8 photo tips for your semester in Prague

While studying an entire semester abroad at the University of New York in Prague, you will have many exciting moments, worth remembering. Don't miss out on good photo opportunities while exploring the city or traveling around Europe for the first time. And don't worry – it’s not just the Communication and Media students who can take great photos! 

Here are some tips to make your Study Abroad photos stand out in your friends' feeds. 

Be your own location scout

Don't just do selfies; put yourself and your friends in the scene. Environmental portraits combine portraiture with a sense of place and are the perfect way to capture your study abroad experience. Take your time, and while you are wandering around Prague, pay attention to spaces and locations that you potentially would like to use. Notice the times when the light is best, and think about what poses and outfits would match the mood of the place. Go beyond a basic V-sign in front of a historical monument.

Choose your equipment 

With current technology, phone photography is starting to compete with some digital cameras, and of course, you always have your phone on you. However, when you want to play with depth of field, even a phone equipped with extra lenses can't compete with a camera. You don't have to go big or super-expensive; look for a small mirrorless camera with changeable lenses. A 16 by 50mm camera is perfect for capturing a wide range of subjects, from architecture and landscape to portraiture and still-life. Most current digital camera models allow you to transfer the photos directly to your phone. 

Mix it up

You might have a favorite Instagram filter, but if you want to upgrade the level of your phone-photo editing and experiment with a better variety of presets and filters, go ahead and download these apps: VSCO, Darkroom, Photoshop Express. Try all three to figure out which one suits you best. 

See the big picture 

Pay attention to the background of the shot. Have you ever had your photo ruined by someone walking into the frame without you noticing? Ideally, nothing in the background should distract from your foreground subject. When taking group photos or environmental portraits, make sure that nothing in the background appears to be sprouting from your subject’s head or shoulders.

Don't look, just snap 

Once you have figured how to compose your shots, you don't even have to look at the screen. This trick is especially convenient for street photography. If you see an interesting scene but feel awkward photographing strangers, don’t make eye contact but pretend you are shooting something else, while pointing your lens at the subject you are really interested in. When shooting horizontally, the volume buttons on the side of your phone can be used to take a photo conveniently. 

Have fun photographing 

You are lucky to spend an entire semester in Europe. This is an excellent opportunity to teach yourself to pay attention to details. Start snapping street art, found objects, unusual windows or doors, broken items – the options are endless. Or pick a color – purple for example – and start taking pictures of everything purple that you see for the next few months (or until you get bored of it). 

Be creative

A good photo doesn't have to be entirely in focus, or properly composed, as long as it has other good qualities like a mesmerizing combination of colors or raw, powerful emotion.  Puddle reflections, silhouettes against the light, and steamy windows can bring an artistic touch to your portraits and street scenes. 

Alternative portrait 

During your Study Abroad semester, you will make a lot of new friends. Of course, you are going to have a lot of group photos together, but non-staged images can be a lot more memorable and personal. You can take meaningful portraits of your college friends even without them in the frame. Are there any particular items that they wear all the time? Or do they have a specific habit? A shot of someone's glasses, a smudge of lipstick on a cup of coffee or a pile of clothes on the bed can be very evocative. Use your imagination to figure out the way in which details can say something about an individual. 

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