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Travel photography is an amazing hobby – photographing the world and creating beautiful artwork. Whilst traveling there are several tips to consider to ensure you can take stunning photos.
First, take a little time to research the destinations and transport beforehand – you can then know the best spots, and travel within the location efficiently.
Secondly, take spare equipment to avoid being caught short.
Thirdly, when creating compositions, try to experiment with different compositions, angles, and unique shots. Whilst taking generic shots is OK, to truly shine, look for shots not commonly taken.
Interact with the locals and use them to give your photos context and life – always ask permission first!
Finally, remember that light transforms your photos – play with different time periods such as sunset, sunrise, and the golden hour. Follow these tips and take your travel photography to the next level!
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Travel and photography are two complementary hobbies. If you are lucky enough to travel the world, why not take gorgeous photos too so that you can share your memories with others? Our world is an immense, diverse place – from the jungles of South America to the wilderness of Antarctica, and the historical cities of Europe. The photographic opportunities are endless.
There is a handful of useful tips and tricks you can utilize to help boost your photography to the next level. Read on to find the top travel photography tips including composition, planning, and gear.
1. Research the destination and potential photos beforehand
Understanding the main sites and attractions of the location you are visiting helps greatly. A little pre-planning goes a long way. You shouldn’t plan the whole trip from start to finish; part of traveling is straying from the beaten path and finding hidden treasures. It does pay to have a firm understanding of what you can expect from a destination, however. This helps stimulate your creativity – you can start to visualize the different photo opportunities, and plan what you want to do with your time.
2. Create a list of must-shoot photo ops
Travel is about freedom and exploring the unknown. That doesn’t mean you can’t be prepared. It is a good idea to create a shortlist of photos you don’t want to miss taking. Let’s say, for example, you were taking a city break in Florence. A list could contain items such as The Ponte Vecchio, Florence Cathedral, the Palazzo Vecchio, and the Arno River. Creating such a list helps provide structure – it can also help plan your time effectively.
3. Understand public transport options
To make your travels and photography easier, it pays to understand public transport. Different cities and destinations have different transport options – bus, tram, train, underground, for example. Knowing where the major transport hubs are can help you move through a location effectively. Moreover, it ensures that you make the best use of your time if you are on a tight schedule.
4. Take spare gear for travel photography
There is no worse feeling than being caught short without camera equipment. When traveling, you have to find a balance between convenience, and having sufficient equipment. You don’t want to carry a whole trailer of equipment. But on the other hand, you want enough gear to take the photos you want. As a minimum, I advise taking a spare memory card and several spare batteries. Also consider a portable tripod such as a Gorilla Pod, and a lens cleaning cloth.
5. Look for unique compositions and angles
If you search Google Images, how many photos can you find of the leaning tower of Pisa? Thousands! Most of them are taken from the exact same position. It is therefore important to look for unique shots. Instead of taking a generic front-facing shot of the tower, why not zoom in on some of the architectural detail? Be creative and experiment with different angles, positions, and compositional styles.
6. Don’t stay static – move around
To create effective travel photos, you must move! Instead of standing in one position, and taking 10 photos by rotating your body and arms, move into 10 different positions. Climb up high to take aerial photos. Get down on the floor to take imposing angled shots.
Don’t be afraid to move – as a traveler this should come naturally – use your inquisitive nature to improve your compositions.
7. Take photos during different time periods
Light has a big impact on the quality and composition of your travel photography. Different weather conditions, sunlight, and shadows all help to add depth, or completely transform a landscape. Consider embarking on photographic adventures during different times of the day. For example, sunset, sunrise, and the golden hour all provide beautiful light conditions. Moreover, night-time photography provides additional opportunities.
8. Don’t be afraid to approach the locals
Part of traveling is exploring different cultures and watching how the locals live. To improve your travel shots, show the culture by photographing local people going about their daily lives. This gives your photos focal points and helps you create a story. When taking photos of people during your travels, always ask permission, or gauge the situation beforehand. Some people love having their photos taken; others may take offense or even be scared. Use your common sense and be respectful at all times.
Set the primary purpose of your trip
To take effective photos, and to have fun, you must look at the primary purpose of your travels. Are you visiting this place specifically to take photos? Do you require photos for business purposes such as a travel blog? Or are you simply having fun and want some cool pics? Define the purpose of your trip; this will ensure you get the photos that you want, but you also get the most out of your adventures.
Create a gear list
Imagine you have found a hidden gem within the city of Rome – you get your camera out, only to find that the battery has drained and you don’t have a spare! Creating a gear list ensures this doesn’t happen. List the essentials such as batteries, SD cards, lenses, and a tripod.
Create a list of compositions
I touched on this above, create a list of each photo you really want to take – whilst traveling, you can refer back to this list to make sure you make the most of your time.
About the Author
Paul specializes in travel and photography. His passion for travel spans back to his childhood and has been a life-long obsession. He has seen much of the world including cold climate destinations like Antarctica, Greenland, Svalbard, and Iceland. This combined with a thirst for knowledge, and a love of literature, has allowed him to craft a successful career as a writer. Through his writing, he loves to empower readers to see the world just as he has.
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