Taking photos while travelling to new places is one of the best experiences a photographer can get.
Trips in general offer us different perspectives about life, so imagine what they do once we add a camera into the equation.
There are a million things we can shoot while traveling, but I would say that shooting scenarios we don’t see in our usual location is the main aim of travel photography.
Though it seems easy at first, it’s not really as simple once we get there.
There are several factors to consider: will the camera get dirty? Will it get hit? Will I be able to take pictures wherever I go? What kind of pictures should I take?
Here are 7 tips for travel photography that will help you get the most out of your trip.
1.Prepare your equipment.
In order to make the most of travel photography, you have to think about the equipment you’ll need.
If you are traveling to a hotel, then probably weight is not a huge concern. However, if you are going on an adventurous trip, then you may want to consider taking a lighter load.
What should you include in your backpack?
- Tripod. Tripods can be a hassle to take with you, especially while going to rural areas. However, there are some light tripods you can buy. If you are preparing to hold the camera every time, you can at least improvise some stability in the place if needed.
- Batteries. This is a must. Batteries run out quickly, especially when they are old. Have at least two batteries well charged. If you’re going to rural places, woods, jungle, etc. you might not find a socket nearby!
- Light lenses. Traveling with plenty of equipment is tiring. If you think you will have to walk or climb, then you will definitely need to travel without much too much equipment. If you can’t take two lenses with you, at least try to take a light zoom lens. You’ll have more focal distance to select from.
- Laptop. A laptop will be good to save your pictures and to clean the memory card once in a while.
2.Plan your trip.
Staying in the hotel won’t exactly be positive for your travel photography.
Going out to places that reflect the culture or the beauty of a country is the main thing you will need to do.
For this, you will have to plan your trip. If you are traveling alone, make sure you research properly before you travel to the place.
If you are traveling with other photographers or if you know someone from the city you will be visiting, then ask the person to tell you about the most iconic places.
This will help you enrich your portfolio.
3. Not everything is nice.
Most people prefer traveling to scenic and fun places. They want to see the best of the city they are going to, which is understandable.
However, beyond photographing iconic places, wouldn’t you agree bad things should be photographed as well?
Unless we are doing publicity for a location, we can’t just take a picture of the best building or the nicest beach.
People and their costumes are important as well: both good and bad situations can be great to capture on camera.
Take a shot of the kids, of what people do, of what they don’t do…Whatever catches your eye.
Try to respect people’s wishes, though.
If you are going to a very cultural or religious place, be sure to know beforehand what is permitted and what’s not. And always be discreet while taking your shots.
4.Take the camera everywhere.
Even if you are not so sure about being able to take pictures, carry your camera with you. You never know when the perfect moment can strike, especially if you are going to a place you don’t know.
If you don’t want to, or can’t, take all your equipment, that’s alright. Simply take the camera plus a lens and everything else you can improvise.
Be sure to have a full battery and plenty of room left on the memory card before you leave the hotel.
5.Clean your camera after every session.
Some places are too dusty, too windy or too salty.
In these cases, you need to keep your equipment clean in order to avoid damaging your camera. And I am not just talking about a superficial wiping: sometimes your camera may even require a deep cleaning.
For this, you could also take a special kit on your trip and of course, you must learn how to clean your camera properly.
This tutorial shows how to properly clean your camera’s sensor and mirror:
6.Get creative perspectives.
The reason why researching about iconic places (and not so iconic ones) is so important, is because you can take advantage of this situation to click some creative pictures.
We have all seen a thousand pictures of the Taj Mahal in the same frontal perspective. What if you could change that?
Instead of shooting the Taj Mahal or the Tower of Pisa just like everyone else, take another type of shot: change angles, avoid or include people (depending on the case), get closer or get further and so on.
Try to do different things. Don’t take the same cheesy pictures as everyone else!
7.Talk to people.
Before going to a place, why don’t you try learning the common tongue – at least the most important phrases?
Connecting with people is the best way to get to know a country. You can learn so much just from small talk.
Besides doing it for your own entertainment, you may also figure out some things that might help with your travel photography.
For instance, by talking with a local you can learn the location of an interesting place in the city.
You can learn things for your own benefit too – like where the best restaurant is!
This will help you to find locations off the beaten track, which will make your photos more unique.
Connecting with the place you are in is essential to absorb the real essence in your shots. Don’t settle with going to the most famous places in town!
So, that’s 7 travel photography tips for amateur photographers. Where will you visit next?
Trentino Alto Adige, Italy / © Giuseppe Milo (flickr CC)