Savvy Tips for Travel Photographers
If your New Year’s resolutions include some travel, here are some savvy tips for the intrepid traveling photographer. There is no better way of capturing your life than through your travel photos!
Before you arrive anywhere on your travels, you should do some research about the location. Pick a few first spots you think would be perfect to capture but be open-minded. Let the sites, sounds, culture, and beauty of the location be your photography guide. Before you go, review online travel forums related to the destination, talk to others, and, most of all, be certain not to miss any important sites. Imagine going to Paris and missing the Eiffel Tower! As you think of places you might want to photograph, think about lighting and equipment. That leads us to our next tip.
Plan ahead for what you might need! It’s always good to be prepared because you might find it tough to purchase new equipment abroad. Carry at least one camera if not two! Imagine tripping on some stones at the site of ancient ruins and breaking your camera. Now, what? A backup camera isn’t a bad idea if you can bring one along. Once you’ve decided on the equipment, think about what you want to take with you and haul to where you are going. Could theft be a concern? Do you need to carry your equipment discreetly? There are some great backpacks or bags indistinguishable as camera bags.
Whatever equipment you decide to pack should include a tripod! There are some great portable and lightweight tripods available. They’ll come in handy sooner or later. It will be so much easier to shoot on manual because you can set your camera on the tripod while you take your time adjusting your settings. Those early evening shots we mentioned will be much easier - and better - with that tripod. You’ll be able to shoot at slower speeds for lower light conditions! Use smaller aperture settings and keep your ISO lower to keep more of your image in focus.
Lastly, make sure you have enough digital storage. Bring extra memory cards!
TIMING IS EVERYTHING:
Be prepared to shoot under a multitude of lighting conditions!Some of the best photos are taken very early in the morning before the hordes of tourist flood the streets and sites. That early morning light casts its soft glow unlike any other time of day. Early evening, on the other hand, creates a dramatic landscape with its dark shadows and fading light.
Whenever you can, shoot in manual mode. If you’re a novice photographer, practice (a lot) before you go! Your best pictures can be as a result of manual mode because you can make adjustments and compensate for conditions out of your control like lighting. Shutter speed will let you stop motion like a child chasing that ball in a field. ISO will help with lighting conditions.
ENGAGE WITH LOCAL PHOTOGRAPHERS:
Before you leave home, research some local photography clubs and contact them in advance! They might have someone interesting in acting as a photography guide. It can be an excellent way to get to know the area. For unique pictures, try some lesser known sites recommended by local photographers. The crowds are usually smaller at these sites, but the beauty could rival more famous locations. You’ll also have the opportunity to engage with local photographers, make new friends, and learn about the culture from a fellow photographer!
While you’re out shooting, don’t hesitate to engage with the locals even if you don’t speak the local language. You can hire an interpreter or just wing it while you communicate with big smiles and hand signals!
THINK OUT OF THE BOX:
Think out of the box for your travel photo composition. Travel photography provides some of the best opportunities for experimenting with angles and composition. Don’t be intimidated to shoot from various angles and distances to your subject! If you’re only shooting a subject straight on, you’re not thinking out of the box! Also, don’t forget the people. Just shooting inanimate objects might initially seem like the reason you’re there taking pictures (the Pyramids of Giza, for example), but when you return home, some of the most compelling shots will likely include people. The faces, lives, and even clothes of the locals can capture the trip with a degree of poignancy and humanity that buildings and sites can’t. Most of us relate more to other humans rather than a giant boulder or mountain. We can see ourselves in others and relate to them and their lives in ways we can’t do with tourist sites. Remember than when you travel!
BACKUP PHOTOS WHILE TRAVELING:
We suggest backing up your photos while you’re still traveling! If at all possible, back them up online. You wouldn’t be the first photographer to have their laptop or camera bag stolen along with memory cards. In a split second, your pictures are gone. Back them up as you’re traveling using your hotel’s WiFi either on your computer or theirs.
PHOTOGRAPHY & PATIENCE:
Ask the family of any photographer what it’s like to travel with them, and they’re likely to groan because it does tend to slow things down. To get those truly fantastic travel pictures, you will need to stop and take your time while traveling. Patience matters when you’re traveling and taking quality pictures.
THE MOST IMPORTANT TIP FOR TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPH?
2. Take a lot of pictures! You may never return to that place so take it home with you via your stunning portraits!
3. Good photography books will help you become a better photographer!