourself and ask for permission first—not only will it make your experience richer, but your photographs will be, too.
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