David Patrick Beston on the Art of Travel Photography (and Why It’s Harder Than It Looks)

David Patrick Beston on What It Takes to Be a Successful Travel Photographer

David Patrick Beston has more than 15 years of professional experience in the Big Apple, but he’s also spent plenty of time exploring his world. His professional and personal life has been a whirlwind in many ways, which is how he came to appreciate the art of slowing down and drinking in the sights. He shares his tips on travel photography, a field that’s easy to scrutinize from afar, and why there’s more to it than you might think.

Understand Your Camera

In a world of camera phones, it would be easy to think that anyone could become a travel photographer. However, David Patrick Beston rightfully points out that all devices have their advantages and corresponding limitations. The most important thing you can do is test out the technology, and this is true whether you have the latest Android or a camera from the 1950s. You should also read the instructions and research tips from those who specialize in your unit.

Know Your Light

David Patrick Beston can tell you that lighting will make or break your shot. So whether you’re photographing the desert at sunrise or a mountain lake at sunset, you’ll need patience if you want to capture the best possible moment of your session. It’s also important not to make assumptions when you’re out there. A drab sunrise that’s entirely impeded by clouds may end up being a bust, but even a small break in the coverage for a fraction of a second can be your best image. This is meditation at its finest, as you have to be focused on the world in front of you and ready for any significant changes.

Don’t Be Afraid to Break the Rules

Rules are out there for travel photography, including one to break up your image into thirds to create the best possible aesthetic. Beston says that these rules can be great for developing your knowledge base and generally framing your shots. He also says that following these rules all of the time can end up making your travel photography too uniform.

He advises photographers not to be nervous to branch out and go after some unconventional angles. When evaluating your shots later on, try to keep an open mind about what they say about the landscape. Some will be duds, but others may focus on a fragment of your surroundings that you otherwise would have missed entirely.

David Patrick Beston on Movement

Travel is all about moving, and so is photography. David Patrick Beston says that you may need to move around before you can fit everything you want into the frame or get the last ray of sunshine in before the darkness settles in. All his life, he’s tried to find a balance between stillness and movement, and travel photography has been a great way to experiment with the right blend of frenzy and calm.