HOW WE LEVELLED UP OUR PHOTOGRAPHY

Updated: May 23


OLD VS NEW

Neither Danielle nor I are photography experts or connoisseurs. We're people that enjoy taking nice pictures, who try to get creative with our shots when we can. It is definitely an area we are keen to develop and improve our skills in...but we're not pros just yet.

We recently looked back on some old pictures from past trips to see how far we'd come, and were astounded at the difference! It was like night and day. It's crazy to see the improvements that we've made and were still only learning at this stage. Check it out for yourselves below...


It's mindblowing that we couldn't capture an incredible picture while standing somewhere as iconic as The Colosseum. Both these pictures were taken in incredible locations, but with a bit of forethought and a few handy pieces of equipment, the difference is huge!

This is two separate images side by side. The first on the left is a young couple standing next to each other facing the camera inside the colosseum. The man on the left has a forrest green t shirt on, dark blue shorts and black trainers with short brown hair, and his sunglasses are hanging from his t-shirt. He has his left around around the woman next to him who has long brown hair, sunglasses on her face, a white top and blue denim skirt with white sandals. The pair look very happy as they stand in the colosseum and smile for the camera. In the image in the right it is the same couple on Padar island viewpoint looking out at the incredible view. The man on the left is in a white shirt with beige shorts and he has short black hair. The woman has long blonde hair and is wearing a white flowing dress. The view ahead of them is incredible as it looks down on Padar and the beaches around the wonderful island.
The difference between these two pictures is incredible, and it's not just down to Danielle's hair transformation!

PLANNING & PREPARATION

You can maximise your efforts by applying a little bit of thought to where you are going, what opportunities there might be for pictures and anything you specifically want to capture while you're there. If inspiration strikes then let your imagination guide you and see how it turns out. Regardless, it helps to go somewhere with a rough plan of what you're going to see. If you don't have an outline of what you want to achieve then there's a strong chance you'll come away with nothing in the end.

This is a spectacular image of a lagoon with clear blue waters being surrounded by rocks covered in trees on all sides. A young blonde woman can be seen in the centre of the lagoon laying on her back with her legs straight out in front of her and her head poking above the water. The water surrounding her is crystal clear which means you can see the rocks dotted around her in the water from left to right. the large rocks surrounding the lagoon start lower on the left side and get higher and higher as they encircle the lagoon until they reach their peak in the centre of the image where the trees are also at their highest. From here they drop down again to a low point finishing on the right side of the image. The sun is just out of shot on the left side but the light rays can be seen shining across the centre rocks. The sky is clear blue making it a beautiful day for this woman to have found a gorgeous lagoon to take a swim in.
We found this lagoon at Hin Ta Hin Yai in Koh Samui...it made for some great pictures

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OUR PHOTOGRAPHY KIT

  • Tripod: This was HUGE in transforming our pictures. It eliminates the need to ask people to take your photo and means you can take your time. The Bluetooth clicker that connects to your phone is amazing!

  • Sony a6000 DSLR Camera: We've had this for years and strongly recommend it. It's great for beginners to pick up, point and shoot but also works well for more experienced photographers too. There are a bunch of lenses you can get, and you can switch it to manual to start playing with the settings when you get more confident as well. It's a good price, compact and durable.

  • iPhone: If you don't want to splash money on a camera then a lot of phones still enable you to take incredible photos.

This picture shows a young couple sat in a hammock with their bodies turned towards the camera and heads facing each other looking into the others eyes. The relaxing and incredibly well placed hammock sits overlooking the famous Tegallalang Rice Terrace in Ubud, Bali. The couple are sitting vertically on the hammock and the young man is on the left with short brown hair, black sunglasses, a white vest and baby blue shorts on. He is looking to his left at the woman by his side with her blonde hair tied up, dark sunglasses on and a white flowing dress. Her feet are bare as she crosses her left leg over the right and the hammock forces the pair close together. It is woven into small diamond patters all the way along and is white. It hags overlooking the incredible rice terrace below. The terrace shows all kinds of green imaginable as the rice paddies are layered up the hills beyond. There are trees lining the terrace behind it and branches can also be seen hanging either side of the hammock. You can't see much of the sky as the trees block a lot of it out, but a small section is towards the left centre of the image and you can see the blue skies peppered with light, white cloud. The sun is beaming down and the only shadow that can be seen is the one underneath the hammock as it hangs in the sun.
Having a tripod helps us capture moments like this without us needing to ask anyone for help
  • Adobe Lightroom & Retouch: These are the apps we use to edit any pictures that need a slight touch-up. Adobe Lightroom is where we add filters, adjust lighting, amend colour and generally make any necessary upgrades. Retouch is handy and can be used to remove any rogue people that sneak in and photobomb your perfect photo.

  • GoPro Hero 9: We don't use it constantly, but it has its uses. When scuba diving in Koh Tao recently we put it to good use! It's a must for any adrenaline junky that's for sure.

  • Canva Pro Subscription: This isn't something we use to heighten the quality of our images, but it's great for showcasing them in creative ways. With Canva Pro you can put together amazing content with the images you've taken which you can then share on Instagram Stories or Pinterest etc. The first month is free if you use the link above!

This image is taken from underwater looking up at a young woman who is scuba diving. Her scuba equipment can be seen all around her as she lays flat in the water looking at the camera and making a surf style hand gesture with both hands. Her middle three fingers are closed like a fist and her thumb and little finger are both stretched out. Her hands are up and floating either side of her face which is predominantly covered by her oxygen and face mask. Her blonde hair is tied back although a section of her fringe is floating up above her head as she hangs in the water. The various pieces of scuba equipment are around her body with some floating slightly away from her but still all tucked neatly into her BCD vest. She is wearing a black short wetsuit and all around her you can see the blue of the ocean. There is the faint outline of a boat above her and you can see the surface of the water overhead rippling. The surface of the ocean looks very light blue, and some parts are white, and the deeper it gets the darker the blue becomes.
The GoPro is great for underwater footage!

INDIVIDUAL & COUPLES POSES

The best advice we saw when preparing for this trip was to forget about other people looking or laughing as you set up equipment or try different poses...you'll never see them again anyway. It's a lot easier said than done! We felt awkward in the beginning, but you'll be surprised at how quickly that changes. There's an element of freedom that comes with casting your inhibitions aside, and thinking "f**k it!". Next thing you know you're looking very strange to everyone else but having the best time as a couple.

Never be afraid to try something new, keep a few go-to poses in your back pocket just in case.

Update

We've since made a few extra purchases that have also helped, here they are:

  • DJI Mavic Air 2S: We met a bunch of friends in Bali who had drones and always loved the content they could get. We're excited to see what amazing photos and videos we get with this!

  • DJI OM5 gimbal: We struggled a lot with steady hands when taking videos on our phones, so this helped a lot! It allowed us to create much smoother videos, and it's well priced.

  • Increase Camera Knowledge: We are constantly trying to learn about settings that would help us achieve different camera effects. We are getting to grips with things bit by bit, but it's a long road ahead.

  • More camera lenses: We are also looking at a few different lenses that would give us crisper images, and help with various effects. We are hoping to have a few new additions in the coming weeks!


We're incredibly proud of how far we have come throughout this process. If we can make these sorts of improvements quick then it's achievable for anyone! We can't wait to look back again in another year's time and see just how far we've come.

 

For more travel tips check out our blogs on saving money to travel, travelling sustainably and our top 10 travel essentials.


Follow us on Instagram & TikTok as we tackle the what, where, why, and how we’re doing this and all the twists and turns along the way.

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