travel photography tips
Travel Photography Tips is like a time machine, freezing memories from a journey that you can look back on and enjoy for years. Plus it can help others find new inspiration.
1. Wake Up Early
The early bird gets the worm. Well, it’s also very true for travel photography. Light is the most important ingredient for great creates amazing images.
Waking up early also means you’ll have to deal with fewer tourists and other photographers. Want an epic postcard shot of a famous landmark like the Taj Mahal? Just get there early right when it opens and you’ll pretty. Sunrise isn’t the only time to catch good light. Sunsets are also great (check out these shots from Lofoten).
Whilst it would be fantastic to take all of your kit abroad practicalities such as baggage allowance and insurance costs could mean you are better of hiring equipment on arrival or opting for lesser items. You might be someone who enjoys all five types, or you might specialize in one or two. Either way, these travel photography tips will set you well on your way towards getting fantastic shots.
2. Don’t Stop Learning
Think you know everything about landscapes? Then go out and challenge yourself shooting portraits of strangers. Stalk animals like a hunter for a taste of how difficult wildlife photography is. Stay up late experimenting with long-exposures of the Milky Way.
3. Location Scouting
Which time of day has the best light? How difficult is it to reach certain vantage points? What time does an attraction open, and when will tourist traffic be low? What will the weather be like? Saves time so you can fully commit to producing amazing travel photography once you’re there, and maximize your time.
4. Know your equipment
Know your equipment so that you can focus on relating to your subjects. Your confidence in yourself will instill confidence in them. For me, simplicity is the key to success. I never bring new gear on an assignment or a trip, it’s always tested at home first, and I bring backups on the real trip.
5. Meet the leaders
If you take the time to explain why you’re there and get the blessings of the leaders or elders in any community, it will keep you safer than wandering around aimlessly. As a woman, I also take time to meet the women leaders in a community, too.
One evening, after photographing angry protesters, a rogue group of young men decided that they wanted to use me as an example to show their anger towards US policy.
6. Backup Your Travel Photos
Travel photography backup workflow includes an external hard drive backup of RAW camera files, as well as online backup of select images and another online backup of final edited images.
Sometimes, for important projects, I’ll even mail a small hard drive loaded with images back to the United States if the internet is just too slow for online backup of large RAW files or video.
7. Have fun
Yes, getting the shot is important, but be thankful that you have the opportunity to even be where you are. Pinch yourself and enjoy the moment. It relaxes everyone, and the pictures and stories are better for it. There is a beautiful, universal truth everywhere and, if you peek under the veil, you’ll find a wondrous commonality between us. I hope that in your travels, you use your camera not just as an extension of your eye but also as an extension of your heart.
8. Always Bring a Camera with
There is a saying in photography that “the best camera is the one you have with you”. Be ready for anything, and always carry some kind of travel camera around, because luck plays a pretty key role in travel photography.
The difference between an amateur photographer and a pro is that the pro is planning in advance for this luck, ready to take advantage of these special serendipitous moments that will happen from time to time.
9. Research New
Flickr and Instagram (and your local library – for those of us who prefer analog research), and see what other photographers have captured. You can decide whether to emulate them (a great way to learn) or to carve your own path.
10. Patience Is Everything
Photography is about really seeing what’s in front of you. Not just with your eyes, but with your heart & mind too. This requires dedicated time and attention. Slow down and make a conscious effort at becoming aware of your surroundings before pressing the shutter.
Pay attention to details. Are the clouds in an eye-pleasing spot? If not, will they look better in 15 minutes? Sit at a photogenic street corner and wait for a photogenic subject to pass by. Then wait some more, because you might get an even better shot. Or not. But if you don’t have the patience to try, you might miss a fantastic photo opportunity!