1) Chasing light
I’m really not a morning person but, on travel shoots, I always force myself to wake up with or before the sun. Photography is all about light, so it’s important to capture the most beautiful light possible. What also makes shooting in the early morning more preferable than the late afternoon is there are often fewer people and tourists. I found this to be especially true at Machu Picchu and Belvedere lookout, in Moorea. My assistant and I had heard about this lookout on top of Belvedere Mountain, in Moorea, and for this image, went to see it to take photos in the afternoon. The light, however, was all wrong; the sun glaring right into the camera and washing everything out. The sun rose at 6:00 a.m., and our hotel was in Tahiti, so we were on the first ferry over at 6:00 the next morning to get this shot. Once I’ve scheduled my important landscape shots for when the lighting is right, I schedule shooting food and interiors in the middle of the day when the light is harsh outside, but fine for interior shots.
2) Capture a person in the shot
Whether it’s finding a photogenic local, animal, or someone traveling with you, what can elevate a generic postcard-perfect photo is adding a person for context or scale. Sometimes a place is very grand and majestic, but it’s not translating in a picture. If you add a person to the image you can, all of a sudden, get a better sense of the scale of the place.