Whether you’re a photography buff or just planning on using your phone, studying abroad means taking a million photos of some of the most beautiful, impressive, historic and overall awe inspiring places in the world. Alumni Ambassador Bianca studied with us in London and shared some of her photography tips with us. So take a few selfies, but here are five other kinds of pictures you should try taking.
1. Look Up
We are so used to taking pictures at eye level. We typically capture skylines and silhouettes, but I challenge you to look up when visiting a new place. Check out the architecture, learn the uniqueness of the city, explore from a different angle. I honestly have no clue where this picture (above) was taken, but I can remember the story behind it clearly. We were on a photography excursion for class, and this was during our lunch break. We ate at a nearby café and, while eating outside, I noticed the interesting building art and string of lights connecting the apartments. This picture allows me to remember unique parts of that day, because it is different from all of the other photos I took. Just look up.
Teach yourself about extended exposure and shutter speed. Learn techniques to capture motion and you’ll remember your trip in a whole new way. Luckily for me, I was taking a photography class in London and was supplied with a tripod and instruction on how to take such a picture, but a street bench and Google will do the same thing. This intersection is not relevant or important, however this picture captures the iconic red, double decker bus in a non-traditional way. When I look at this, I remember the constant bustle of those buses and their movement throughout the city. You can hop on public transportation and see all of London, traveling from one end to the other.
3. Get Close
Don’t be afraid to look silly getting up close and personal with a plant or inanimate object. If it looks cool, take a picture, because those pictures will last forever and there are just some things you don’t want to forget. Photograph signs, flowers, animals, books, food, and your coffee cups. Embrace it! Don’t just take pictures of yourself, but really capture your surroundings. I took this picture at South Bank next to the Thames River at a little farmer’s market. They were selling plants and flowers and I remember the fragrances filling the air and the shelves of burlap. Yes, I probably looked ridiculous taking this, and no, the plant isn’t even that appealing, but it’s a detail of my day and a pleasant memory of South Bank that now I won’t ever forget.
4. Key Culture
You’re in a new place and it’s inevitably going to have some cultural aspects that are different than back home. Embrace it! This photo is another shot from a class project, and my professor asked permission for us to set up tripods across the street. We all thought it was awkward and creepy, but a cool picture came from it. One thing I won’t forget about London is all of the business people gathering around the pubs after work for a casual drink and conversation with a stranger. There is movement, there is laughter, and there are stories. We received some humorous comments from our subjects, but nobody had an issue with a group of Americans capturing a scene that was routine to the locals. This picture encompasses what I learned of London culture.
5. What’s Familiar
Sometimes we forget to take a picture of the things we see every day or that are typical to us. Hotel rooms, rental cars, your morning coffee shop, the view from your window. These are the things that make your trip special and so why not capture them? This is a picture of the incredible floor-to-ceiling windows in our dorm room. Firstly, we were incredibly lucky to even score a triple room accommodation, but then the room ended up being gorgeous, so of course I took a bunch of pictures. This one is my favorite because it shows the amazing window, the light that it would let in, and the exterior of the buildings on that street. I also love that the window is open, because that’s how it remained for the duration of our stay because our room did not have air conditioning, which is typical in Europe. I am also reminded of the fact that, during the time we were in London, they were experiencing an abnormally hot summer and the longest drought they’d had in a few years, another fun tidbit from my trip.