There has never been a better time to travel with a camera. Modern sensors are absolutely amazing in a variety of lighting conditions and will get you fantastic photos.
However, here are some tips to help you get the most out of your next travel photo adventure!
1 - Planning and Scouting
It’s easy to see some cool spots from tourist guides and websites that show you some great locations, but have you looked at hidden gems that are not photographed as often? Why not use crowdsourcing to help you find these hidden spots?
A powerful way to do this is to look at social media. Pay attention to photographs you see from the location you are heading to that look unique and offer a different perspective and include them into your travel plans.
Flickr is also a great platform to do some scouting with. Flickr includes GPS coordinates for many of the photos on the site, so you can pinpoint the exact location the photographer used to get the shot, allowing you to plan ahead for some unique opportunities!
2 - Consider Taking Less
Mia with the wide-angle power of Sony’s 16-35mm lens.
The first inclination for photographers when traveling is to take all of your lenses and equipment.
Not only does a lot of equipment add weight to your baggage, you might find yourself wanting to photograph less if you have so many choices available.
To help with this, think about taking just one or two lenses. If you have a kit lens, you already have everything you need to get some great shots. If you have more than the kit lens, however, the choice might be more complicated!
A great suggestion is to review your previous photos and see what is your most used focal length or lens. This might give you a guiding light to follow since the best option for you on a travel trip is usually the lens you’re the most comfortable with.
One tip, however, is to consider bringing either a wide-angle or telephoto with you as your second lens. A telephoto gives you the ability to “get closer” to parts of the location you may not have access to, and allows you to fill the frame with interesting subjects.
Wide angle lenses are also fun to use since they give a unique view to the scene. Here is Mia with a 16mm lens. “Traveling is a great time time to get creative and try new things. A wide-angle lens allows you to let more information into the photo and create interesting compositions.”
This shot from Kansas City from Mia demonstrates the power of wide-angle lenses on a trip to big cities. - Mia Eddy
3 - Use the Right Bag and Camera Strap
Alan is a fan of bringing a bag of equipment to keep in the hotel room, and then packing for specific visits when on vacation. This small bag from ThinkTank allows the photographer to throw one camera and lens into a bag that’s always at the hip.
There’s a bag for every situation, and depending on what you want to pack with you, having the right bag can make a big difference.
Make sure to test the bag you want to take with you for whatever you are doing. If you will be hiking, your bag should be comfortable on your body with all the gear you want to take with you. Test it out before you leave to make sure it’s going suit your needs, which you can do here at Rockbrook Camera!
Also, don’t underestimate the power of a comfortable strap. Since there are many options available.
Finding the right strap is important. Finding a fashionable AND comfortable strap is pure magic.
4 - Pack Extra Batteries and Memory Cards.
We have heard of far too many photographers who find a dream location only to be disappointed because their camera ran out of power. Don’t let that be you!
Pack at least one or two extra batteries, and don’t forget to bring your charger.
According to Bill, a dedicated battery pouch can be a benefit when on a trip. “This way you’re not fishing around in your bag every time you need a battery.”
And memory cards are important to have extras as well. Just because you have the ability to put thousands of photographs on your memory doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be prepared. Memory cards can fail, and finding yourself out in the middle of your journey without an extra memory card is not something you want to do!
Organizational tip: bring small stickers with you that can tell you at a glance if the battery is charged or spent. Here we know that both batteries are out of juice!
5 - Plan for sunrise and sunset.
Waiting for the light was perfect here at Chimney Rock. As the sun went down, it cast some beautiful light into the sky, creating a dramatic and memorable moment that makes this photo stand out from others taken during the day.
If possible, plan to be at your best locations when the light is the most dramatic: the golden hour. The light is directional and warm, and will generally give you some unique possibilities.
If you study your favorite photographs of the locations you are traveling to, it’s likely a good percentage of them were taken during the golden hour!
6 - Walk around the Scene!
Just because all the tourists are in one location doesn’t mean you need to be there. For photographers wanting to work on getting unique and interesting compositions, sometimes the best shot won’t be the most obvious.
This shot was taken by our very own Aaron Frey.
“Having a telephoto for landscape photography is indispensable. I was able to create this from the parking lot after we had been out hiking all day as we were packing the car up to leave. With a wide angle lens, the mountains would have been small and the tops of cars and people would have been in the frame.” Shot with Sony A7R III and Tamron 28-200mm. - Aaron Frey
Learn more by taking a class with us at Rockbrook Camera! We offer fun and hands-on classes for all levels of photographers.