Travel photography is a widely popular photography style these days. There are many young amateur photographers, admirers of nature, those with a sense of adventure and an urge to explore the yet hidden and beautiful places in this vast world. Some go on to take it up as their full-time profession. We have gathered some of our personal favorite travel photography tips that are going to help you in making memories on your next trip.
Whether you want to become a professional travel photographer or just want to take your photography skills to the next level, here are some great tips and tricks to help you. Read on and you will soon take amazing photos while pursuing your passion by traveling the world.
Estimated reading time: 9 minutes
Please note that this post may contain associate links to various products or services. If you use one of these links to make a purchase I get a small fee from them, at no additional cost to you
Prepare Well Before Heading Out
The day before the trip, make sure that your equipment is charged and is in the perfect state. You don’t want to deal with low battery right before you are about to take a mesmerizing shot, do you? That is why it is imperative that all your devices are charged and you have the charger with you as well. Your cameras, smartphones, etc. should be properly packed and charged.
Don’t forget to keep an extra set of batteries with you. Your gear should be properly packed and make sure to organize and keep your device’s accessories such as wires, chargers, cables, etc. with you before you leave the house.
You might need some additional camera gear for your trip. Maybe a telephoto lens, travel tripod or other accessories. I highly recommend KEH Camera for these types of photo gear purchases! Where KEH really shines is that they both buy and sell preowned cameras, lenses and other gear. That means excellent value and pricing! All of their preowned gear is inspected, graded and comes with a 180 warranty. Plus free shipping on all orders over $49. Shop Newly Arrived Items at KEH today!
Research and plan your trip
Another effective way through which you can make your trip unforgettable is, by properly researching your trip destination. Know about the important places, market places, recreational spots, cultural hubs, and important landmarks and monuments. Make sure to visit each one of these and take photos. If there is some important information engraved on a monument, make sure to capture it.
Before you leave for the trip, take some time to do some research online. Virtually explore and take notes of the popular places in that specific area. While traveling, make sure to explore the famous locations of that place and take pictures.
Be an Early Riser, and a Night Owl
Early rising is not just good for your health it’s also beneficial for taking some masterpiece photographs. Getting up in the morning also ensures that you have fewer visitors and tourists to contend with. Do you want a historic site in an epic postcard? Need to get there first when it starts and you will have your spot. The only chance to catch decent light is just not Sunrise. There are fantastic sunsets too. This is one of the most effective and easiest travel photography tips.
The minute after sunrise as well as the hour prior to dusk, the gentle, warming sounds and eye-pleasing shades are called “Golden Hour”. The “Blue hour,” is the one hour after sunset just before sunrise where the fluorescent lighting remains blue. Utilize the natural light as much as you can. Natural light brings far more amazing and creative results as compared to artificial lights.
Check out this post: Go for the gold using the Golden Hour
Photos Let Us Walk Down Memory Lane
Photographs work as a way for us to go back in time days and revisit places through our memories. If you have taken good pictures at meaningful or famous places in a city, you are bound to feel nostalgic. Learn the specific travel guides regarding the destination. Look on the internet for blogs and postings to hopefully bring you inspiration for pictures.
Speak to friends who were there if possible, to get further insight into what pictures catch a place’s spirit. Instagram, Pinterest, and Image Search are among my favorite resources for travel photography tips. I will use them to learn about the amazing and famous places.
The Eiffel Tower taken from the Palais de Chaillot esplanade in the late afternoon
Travel Photography Tips (continued)
Interact with The Locals
While traveling to a foreign land, it is going to be a great way to be able to take charming and memorable photographs. For some tourists, taking pictures of local residents abroad is challenging. Especially if you do not understand them. What if they’re not comfortable with taking the pictures and want to say no? Are they going to get insulted? It may take some time for you to be able to obtain relaxed portraits of local people, and even then, you might feel a little anxious.
The trick is first to speak with people, say hi to them. Request guidance and carry out a decent conversation with them. Purchase a souvenir or memento from the locals, try to befriend them nicely. Say things to compliment them. Chat a couple of minutes before requesting them for a picture. This way, it is much less invasive. Also, ask for approval for close-ups. Before your trip you may want to learn a little of the local language. I suggest learning to say “May I take a picture” or “Can I capture your photo” and “Thank you”. The efforts will be very much appreciated.
Explore the Unexplored
Okay, so you’ve visited all the famous photographic sites and taken your own postcard-style pictures of a destination. What now? It’s time to get off the beaten path. It is time to wander around and explore. You have to wander further if you want to get pictures that no one else has. The right approach is on foot when and where possible.
Take a business pass from your hotel if available, so that, if necessary, you can catch a cab, and then just go in. Carry your camera to these unfamiliar locations and look around for photo opportunities. Check with the local people to ensure that you do not go anywhere dangerous.
Stroll down backstreets, to the top of a hill, and all around the next corner. In many areas, locals prefer to avoid tourist sites. So, if you want to grasp the full essence of a place and its inhabitants, you’ll have to get away from the crowd and go wandering on your own.
Check out this post: Photography and the magic of exploration
Travel Photography things to Avoid
Avoid turning every shot into a selfie moment. Yes, there is room for a few such as you, pointing at the Eiffel Tower. But mostly travel photography is about you re-seeing the same scenes you saw. And from the same point of view, i.e., you behind the camera.
Eschew random landscapes devoid of landmarks. This type of photo could have been taken anywhere and it doesn’t necessarily provide a look back at a certain locale. If you take a landscape photo, make sure it shows something that’s special to the locale.
Avoid taking photos at the wrong time of day. If a location has a highly photogenic west-side, don’t shoot it early in the morning. The sun will be shining directly toward you casting the west-side in shadows. My rule of thumb is, take morning photos facing west, and afternoon photos facing east.
Following the crowd. Many travelers instinctively follow the crowd of tourists. They must know where they are going right? You might miss some wonderful, amazing stuff if you engage in this behavior too much.
Follow the Rule of Thirds
Acknowledging the Rule of Thirds, among the simplest and classic photography tips, can allow you to create visually balanced layouts. Consider dividing a picture into thirds vertically and horizontally to create separate parts. The aim is to put crucial components of the picture into those parts and position the entire picture in a creative manner. For example, instead of placing an individual directly in the middle, place them along the left grid line. Alternatively, rather than dividing the picture in half, hold the horizon throughout the lower third.
Continue to have your horizon aligned as well! Having enabled your camera’s “grid” mode, which shows a rule of thirds grid directly on your LCD screen, makes it simple to compose using the Rule of Thirds. Before you write a travel photograph, you can ask yourself, “So what were the main areas of interest in this picture?” Where do I put them on the grid on purpose? Paying enough attention to this will enhance the appearance of your photographs.
Check out this post: Photography Composition – Focus on point of view
Keep on Polishing Your Photography Skills
Join in some photography courses online. Invest in a course on travel photography. Go out to train on a daily basis. This is how you improve, not by having the new gear or by using trendy Instagram filters. Even though I’ve been doing photography for 15 years, there’s still something fresh to discover. It happens all the time.
To develop my photography skills, I frequently invest time in practice and experimenting. You can as well. Do you believe you know everything there is to know about landscapes? Then go out and try your hand at taking pictures of strangers. To get a sense of how challenging wildlife photography is, stalk animals like a hunter. Stay up late playing with long-exposure Milky Way images.
Learn to Caption Your Photos
Captioning your photos is more important than you think. These not only help you remember the particular way you were feeling during the time a specific photo was captured. If you are a fan of posting your photos online on social platforms such as Facebook or even Instagram, make sure to date your photo in the caption and write a heartfelt caption.
Another great way to preserve your travel photos would be to save your photos in an album or photo book. Writing the date and a caption that links to the picture to your memory. Some may think of this as old fashioned, but having a photo book on your coffee table can be a great conversation piece.
A Final Word
Photography is the art of preserving memories through pictures. Going on a trip and taking photographs work hand in hand. Taking a photograph is not a complicated task, but with the right strategies, you can polish your skills and take mesmerizing photographs. And create memories that will last forever.
Get a copy of my new log book, available exclusively on Amazon.
—> Link to book page <—
Photography log book to record essential settings and conditions of your photography sessions. This photography log book will help you to improve your skills and help track what settings created better photos. Use as a reference on future sessions. How the log book is organized: Date, Time, Weather Conditions, Lenses / Filter Name, Equipment Checklist (Camera, Batteries, Lenses, Memory Card(s), Tripod, etc..), Settings Tracker: Location, Iso, Shutter, F-Stop, File Series. Locale info, Additional Notes. Size 6 x 9 will fit in most camera bags – 120 Pages. Very helpful for photographers, and makes an inexpensive gift idea for any photographer!
Loyd is a professional photographer living and working in Portland, Oregon. Loyd has been doing all types of photography for over 14 years, but he is focused on fine art landscape photography. Loyd’s work has been on book covers, CD covers, on TV, in online galleries and on the walls of homes. You can see his online photo storefront at loydtowe.com If you are interested in crypto art, you can also see his collection of photography NFT (non fungible tokens) at: https://opensea.io/collection/loyd-towe-photography