Travel photography is an art form that we can learn. No one is born a photographer – it takes skill and dedication. As you travel, you will develop your photography skills and be able to capture our world in magnificent detail.
If you feel your travel photography is lacking then we can help. Alternatively, if you simply want to make your travels easier, this article will prove beneficial. We have gathered 10 fantastic travel photography hacks that will help take your work to a whole new level – enjoy!
1. Create a “must shoot” list
Whilst it is perfectly reasonable to simply travel to a new destination and shoot whatever you find, there is no harm in being prepared. Consider creating a “must shoot” list – a list of things you want to photograph. This will improve your efficiency, and ensure you don’t miss out on any spectacular shots.
Let’s say you are traveling to Rome for example. Your “must shoot” list could include; the three fountains in the Piazza Navona, the frescos on the ceiling of St. Peter’s Basilica, and the thousands of coins in the Trevi Fountain. The list doesn’t have to have hundreds of items – just a handful of must-take photos.
2. Take multiple shots for redundancy
Picture this scenario. You have just taken a breath-taking photo of a coastal sunset in the Caribbean. This is literally the best sunset photo you have ever taken! You take your camera back to your hotel room. You upload the photo to your laptop ready to edit it – disaster! The photo is out of focus and shot at the wrong resolution! The sunset has dissolved into nothingness and your trip ruined!
If only you would have taken more than one shot for redundancy – surely one of 5 shots, for example, would have been in focus! As you can see, taking multiple shots can truly make a difference – SD memory cards can store thousands of photos so you needn’t worry about space!
3. Experiment with different angles and heights
How would you usually hold your camera? At eye level in an upright standing position? This is how 99% of people take every single photo with their camera. News flash: this is not the only way to take photos! Move around – climb up high, crouch down on the floor. Use different angles and hold your camera in different positions. Break the mold and experiment! It is surprising how you can create a totally different composition, just by moving your body. Don’t copy what everyone else is doing – try and see the world from a different angle!
4. Stray from the most popular sites and locations
Have you looked on Google at photos of Pisa? Have you noticed how practically every single one depicts either the Leaning Tower or the Duomo? When traveling, don’t be a creature of a cliché! Veer off from the Leaning Tower and see what you can find down the backstreets. Stray away from the crowds of tourists and find new and exciting attractions to photograph.
The world truly is a huge place – it’s a shame that everyone seems to ignore this fact and flock to the tourist traps! Be unique and create some extraordinary compositions. To try this out, next time you head into your local town/city; just wander down an area you wouldn’t usually frequent and see what treasures you can find.
5. Don’t forget about your smartphone!
Travel photography does not have to involve a huge DSLR camera! Have you ever actually looked at the quality of smartphone cameras today? If you want to travel light, consider using your smartphone to take photos. Smartphone cameras such as the Samsung Galaxy S9 and iPhone X have a high resolution and advanced features. Did you know that you can even shoot in full RAW mode on some smartphones? Or that you can change settings such as aperture and exposure? Don’t overlook your smartphone!
6. Use a miniature tripod such as a Gorillapod
Let’s face it – it’s not practical to carry a huge full-size tripod during your travels. Imagine trying to carry a tripod in a hot country such as Thailand? That doesn’t mean you can’t carry a tripod at all though! There are many travel size tripods such as the well-known Gorillapod brand. These tripods are small and portable – perfect for taking on your travels! You could use a tripod such as a Gorillapod and simply store it in your travel bag – simple! This will allow you to take long exposures, or simply gain a little more stability.
7. Research locations beforehand
In a similar method to point 1, when traveling you can also research your destination. If you are armed with a “must shoot” list, and knowledge of the local area, you will be fully prepared. Consider researching public transport, opening times and seasonal events. Furthermore, consider researching local events such as markets and festivals. Finally, consider researching access routes or walking trails if you are exploring in the great outdoors. By arming yourself with local knowledge, you can make the most of your time and take some exceptional shots.
8. Make use of leading lines
Leading lines is one of the basic rules of photography. A leading line is a natural or man-made line which draws your eye in a certain direction. For example, a long highway that leads into the distance – the line of the road would draw your attention to a far-off point in the distance. You can find leading lines everywhere when traveling. Use these leading lines to your advantage to create interesting compositions. The below example shows how effective leading lines can be when used in travel photography:
9. Get creative with different periods of the day (sunset, sunrise etc.)
Photography is affected by lighting. Different periods of the day can create some truly astounding compositions. During your travels, consider using these time periods to your advantage. Sunset and sunrise are two obvious ones. What about the Golden Hour? Or maybe the Blue Hour? These are two more interesting time periods that create totally different effects and colors. Lighting and out natural weather patterns are your friend – use them wisely and creatively!
10. Interact with locals and incorporate them into your work
Local people give a destination character and emotion, then can help paint a picture and tell a story. Locals are interesting and a wealth of knowledge. When visiting a city or village, including the locals in your photographs. It is important that you always ask permission first, however. How would you react if you saw a stranger in the street taking your photo? Exercise common courtesy! Try to capture the locals going about their daily business and avoid staged shot – this adds an extra level of realism to your work.
There you have it – 10 awesome travel photography hacks. Next time you jet off to explore an exotic destination, why not try using some of these epic travel photography hacks? Whether you are trekking through the rainforests of Peru, walking the streets of New York, or camping in the Australian outback, these hacks can really make a difference!