World Traveller September 2019



The Knowledge


Take frame-worthy travel photographs

Dubai-based visual artist and photographer Debbie Fortes (@debbiefortes)

shares her tips on capturing picture-perfect shots of your travels



If you’re a complete beginner,

instead of lugging about a large

and complicated camera, keep it

simple by purchasing some lenses

for your smartphone. “I recommend

the BlackEye Lens Pro Kit G4 as its

fisheye, wide-angle and telephoto

lens options offer a lot of choice

and therefore shots,” says Debbie.

If you’re in the market for a camera

perfect for travel but are fairly new

to photography, look

for something lightweight and easy

to use, such as the Canon Powershot

SX740. It has a long lens zoom that's

perfect for capturing shots from a

distance, if you can't get close.

Mleiha desert in Sharjah

Photo: Debbie Fortes


Prep your shots by listing the places

you’re going to visit and would like

to capture in advance. “I use Google

Maps to plot the locations I will be

photographing and, from there, I

begin to plan what kind of shots I

would like to achieve,” says Debbie.

By doing some research beforehand

you can get an understanding of

the photography clichés that pop

up often in each spot and instead

look for ways to put your own spin

on the shot.


A good way to find unusual

destinations and non-touristy areas

to photograph is by linking up with

like-minded people. “I do this by

following the Instagram accounts of

photographers who are based in the

place I’m visiting. Quite often, people

are very friendly and if you tell them

you’re visiting they will take you

to the ‘hidden gems’ of their city,”

says Debbie.


“A simple tip that can make the world

of difference to your photographs

is waking up early,” says Debbie.

Especially when visiting popular

tourist attractions, getting there

before the crowds descend means

you're less likely to have people

walking in front of your camera. Plus,

you'll have more time to take pictures

from different angles. “What's more,

the lighting first thing in the morning

is soft, meaning it’s easier to get a

perfectly lit shot without shadows

casting over your focus.”


“Turning on the grid (you can do

this on phone and digital cameras),

will help guide you when composing

images by showing you how the

photograph is divided up between,

buildings and the sky, for example,”

says Debbie. “It will also help you to

make sure your images are straight

when taking photos of architecture

or structures,” she adds. You can

use your creative instincts to think

outside the box. When it comes to

composing shots, for example, try

shooting a famous landmark through

the trees for a different perspective.


As the saying goes, a picture

speaks a thousand words, so make

it interesting. You can add a new

level of storytelling into your travel

photographs by including people in

your shots. “If you’re out and about

during the day and spot someone

doing something you think would

make a great photo, then don’t be

afraid to ask. Most of the time people

are quite happy to pose for you –

just be sure to ask before you click,”

says Debbie. When you return from

your trip, the human element of your

photos will provide an engaging

talking point for family and friends

who will be intrigued to know more.


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