8 Travel Photography Tips
Your main goal as a travel photographer is to highlight what makes that location special and unique. Anyone looking at your images should be moved to action of investigating that location further, or adding that place to their must see list.
The eight tips below will help you capture outstanding photos.
1. Be one with your camera
Capturing that perfect image is challenging enough, but knowing your equipment, what settings to use, what the limitations are, and what other accessories you may need, will help you achieve the image you are trying to capture.
The type or brand of camera you use is not that important. A point and shoot camera, a DSLR, your phone, or a mirrorless camera can all capture acceptable images, if you are familiar with how to use that piece of equipment.
I personally don’t load myself down with a load of equipment that gets burdensome to lug around. A spare battery is always a good idea to carry with you. Determine before you are on site if you will be taking long exposures and might need a tripod to steady the camera. I use the Sony alpha6500 mirrorless camera. It’s smaller and lighter than a DSLR, and has all the same bells and whistles as the Nikons and Cannons.
You don’t require any specific training to get great images. Some guideline are:
• Know the basic settings, the shutter speed, changing the aperture (f stop) setting,
• Know the different camera modes, aperture priority, shutter speed, manual, and scenes
• Understand light and how to use ISO,
• Use composition rules like the Rule of Thirds, Leading Lines, Framing, Patterns, Repetition, and know when you can break the rules.
2. Do your homework and gather information about your destination before you get there
• Know the best, or worst time of the year or day to travel,
• What types of transportation is available,
• Where the main attractions are located,
• what special events are scheduled and shouldn’t be missed.
• What things or places should be avoided.
After your research is completed, make a list of your main must have targets, and a Plan B list in case those locations are not available or for inclement weather.
3. Look Beyond the Obvious
The major attractions may be your main goal, but don’t miss out on the out of the way, or unusual places. Doing so may cause you to fail to notice other photo-worthy subjects. Keep your eyes open, look beyond the obvious, keep you options open. Sometimes, objects near the main attraction are more interesting and photogenic.
4. Lighting – Daylight vs. Flash
Using a flash should be your last choice of lighting because it makes images unnatural and causes dark shadows. Try to use what natural light is available. If the available light is insufficient to get a good exposure, try adjusting your ISO setting to get the best exposure possible. My Sony alpha6500 has an ISO all the way up to 51,200 which should capture almost any image.
There are things you should do before pressing the shutter button. Some of these things are:
• Determine the main subject of the image.
• Look for distraction in the background.
• Determine a secondary focal point and will it overshadow and detract from the main subject.
• Be satisfied that everything in the frame is the way you want it to be.
6. Ask Before You shoot
There are times that you want to get local people in your shot to establish authenticity. Don’t shoot first and ask second. Always ask first. If they don’t understand you, use sign language like pointing at your camera, and then at them, with a big smile on your face while shaking you head up and down. If you get a positive reaction, shoot away. When you’re finished shooting, always, I repeat, always, do as your mother taught you, thank the person for their cooperation.
7. Shoot, Shoot and Shoot Some More
In the old days of film, you had a limited number of exposures to capture that image because film and processing were expensive. One of the great features of digital photography is each image taken costs the same, nothing. Work the shot from different angles, experiment, be creative, shoot, shoot, and shoot some more. It’s better to shoot more than less, because you probably won’t be able to go back and get that shot you missed. What if you don’t like some of what you shot? Don’t worry, be happy, that’s why the included a delete button.
8. How to Stifle Creative Photography, Go on a Group Tour
Group tours are great if you like being told where to go, when to go, what you will see, and how much time you will have to see it. You’ll be more concerned about not missing the bus then getting that great shot. A creative photographer doesn’t want to be on someone else’s schedule. So be free to achieve your goal of taking great images and not be concerned with keeping up with the crowd.