With the holiday season just around the corner, there’s no better time than now to hone your photography skills so you can capture glorious travel photos worthy of a gallery wall – or at least taking pride of place in your living room!
But the variety of subjects and lighting conditions you’re greeted with abroad can be daunting to capture successfully, especially if you’re using your digital camera to juggle family time and digital camera time!
That’s why we’ve compiled no fewer than 33 tried-and-true travel photography tips to guide you through the best ways to photograph on the go – all from personal experience!
We’ll start with essential travel photography tips for planning and preparing for your trip. Then there are basic camera skills, from aperture choice to metering; clever photographic techniques, from composition (read our 10 rules of photo composition – and why they work) to the use of filters, plus creative techniques to master, from stunning silhouettes at sunset to picturesque panoramas.
There are also tons of quick photography tips to help you on vacation, including lenses to consider, how to take better portraits and what to photograph in the rain.
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Travel Photography Tips: Planning
Tip 1: Only pack what you need
Carry only the gear you need for your chosen location. For example, there is no point in taking mosquito repellent to a desert. With more weight restrictions on airlines, only pack the clothes you will be wearing – then take out half of them as you will survive without them! On one trip, I missed check-in time so I couldn’t check my bag, so I quickly stuffed my clothes into the sleeves of my coat and carried the rest on the plane.
Tip 2: Research the location
Find out as much as you can about your destination by reading handy travel guides like Lonely Planet or Rough Guides. The Internet is also invaluable, with many specialized websites providing detailed information on even the most remote locations. Read forums for other people’s first-hand experiences, particularly on how to access difficult areas for photography and what time of year is best.
Tip 3: batteries
Don’t forget battery chargers for your camera and cell phone – and a travel adapter.
Tip 4: laptops
A laptop is great for backing up images, staying in touch via Skype or email, and rudimentary image editing.
Tip 5: portable hard drive
A portable hard drive is essential to create a secondary backup in case the laptop is stolen.
Tip 6: fleece
A fleece-lined Gortex jacket with a zip is particularly practical – even in summer. It has plenty of pockets for survival essentials like a flashlight, waterproof pants and a Gerber multi-tool.
Tip 7: Smartphone apps
My Flight Logistics sunrise/sunset calculator tells me exactly where the sun rises and sets at any time of the year.
Tip 8: Get the right kit
There’s nothing worse than discovering you need that lens you left at home. Remember to take the necessary equipment for the destination you are traveling to.
Pack a small bag with a basic kit including: DSLR body; good light tripod; a wide-angle zoom, such as B. 10-24mm or 16-35mm; a medium-sized zoom such. B. 24-70mm; a telephoto zoom, such as B. 70-200mm; a cable release; polarizing filter; and possibly a couple of ND grade filters.
If you want to travel even lighter, a mirrorless camera like the Fujifilm X-T20 would be a good choice, along with a selection of compact prime lenses.
If space allows, include a 1.4x telephoto extender and a macro lens. When flying, always take your gear with you as hand luggage: if you are too heavy, put some lenses in your jacket pockets. They don’t weigh people – yet!
Tip 9: Book hotels with a great view
I always book hotels, B&Bs or villas because of the location or the view. Why make life difficult traveling to scenic viewpoints when you can shoot right from your window? I once booked a hotel in Barbuba called the Beach House just because of the view from the beach facing rooms.
What sold it to me was the hammock and all the essence of the place. Use TripAdvisor to get honest guest reviews of the hotels – they often even recommend the best rooms for the view.
Tip 10: the Internet
Here you’ll find everything you want to know about a holiday destination, and probably a lot you don’t want to know too!
Tip 11: Postcards
Local postcards point you in the direction of lesser-known places as well as iconic destinations.
Tip 12: Tourist information
Tourist information offices employ locals who have insider knowledge of the area.
Tip 13: Google Earth
Google Earth is great for figuring out how to get to places and discovering likely vantage points.
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