Category Archives: Photos

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Read This Post and Take Better Photos

When you put in the time, effort, and money to travel somewhere, it’s only natural to want to take better photos and document the experience in order to relive it down the road (and—let’s be honest—it’s fun to show off a little on Instagram). But not all photos are created equal. Here’s how to preserve memories in a high-quality way and make your photos stand out from the pack.

Embrace the “rule of thirds”

This classic photography maxim maintains that the most aesthetically pleasing photos are derived by splitting an image into nine equally sized squares and then positioning the subject(s) of the photo where any two lines cross each other. Check out these great examples to understand how you can use this guideline for virtually any photo.

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Incorporate people, places, and things

This great tip from the Independent Traveler can be applied anywhere, whether you’re eating local in Oahu or braving the cold at an ice hotel. The concept is simple: Just make sure most of the photos you take incorporate a person, a place of interest, and a unique object. This will make your photos much more dynamic, more interesting, and more memorable than yet another beige shot of the family in front of the Eiffel Tower. Your best friend doing a cartwheel beside a red umbrella in front of Paris’ Musée du Vin? Perfect.  

Pay attention to lighting

Don’t take photos facing directly into the sun—your picture will be mostly shadow (no matter how gorgeous the view looked in real life). In general, try to avoid taking pictures between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., since the midday sun casts a harsh light on everything and creates pesky shadows. You’ll find the best light in the morning and around sunset. In general, pay attention to where light is coming from and stage your shot accordingly. And don’t be afraid of bad weather—even rainy or overcast days can produce amazing photos.

Stage the foreground, midground, and background

Well-known travel writer Nomadic Matt has a strategy for avoiding the disappointment of realizing that your picture of a stunning mountain or city skyline doesn’t look nearly as impressive as the scene did in real life. The solution? Creating a sense of scale. Try to incorporate items into the foreground, midground, and background of the shot so that it appears three-dimensional. For example, try using a colorful bus as foreground for a shot of an unusual building.

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 12.59.51 PMTake great selfies

Yes, there is an art to selfie-taking. Especially when traveling, the best selfies  ncorporate things that are specific to the place where you’re taking the photo (e.g. the waves at Miami Beach), feature place-based activities (e.g. climbing the Matterhorn), and experiment with different angles. Try tilting your head, angling your shoulders toward or away from the camera, or focusing on a body part other than your face (like your tired feet after a long day of exploring).

Do some research

Before traveling anywhere, do some research online to learn a bit about the region’s culture, landscape, and iconic sites so you can start thinking about the photos you’d like to take. Take things a step further by doing an image search of those locales so you can see how other people have photographed them and develop your own unique take.

Include local signage

Incorporate local store signs, newspapers, street signs, or signage at farmers’ markets into your photos to instantly convey a sense of place. Bonus points for funny (mis-)translations.

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 12.59.08 PMLearn your camera’s shortcuts

Any traveler knows that amazing or unexpected experiences can happen in an instant. Be prepared to capture any moment by keeping your camera handy and knowing its photo shortcuts (or knowing your phone’s camera shortcuts).

Don’t get caught up in evaluation

Digital cameras and smartphones make it all too easy to start critiquing photos the moment they’re taken, which can cause you to miss a great shot. Avoid the temptation to peek and stay focused on the moment you’re trying to capture. There’ll be time to evaluate the photos back at the hotel.

Ask permission

It can be tempting to sneak pictures of locals because they convey an immediate sense of place. But remember that you’re looking at human beings, and being a respectful tourist is important. Before taking anyone’s photo, make sure you have his or her permission to do so. Then offer thanks (and maybe even compensation) for their willingness to help out.

Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind while hunting for travel photo ops? Stay open-minded and adventurous. If you want an unusual or exciting photo, it helps to do unusual or exciting things. Go exploring, try new foods or activities, and step off the beaten (tourist) path. If you’re doing amazing things, amazing photos will follow. Be sure to share your stellar photography by tagging #hipmunk on Instagram. We can’t wait to see it!  

 

beekeeping_donke

A Beekeeping Donkey in Brazil

This has got to be one of the most awesome photos I’ve seen — a beekeeping donkey in Cerrado, Brazil.

[Hat tip to my friend Jodi for the tip via Grist]

Drew Meyers

Drew Meyers is the co-founder of Horizon & Oh Hey World. He worked for Zillow from September of 2005 to January of 2010 on the marketing team managing Zillow’s API program and various online partnerships. Founder of Geek Estate Blog, a multi-author blog focused on real estate technology for real estate professionals, and myKRO.org, a blog devoted to exploring the world of microfinance. As passionate as you get about travel.

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bounceacrossseine

Who Wants to Bounce Across the Seine?

Did you know you can bounce across a river, literally? Take a look at this bridge to Paris

Who’s in? Me!!

[Hat tip to my friend Katie]

Drew Meyers

Drew Meyers is the co-founder of Horizon & Oh Hey World. He worked for Zillow from September of 2005 to January of 2010 on the marketing team managing Zillow’s API program and various online partnerships. Founder of Geek Estate Blog, a multi-author blog focused on real estate technology for real estate professionals, and myKRO.org, a blog devoted to exploring the world of microfinance. As passionate as you get about travel.

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Sunrise at Mount Batur in Bali

Travel Photo: Sunrise at Mount Batur in Bali

If you have a chance to hike Mount Batur while in Bali to see the sunrise — I 100% recommend it. The hike begins around 4:30 am and is no cakewalk – but the view is totally worth it. My friend Brad Coy tipped me off to it, and our entire group at Startup Abroad made an outing of it our last night.

Drew Meyers

Drew Meyers is the co-founder of Horizon & Oh Hey World. He worked for Zillow from September of 2005 to January of 2010 on the marketing team managing Zillow’s API program and various online partnerships. Founder of Geek Estate Blog, a multi-author blog focused on real estate technology for real estate professionals, and myKRO.org, a blog devoted to exploring the world of microfinance. As passionate as you get about travel.

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sagrada familia night

Travel Photo: La Sagrada Famila in Barcelona

I’m currently in Barcelona, so thought I’d share photos of La Sagrada Famila in its current state. Since I last visited the structure in 2005 – the structure has grown in size considerably. I took the photos on Friday when I met Miriana (MyTravelThirst.com) and her husband Federico for drinks & tapas right nearby.

You can learn more about its history here.

Drew Meyers

Drew Meyers is the co-founder of Horizon & Oh Hey World. He worked for Zillow from September of 2005 to January of 2010 on the marketing team managing Zillow’s API program and various online partnerships. Founder of Geek Estate Blog, a multi-author blog focused on real estate technology for real estate professionals, and myKRO.org, a blog devoted to exploring the world of microfinance. As passionate as you get about travel.

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In the window of a shop in Gent, Belgium

Travel Photo: Today is a Good Day

Cheerful text in the window of a shop in Gent, Belgium

Yes, indeed it is a Good Day. Everyday that we are not locked in a cubicle and instead exploring the world is a good day.

Drew Meyers

Drew Meyers is the co-founder of Horizon & Oh Hey World. He worked for Zillow from September of 2005 to January of 2010 on the marketing team managing Zillow’s API program and various online partnerships. Founder of Geek Estate Blog, a multi-author blog focused on real estate technology for real estate professionals, and myKRO.org, a blog devoted to exploring the world of microfinance. As passionate as you get about travel.

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atacama15

Atacama In Chile

Wow, I really really really want to go to Chile now. It looks gorgeous.

It doesn’t hurt that I kinda like that background song either.

[Video via GoBackpacking and photo via kirikou.com]

Drew Meyers

Drew Meyers is the co-founder of Horizon & Oh Hey World. He worked for Zillow from September of 2005 to January of 2010 on the marketing team managing Zillow’s API program and various online partnerships. Founder of Geek Estate Blog, a multi-author blog focused on real estate technology for real estate professionals, and myKRO.org, a blog devoted to exploring the world of microfinance. As passionate as you get about travel.

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san francisco street art

San Francisco Street Art Example

Honestly, Christine’s photos never cease to amaze me. Here’s one photo she took of street art in San Francisco.

Seems I need to spend a bit more time surveying the art landscape around me next time I’m in the city. I don’t remember seeing anything close to this gorgeous when I was there a few weeks ago.

Drew Meyers

Drew Meyers is the co-founder of Horizon & Oh Hey World. He worked for Zillow from September of 2005 to January of 2010 on the marketing team managing Zillow’s API program and various online partnerships. Founder of Geek Estate Blog, a multi-author blog focused on real estate technology for real estate professionals, and myKRO.org, a blog devoted to exploring the world of microfinance. As passionate as you get about travel.

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Bohol boat tour dolphin watching

Travel Photo: Dolphin Watching in Bohol

Drew Meyers

Drew Meyers is the co-founder of Horizon & Oh Hey World. He worked for Zillow from September of 2005 to January of 2010 on the marketing team managing Zillow’s API program and various online partnerships. Founder of Geek Estate Blog, a multi-author blog focused on real estate technology for real estate professionals, and myKRO.org, a blog devoted to exploring the world of microfinance. As passionate as you get about travel.

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I can be president

Photo: I Can Be President

LOVE this photo…

[via Jua Cali on FB]

Drew Meyers

Drew Meyers is the co-founder of Horizon & Oh Hey World. He worked for Zillow from September of 2005 to January of 2010 on the marketing team managing Zillow’s API program and various online partnerships. Founder of Geek Estate Blog, a multi-author blog focused on real estate technology for real estate professionals, and myKRO.org, a blog devoted to exploring the world of microfinance. As passionate as you get about travel.

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