Photography Tips for Travelers

 

Here’s a few tips based on years of travelling with cameras.

 

1. Take more than one camera.  Stuff happens.  Regardless of the type of camera you use, you always need a backup, even if it’s just a point-and-shoot camera.  At least one of your cameras should be digital.

 

2. Take your camera manuals.  It can be very frustrating trying to figure out how to use a new camera or a feature that you have never tried.

 

3. Take plenty of storage media.  You will take far more pictures than you plan on taking and you don’t want to run out of storage (digital cards or film).  Unless you plan to copy your photos to two other places, you should not plan on reusing your cards.

 

4. Take a tripod.  You won’t need it all the time but, when you need it you need it.  Sunrise, sunset, nighttime, indoors and anywhere that light is not strong enough for ‘fast’ exposures will benefit from a tripod.  Your goal should be ‘tack sharp’ photos and sometimes that takes a longer exposure than you can hold the camera still for.

 

5. Use image stabilized lenses.  Image stabilization helps a lot when you can’t use a tripod.  An image stabilized lens will reduce the blur associated with longer exposures.

 

6. Get up before sunrise.  Sunrise is one of my favorite times to shoot.  You get to capture lighting conditions that won’t happen at any other time of day and there are fewer people around to block a shot.

 

7. Plan your sunset shots.  Sunsets are another great time of day to shoot.  Who doesn’t like a colorful sunset?  Unless you’re content with a picture of the sky, you should think about where you want to be positioned before the sun starts setting so you can capture the right foreground for your photos.  Silhouettes make great photos too.  Don’t leave when the sun sets either.  Some of the best pictures are taken after the sun ‘sets’.

 

8. Include something to scale your photos.  Put a person or a recognized object in your photo so you can tell how big everything else is.  When you travel, you always see bigger and smaller things than you are use to but you can’t convey the difference unless you can compare it to something else.

 

9. Shoot from a different vantage point.  If you want your photos to stand out from the crowd, find a different spot to shoot from.  Often, all it takes is being higher or lower than eye level so get down on the ground or climb a tree.  Be creative.

 

10. Turn around.  Sometimes the shot is behind you.  So often we are focused on an event or a sight and forget to look around for other photo opportunities.  Maybe it’s the people watching us or the way the light is shinning behind us.

 

11. Look for reflections.  Including a reflection adds something unique to a picture.  Look for water or glass or any reflective surface and position yourself to include a reflection in your photo.

 

12. Make eye contact.  Focus on and capture the eyes for the most appealing photos of people or animals.  Better still, make direct eye contact and people are drawn in to the photo.   Just make sure you get permission to photograph people.

 

13. Move things if you can.  Sometimes you need to rearrange things to tell the story better.  We select the people we want in our shots.  Why not the surroundings?  Move distracting things out of the shot or add things that better show what you are trying to capture.

 

14. Make them laugh.  We are attracted by other people having a good time and when people laugh, we assume they are having a good time.  The picture is more appealing when people are laughing (assuming it is appropriate).