Every month, photographer Natalie Mayer casts her expert eye over the entries to the photo competition. It seemed logical to get her advice on how to take the perfect shot. if you still need help after this, it's probably fair to say you shouldn't give up the day job. You can see Natalie's work at nataliemayer.com
Indian Baba in Rishikesh. Photo: Natalie MayerWhat is the difference between a holiday snap and a travel photograph?
Everyone takes holiday snaps, but few people have the motivation and eye to work hard at becoming a travel photographer. Perhaps a good way to define a travel shot is to say that more people than just you should enjoy looking at it!How do you create an interesting travel shot - what should you look out for? What things will help make it good?
When you start out, it's a good idea to learn the basics by just trying to get 'flattering' photographs of the beautiful scenes in front of you, learn how to record the light at it's best. Eventually, you will need to progress from this. Start trying to capture unique perspectives - moments which only you saw and which would have disappeared in a fleeting moment if you hadn't captured them.What classic mistakes should you avoid?
It is a good idea to have a look at as many shots from the area that you are visiting, before you leave. That way, you will see what shots have been done again and again, and be able to more intuitively find your own unique perspective.And on that note - what cliches should you avoid?
Well, a sunset with nothing else in it is probably a cliche, and really quite boring.Do you need a brilliant camera? What do you use?
You don't need to spend a fortune, but a camera that takes a picture the moment you press the button, rather than a few milliseconds after will certainly help you out. Also, unless you are super serious and trying to get shots into magazines, it is definitely worth carrying as little kit as possible. The Canon G9, G10, G11's are fantastic for this. The size and practicality of a pocket camera, but good enough to produce publishable shots if you know what you are doing.What inspires you to take a photograph?
Light. Everything and anything can look so different and beautiful with a little bit of light on it.How did you get into photography? Which photographers do you admire and why? And why do you love photography?
Galen Rowell was a fantastic classic landscape photographer and his essays on the psychology of photography were a huge inspiration for me. Steve McCurry has also taken some of the most memorable documentary photographs of our time, and is well worth looking to for inspiration. As I spent a large bulk of my career photographing snowboarding and wintersports, I was also really taken with the work of Daniel Blom, Vincent Skoglund and Danny Zapalac.Any advice for newbies?
Find your own style by experimentation and by looking at the work of others. The more work you look at, the more you will be able to avoid visual cliches as you will have a better foundation in your mind for what has 'been done' time and time again, and what is a unique vision.Where is your favourite place for taking photos?
Iceland in summer is fantastic. They have less UV light in the atmosphere, which makes photographs wonderfully clear and crisp. They also have the midnight sun, so you can photograph at all times of day in some exceptional and fast changing light.Do you have one of your own travel shots which you like the best? If so, why?
In terms of a shot which I've done which I would solely label as a Travel Shot, I'm going to chose my shot of this Indian Baba in Rishikesh which you can see at the top of this page. He came over to chat to me on the street, and proceeded to sing me a song about how much he liked the English. This shot was taken while he was singing. I had a rather large camera on my at the time, and he thought it was a video camera, so he was really trying to get the song out to the best of his ability. It meant the he didn't get the self conscious feeling that can happen when someone is waiting for that 'click'. He was just singing away, perhaps wondering if he'd get to see himself on youtube sometime soon!
Find out more about the monthly photo competition here