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This photograph was taken by Justin Black of Visionary Wild who leads photographic tours to remote destinations around the world. This photo was taken in Kyrgyzstan.

Taking pictures is savoring life intensely, every hundredth of a second.

Marc Riboud

Photographs are the single most important ingredient to inspiration. Great photos set our souls on fire; whether to fight against injustice or to explore the world. At TravelMyHeart, we’ve analyzed thousands of photographs, from bad to amazing, and we’ve found five simple ingredients of inspirational photos – for amateurs.

Composition

Machu-Pichu

Composition is the single most important feature of inspirational photos. Ask yourself three simple questions: What is your photo going to be of? What about it do you want to showcase? Where must you take the photograph from – so it will encompass both?

Composition should also encompass context and perspective. Giving a viewer more information about what surrounds the “subject” of the photo makes the photo more interesting and more useful.

AT Adventures International offers hiking trips on the iconic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. The gorgeous photo is the perfect example of composition. The photo provides a birds-eye view of the setting of Machu Picchu – atop and amidst inaccessible mountains. The photo also provides a clear picture of the entirety of the Machu Picchu complex and the viewer is able to immediately understand what it must have taken to build this Incan engineering marvel.

AT Adventures International has also done a marvelous job of providing context. In addition to a view of Machu Picchu, the photo encompasses the setting of Machu Picchu; its surrounding area – providing context.

USS Midway & Skyline

The photograph of the USS Midway Museum in San Diego also does a very nice job of orienting the viewer. The USS Midway Museum preserves the historic USS Midway, which served from 1945 until 1992, the longest-serving American aircraft carrier of the 20th century. It is the most-visited historic naval ship museum in the world.

Light

Alagnak-Lodge-Fishing-Under-Pink-Skies

Often times photos don’t accurately capture the light. This occurs most often when bright and sunny days appear overcast.The picture is at Alagnak Lodge, a fishing lodge on the Alagnak River in Alaska. The Alagnak River has long been renowned as one of the finest fresh water, sport fishing rivers in Alaska, and is home to strong runs of all five species of pacific salmon, unusual even for Alaska. The photo beautifully captures the last colors of the setting sun.

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The photo on the Ahansal River in Morocco beautifully captures the light you are likely to experience in the canyon. WaterbyNature offers guided kayaking and rafting expeditions on some of the greatest rivers on the planet.

Clarity

TravelMyHeart-Flagship-San-Diego-Cruises-Fine-Dining-Chicken

A clear photo encourages viewers to look at it more closely. In the photo of a dinner plate at Flagship Cruises & Events’ dinner and cocktail cruises in San Diego, the juiciness of the chicken and freshness of the vegetables clearly comes through.

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The photo of a colonial-era railway in Ella, Sri Lanka, is very clear. You can see the old Nine Arches Bridge and individual barks of palm trees. The railway tracks are also clear – giving the viewer a good picture of this old railroad. Sama Escapes in Sri Lanka offers tailor-made trips in Sri Lanka.

Depth

Wild Eye

This photograph by Wild Eye of the Great Migration in Kenya’s Masai Mara does a wonderful job of not only depth, but also composition and energy. You can peel the layers and see the foaming water and the wildebeest almost one of top of each other, in the river, land and in the distance. The detail and clarity will keep you looking at it over and over again. The photo is also a great example of energy. It exemplifies the thunderous energy of these animals as they make the same trip year after year. Wild Eye offers offer small photographic wildlife and interpretive nature safaris around the world.

Bhutan_mountains

The photograph of the Birds Nest Monastery in Bhutan from a tour offered by Magical Journeys Beyond also provides great depth. Take a look at the stairs that lead up to the monastery to the people gathered at the first building as they prepare to take a tour. This photograph is also a great example of composition, orienting the viewer to where she is going and the surrounding landscape.

Energy

antarctica_zodiac3

Energy is among my most favorite ingredients. It captures the beating heart of your subject. The photo by Cheesemans’ Ecology Safaris perfectly paints a picture of the quiet, yet busy energy of an Antarctic landing. The busyness of the landing as people get off the zodiac as well as the energy of the penguins blending in, is in contrast to the remote and grey energy of the surroundings.

Romania-1

The photo of a Romanian village taken on a photo expedition led by Photo Enrichment Adventures brings out the quiet energy of a pastoral and rustic village in rural Romania right before dawn.