BEHIND THE SCENES: This was taken on the island of Santorini, Greece, which is famous for its whitewashed buildings and beautiful blue accent colors. There’s a distracting light post and a small fence in the bottom-right corner here, and there’s a telephone pole, wires, and some other distracting junk near the top left (both are circled below in red). I had my lens zoomed out a little, to 70mm, for this shot. I could have gone wider, but then there would’ve been other distracting things in the frame, like air conditioning units and messy looking chairs and other distracting junk.

CAMERA SETTINGS: This was taken with a 28–300mm f/3.5–5.6 lens at f/8. It was a bright, sunny day, so at 200 ISO, my shutter speed was 1/1600 of a second.

THOUGHT PROCESS: I think one of the best things you can do for your travel shots is to keep them “clean” and keep any distracting things in the frame to a minimum. That’s what I was trying to do here. You can see below that the ship has moved from the right side of the bell tower to the left side, but of course, the ship itself didn’t move—I did. I walked a few feet up and down the street overlooking this church trying to find a spot where I could frame the image without seeing the telephone pole and wires on the left and the black light post and fence on the right. I walked just far enough that it visually put the ship on the left side of the bell tower. This shot is literally taken just a few feet from where the first shot was taken, yet look at the difference in hiding the distracting elements. Personally, I liked it better with the ship on the right side of the bell tower, but sometimes you have to make a trade-off. In this case, the cleaner, less-cluttered shot won out.

POST-PROCESSING: You don’t need to do much to a bright, sunny, daylight shot like this. I just increased the Contrast amount a bit in Lightroom’s Develop module (or Camera Raw) and sharpened it. Note: I sharpen every photo, so if I didn’t mention it in one of the recipes here in the book, just know that every photo gets sharpened, normally using Photoshop’s Unsharp Mask filter. My favorite settings for travel photos? Amount: 120%, Radius: 1.0, Threshold: 3.

Excerpt from Scott’s The Digital Photography Book, Part 5: Photo RecipesFind it in print and eBook formats at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and wherever photography books are sold.