We’ve all been caught in that awkward position of having to watch someone as they endlessly scroll travel photos and videos from wherever they just vacationed to. It can be rough. First, you probably already caught it all on the ‘gram or Snapchat. Second — let’s face it — most of us don’t know two things about capturing compelling photos. When it comes to videos we’re even more inept. Unless you follow a bunch of influencers, it’s a rare scroll that reveals someone on your feed who knows what the hell they’re doing.
To help you up your game this summer, we asked professional photographer, director, and Nikon ambassador Corey Rich for tips on when to shoot, how to shoot, and what you’ll need to create compelling photos and videos of your adventures. By following his advice, your friends’ eyes might not glaze over quite so fast when you share your next batch of summer travel photos.
What hours are the best time to shoot and at what hours should we just forget about even trying?
As a filmmaker or as a photographer, you just have to get up early and you have to stay up late. That’s the bottom line. You want to be out there before the sun is rising or that first hour after the sun has risen. That applies to the end of the day too… It’s the magic hour. It’s the most beautiful light.
When that sun is totally overhead and there are ugly shadows falling right on top of your subject’s face and the shadow from their nose is creating a diamond shape or triangle under their nose and they have raccoon eyes — there’s not a lot that you can do to make that look good. You increase your odds of creating compelling content if you shoot in good light.
If you’re sitting in your house drinking coffee, watching the sunrise, you’re blowing it. If you’re having a cocktail on your deck or on someone’s deck and you’re watching the sunset, you are definitely blowing it. You need to be shooting during those times and having your cocktails at noon. And I say that as someone who loves coffee and cocktails!
So, at around noon just don’t even bother?
You know, look, every rule is made to be broken. There are Pulitzer Prize-winning still images and incredible videos that were shot at high noon, there’s always the caveat.
Here’s a great example: when it’s raining, there are thunderstorms, it’s snowing — the time of day doesn’t matter anymore. So high noon can be incredibly stunning. At high noon when there’s a thunderstorm and big thunderhead building in the background and a rainbow is forming behind you and the image is a shaft of light poking through the cloud, that’s pretty amazing.
Be conscientious of what mother nature is dishing out. Get out of that overhead light, go indoors and shoot, shoot in the shade, find some open shade. That works at high noon. It’s just a strike against you. Now there’s a challenge that you’re trying to overcome.