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15 Tips for Better Travel Photography

Travel is extremely fulfilling, but being able to express the emotion of your travels through travel pictures can be difficult. While it gets a bit easier as you do more travelling, here are 15 travel photography tips to get you started on the right foot.
travel photography photo of a green door and plants

1. Research

The internet is your friend when it comes to doing research before travels! Once you’ve gotten a grasp on the information online, use social media to ask your friends for recommendations.
Someone in your circle of friends may have traveled to your destination and found a quaint spot off the beaten path.
Finally, look for other photographers’ images of your destination. Often, seeing what others have captured will provide you with inspiration for different compositions, perspectives, or areas to visit.

2. Consider Your Gear

Just because you’re going to be away from home doesn’t mean that you need to take all your photography gear! In fact, you’ll want to travel as light as possible so the gear doesn’t slow you down.
To decide on what to take, think about the environments you’ll be in, and what sort of scenarios you envision yourself photographing. It’s best to take a lens or two that can provide the most versatility, while not being overly cumbersome in weight or size.
Also consider the weight of other items like tripod or flash. Lightweight and compact tripods are ideal for tucking into your day bag.
Have a look at our review of the best travel tripods for more information.
Florida Keys beach photography, including Fort Jefferson

3. Explore On Foot

There’s no better way to get to know a new location than to explore it on foot! Walking a town lets you see the nooks and crannies that you could otherwise easily miss if you traveled by car.
If you have more than one day in a town, take advantage of the first day to explore and scout. Scouting just means that you seek out spots to go back to later on to photograph.

4. Avoid Main Tourist Attractions

Popular tourist attractions are just that – popular with tourists. To show the local flavor and make your photos stand out from the masses, you’ll want to go off the beaten path, just as the locals do.
Perhaps you use the tourist attraction as a starting point before exploring peripheral areas. Also, try asking the employees at tourist attractions where THEY go during their time off! Locals will tend to avoid the popular crowded spots, so they’re your best resource.
travel photography sunset with flock of birds in the background and an abandoned sofa in the foreground

5. Change Your Perspective

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut, but changing up your angles or perspectives can infuse much-needed variety into your travel photography.
Also, presenting a different perspective or technique can help your photos stand out from the typically seen.
Try switching subjects, shooting techniques, camera height, or lens used.

6. Consider Composition

A strong composition can make your travel photos stand out instantly! Consider the rule of thirds, golden ratio, perspective or leading lines, and colour.
Taking a few extra moments to ensure your composition is on point will pay off when you have stellar photos to show from your travels.

7. Be Curious

The best tool that you can take with you on your travels is your curiosity. Being genuinely open to and interested in your new surroundings will create moments that you could otherwise miss.
Following a large group or not asking questions will offer you the same experience that thousands of others have. However, asking questions and curiously exploring new nooks and crannies will expose you to new experiences and locales that you’d otherwise miss.

8. Talk to the Locals

Ask for portraits, ask for recommendations, ask for directions… Just make connections. Talking with locals is the quickest way to make your trip unique!
If you spot an interesting-looking person, consider asking them for a portrait. If you’re not sure where to go for something specific, ask a local for recommendations. If you’re having trouble finding your way around town, ask for directions to their favourite cafe.

9. Be Open to the Unexpected

Some of the best photos from travels happen in the least expected of moments. While you can’t have your camera perfectly poised during every moment of the trip, you can have your camera easily accessible and be on the lookout for spontaneous moments.

10. Experiment with Technique

During travels is the perfect time to play! If there are any photography techniques you’ve been wanting to try out, now is a great time to do so. It’s also a great time to get familiar with shooting in manual mode if you aren’t already.

11. Use Local Public Transportation

Local transportation can be great for travel photos! Sometimes the transport itself is worth capturing, and local transportation is ideal for taking you to those locales outside of the tourist spots.

12. Track Your Locations and Take Notes

With all the great photos you’ll be capturing, notes are a necessity! A journal is ideal for traveling because it can fit neatly into your bag, but keeping track of photo locations can still be mind-boggling.
Creating your own custom Google Map and dropping pins at your photo locations is a perfect solution for this. Pins can be colour-coded, and notes can be added, so that you can easily connect the photos to their corresponding location.

13. Be Safe

While most locations are safe overall, it’s always a good idea to be aware of your surroundings. Use your judgement about whether locations look and feel safe to go visit, and always keep your belongings securely on your body.
If you’re not sure whether an area is safe to explore or not, this is another example of a good moment to ask the locals!

14. Stay Social

Social media can seem like a burden to keep up with during travels, but it’s a great opportunity to show behind-the-scenes photos of your adventures! Also, keep social media in mind when shooting. Think of how your photos will enhance your story-telling once you post edited photos for all to see.

15. Practice Before Your Travels

Part of prepping before your travels should also involve practicing your shooting methods. It’s a good idea to practice using the different shooting modes, and try out the gear that you plan on taking with you to make sure all is working well.
This way, you’ll be fully prepared for spontaneous moments and quick visits to far-off locations!

Conclusion

Travel photography improves with practice and time, but these 15 tips will help to fully prepare you for capturing your travels in all their glory!

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