10 simple tips for Travel Photography

Thinking about going on a trip or vacation? These tips will help you take great photos and will ensure you are prepared in every way.

  1. Know you camera!

    It doesn’t matter if you have a DSLR or an iPhone. The best way to ensure you get the photos you want is by knowing your equipment and how it works. I recommend you get an entry level to mid range DSLR, if you are starting off. Here are some options for beginners. I started off with the Canon 80D, it is an excellent camera for beginners.

Why is it so important to know you camera?

When you are traveling to a place you are not familiar with, things can change very fast. If you like something you see, it is important to set the camera to the correct setting as fast as possible. So you walk away with that perfect picture.

2. Beat the crowd & stay out late

If there is one thing I hate about traveling, it’s the horde of people at every famous photo location. My solution to this is very simple, wake up early.

 Photog by   Daniele D'Andreti
Photog by Daniele D’Andreti

Waking up early has its own benefits. There are fewer people out on the streets, fewer tourist and even fewer photographers. You get to experience the city for what it truly is. With less photographers out, you are bound to get that unique sunrise shot that many won’t have in their portfolio.

Along with waking up early, staying out late until the streets are empty will give your shots an unique perspective.

3. Do your research

Before hopping on any flight to a destination, I always do my research. Whether it is the best place to eat in Vancouver or it is how to beat the crowd at the Horse shoe bend. Doing your research will help you prepare for your shots in advanced. How crowded is Stanley park in July? What time does the Taj Mahal open? All of these questions can make your travels so much easier. Instagram or Google are both great tools to help you prepare your shot list.

4. Buy the correct lens

My go to lens is a 16-35mm F/2.8, it is wide and fast, it allows me to capture more of the scene. The second lens I take with me is the 70-200mm F/2.8, this allows me to capture a scene from far way without being in someone’s face. By having these two lenses in your bag, you make sure to cover most of the focal range.

5. Back up your files

There is not a worse feeling than realizing that all your hard work and pictures got wiped out from your computer. These things happen often, but individuals do not realize it until it happens to them. It is important to back up your files as soon as you get back to you hotel. I always carry two Western Digital Hard Drives with me at all times. I can sleep peacefully at night knowing that everything is backed up not only once but twice.

6. Photograph the locals

This is probably one of the most important aspects of travel photography. Taking pictures of the locals is a crucial part of traveling. This allows the viewer to dive into the culture, location and the setting of the place. Before you start snapping away, get to know the locals on a personal level. The locals are aware of the area more than tourist. They will be able to give more insight on the best places to eat and sightsee many tourist may not be aware about. This will create a bond with them that will allow them to feel more comfortable when photographing them. It will also make you feel comfortable when taking pictures of the locals.

7. Editing Software

There are a lot of mobile apps that allow you to polish up your photos but nothing gives you more flexibility and room than Adobe Lightroom. The photography plan gives you 20GB of storage, Adobe Lightroom Classic CC and Adobe Photoshop only for $9.99/month. This is the best plan for photographers. It also allows you to sync your edited photos directly to your phone through the Lightroom Classic mobile app.

8. Always shoot RAW

There are two modes in every camera that photos are captured in, RAW & JPEG. When shooting in RAW you get the most flexibility and details from the scene. It also helps you are get the highest quality possible from the scene. Most of the images in Raw are uncompressed an allow you to work more with details in post processing.

Shooting in RAW also ensures that you get better dynamic range, just a fancy word for capturing both the highlights and the dark parts of the scene.

Just remember if you do decided to shoot in JPEG, the images will be compressed and will lose quality. The camera takes the RAW file and compresses to JPEG in camera. You don’t want the camera doing that, unless you are purposely trying to save space on the memory card.

9. Explore your creativity

Chances are that wherever you are going that place has already been photographed a million times. Change things up by trying a different angle, most people shoot from eye level. So don’t be afraid to get low to the ground or climbing stairs to get a different perspective. If you are shooting landscape try adding people to the photo, this adds scale, creates depth and interest in your photos.

10. Put down the camera

This is probably the most important tip I can think of. It is likely that you are not being paid thousands of dollars to photograph a city or landscape. If you are kudos to you, but it is likely that you are there to enjoy and experience the beautiful place you are in. You want to immerse in the culture, the city, and the way of life. So put that camera down and relax for a bit, let the experience come to you and make you lifetime of memories.

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