Pro tips for travel photography

8 February 2018

Let 2018 be the year you step up your photography game when you travel! Here are a few tips for when you're capturing your best holiday moments, to make sure you make the most of the amazing locations you visit. 

1. Figure out what gear works for you and your trip

Under water pool photo in Kalamata, Greece. Photo credit: Jesper Stechmann on Unsplash

If you’re not sure how to use your new DSLR properly yet, is there much point in taking it with you and bringing several lenses and a tripod? Make sure you know how to use your gear before you go so you’re not wasting precious holiday time setting up and trying to make things work. Take the right gear for your destination - if you’re going to be in the water a lot, take a waterproof phone or camera; something like a GoPro is ideal for travel as they’re portable and durable.

2. Do your research for shots

Gosainkunda, Nepal. Photo credit: Sergey Pesterev on Unsplash

Doing some simple research on the area you’re visiting means you’ll be able to think about the shots you really want and try to fit them in to your schedule. Searching by location on Instagram is a great way to research a new place – there could be thousands of others who have done the leg work for you, and you can weed out the average spots. The same goes for travel blogs or even word of mouth; if you know someone who has been there before then that could save you some time. While you’re there you could also try finding your own spots to shoot, but a bit of research could go a long way if you have something specific in mind.

3. Try a unique perspective

Eiffel Tower, Paris. Photo credit: Chris Karidis on Unsplash

We’ve all seen the shots of people trying to take photos “holding up” the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the classic “hotdogs or legs” on a tropical beach or taking a phone call in a red London phone booth. Try walk away from the crowds and capture the famous subject from a different angle, or step off the beaten track and you never know what you could find. As mentioned above, Instagram or travel blogs can be great inspiration on what to do and what not to do.

4. The early bird gets the worm

Venice, Italy. Photo credit: Joshua Stannard via Unsplash

Sleeping in is one of the benefits of being on holiday, but by getting up early you’ll beat the crowds and make the most of the morning light. If you’re an early riser, try get out when the sun is rising to capture your location in the “Golden hour” – the lighting is warm and gentle shortly after sunrise, almost glowing. Golden hour does happen twice a day if you don’t manage to rise with the sun – right before sunset is also a good time to shoot but you’re more likely to be joined by a throng of other photo opportunists.

5. Get your editing sorted before you leave

Yosemite Valley, USA. Photo credit: Stephen Leonardi on Unsplash

If you want to be sharing your photos while you travel, get prepared while you’re still at home. If you’ll be using Adobe Lightroom think about the kind of look and feel you’re going for and set up some presets. This means you can edit the bulk of your photos really easily, and then tweak individuals where needed. Or if you’ll be using your phone while you’re on the go, research some photo editing apps like VCSO, Snapseed or Lightroom’s mobile app to find something that works for you.

6. Be prepared

Photo credit: Robb Leahy on Unsplash

You never know what could happen when you travel, so prepare for everything. Back up your photos as you go and take spare batteries and SD cards so you don’t end up in the perfect spot at the perfect moment and find you can’t actually take a photo. If you don’t want to take a physical hard drive, you can always just upload your photos to the cloud, but be prepared in terms of where you can access WiFi. Also be prepared to not always be able to get the perfect shot; you can’t predict the weather, the crowds or an equipment failure!

7. Remember to enjoy your trip of course!

Scala dei Turchi, Italy. Photo credit: Davide Ragusa on Unsplash

Don’t forget to stop and have fun too! Some of your best shots might be taken on a whim when you’re in a special moment, and those are the ones that will really stand out. Photos with a story behind them and memories attached can be more valuable than ones that took hours to set up with perfect composition and lighting.

Amber Holyoake

Whether its exploring new areas in her hometown of Auckland, or venturing to the other side of the globe, Amber loves adventures and has the world on her bucketlist. With an established travel blog, and a full-time role in the travel industry, she knows her way around a map!