Through the Eyes of National Geographic Photographers: 3 Tips for better photos
I knew the work but not the man.
Then I met the man.
And then another to tell me about the work.
Yes, I’ve had the good fortune of meeting two amazing travel photographers this spring and learned three key things to improve my photos.
Steve McCurry through the eyes of Tino Soriano
In April I was at the Travel Bloggers Unite conference in Umbria, Italy. There were so many great times in Umbria – one of them was a Q&A session by renowned National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry.
Fast forward one month and I’m in Girona, Spain where I encounter McCurry again – this time through an exhibition called ”The Eyes of Steve McCurry“. It was held in the House of Culture and curated as a result of McCurry winning the 2011 Prix LibrePress, a Girona-based award given annually for communications that contribute to making a better world.
Thanks to Costa Brava Tourism, I went to this exhibition with another National Geographic photographer, Tino Soriano. Soriano, born in Barcelona, is also the recipient of several national and international awards. What a pleasure to have him as my guide. Through his eyes, I learned a bit about how McCurry sees the world and three fundamental tips for better photos.
Tip #1 – Wait for it
The photo below is a good example of the “wait for it” tip. Who knows how long Mccurry had his camera and tripod set in just the perfect position waiting for the perfect moment to shoot this colorful alley. Soriano told me that he might wait four hours for the shot he knows will eventually come.
Tip #2 - Establish a rapport
McCurry took this iconic photo only after spending time with his young woman, gaining her trust. One can’t simply snap a shot like this with the eyes penetrating the lens and the viewer. This comes after building a rapport.
Tip #3 - Look for contrasting colors.
In photo after photo, Tino Soriano pointed out how McCurry finds contrasting colors to make his photos interesting. Below is a photo of the girl above 17 years later. In both cases, strong contrasting colors were used to wonderful effect.
And some final wise words from Soriano…
Many people travel through their camera. This is a mistake. Concentrate on getting four or five really good shots and then experience the place.