Who doesn’t love visiting gorgeous places? When we travel, it is natural to want to capture those special moments. So why not explore this niche?
With the right skills and some practice, you could make your travel photography hobby into a full-time job. In this article, we have organised our knowledge base on travel photography.
Read on to find out how to become a travel photographer.
What Is Travel Photography?
Travel photography is the act of photographing while travelling. The goal is to capture the locations you visit and the adventures you experience.
You can take landscape images of the places you visit, portraits of the people you meet or architecture photos of the buildings you see.
You can even master your self-photography skills by taking selfies everywhere you go.
How to Start Travel Photography
Travel photography is a genre that requires a lot of pre-photoshoot preparation.
You need to be able to find suitable locations, handle different weather conditions, and choose the best equipment for each trip.
Practising and learning how you like travelling the basis of the whole process. You should also find out which type of travel photography suits you the most.
Read our beginner’s guide to learn more about how to get started with travel photography.
Everyone’s idea of travel is different. Some go away for the weekend, and others plan a whirlwind trip covering dozens of countries in a concise period of time.
If you are the road trip kind, this article is for you.
Firstly, you’ll need to figure out how to get around. Will it be your car, a rental or even hitch-hiking? Next is the route.
You need to take care of how you can stay connected to the internet. Or how you’ll have access to electricity, and how you’ll back up your photos.
Travelling requires a few more items than your keys, wallet, and passport. It requires planning and making sure you have every necessary item with you.
The easiest way to remember everything is by writing a list.
Think about where you are going and if the location has the things you might need to buy? Don’t forget to update your list after each trip.
Prepare for bad weather, hot summer days and everything you can predict. Take a look at our list so you surely won’t miss anything!
As a travel photographer, you’ll constantly be moving around. A heavy backpack full of equipment gets tiring very fast.
Learning how to capture travel photography with minimal equipment is a blessing. That way, you’ll enjoy your journey much more.
Think about your lenses. Perhaps one or two zoom lenses are much better than five fixed (prime) alternatives. And don’t take anything you might not use. It is a waste of space.
As a travel photographer, you need to organise both your camera gear and your clothes. It can be a hard task. All you need to find is balance.
Start by creating a photography shot list in advance. Lay out your gear and then cut it all down.
Choosing the right bags is also essential. With our space-saving packing hacks, you are going to be able to organise everything cleverly.
An important thing to keep in mind is that you will need to reach your gear easily. If you don’t have comfortable access to them, you will get frustrated soon.
The best travel photos are the results of hours of planning and research.
A shot list is a helpful reminder to ensure you get a wide range of images. No matter where you go, you will have the same or a similar list.
You won’t miss anything if you need what kind of shots you need. Also, a list can guide your attention and make you spot the scenes worth photographing.
I know they can be heavy and a burden when you don’t need them. Yet, there are lightweight carry-on choices that can fit in your bag.
You have to use a tripod that matches your camera. Heavier gadgets will need sturdy and stable ones. Also, windy weather requires more robust tripods.
Read here for more information on tripod choices for all your travel photography needs.
As a travel photographer, you will encounter a lot of different situations. Not only do you have to be ready for them, but your gear has to as well.
There are some basic accessories you should always carry with you. A lens pen is the perfect pocket-tool for cleaning your lenses on the go. But others, like a drone, are for more creative photography.
Start with the basics. Choose a comfortable neck strap or buy memory card holders. Extra batteries and power banks are also practical and necessary items, based on how long and where you are shooting.
Travel photographers have to deal with changing lights and scenes. Also, it’s a mixture of genres, so even the type of photography determines the settings.
Pay attention to white balance, focus, and the pillars of the exposure triangle.
You can find basic settings for portraits, environmental portraits, landscapes, sunsets, or buildings in our article above. Food, wildlife, action or night photography are not missing from the list either.
Start with these settings and tweak them if needed.
Your photography style separates you from every other travel photographer. Believe me. There are thousands in this category.
Finding your style will take time and practice. It isn’t something you can develop overnight.
Keep experimenting. You can focus on a particular mood or atmosphere. Or concentrate on the same colour range. Or even take stunning portraits.
Famous photographers have recognizable styles. If someone recognizes your images without seeing your name on them, you’re on the right path.
Travel photography is not about your camera. It isn’t even about where you are.
It is about the stories you tell with your captured images. The way you take these stunning images is through research and observation.
Researching your location will let you know what is available to photograph. And the best time to capture it.
Preparing your gear and writing travel notes are also something you should do.
Read our article for all the 12 rules of travel photography.
You can first ruin your travel photography but not planning it enough. Not having a shot list is a part of this mistake.
Also, make sure to have enough time for what you would like to reach. This is important when you would like to have blue hour shots of a certain place, and you are still far from there at sunset.
Don’t pack too much gear, and try not to be too shy. Telling stories with your images is always a great idea.
Follow our tips to avoid the most common mistakes!
Utilizing an external hard drive is the most important way to safely store your images once they are out of your camera.
Backing up in the field means that you need to find a solution to keep your images safe without a computer.
Having a system that will copy your images from your memory cards means not buying more of them.
Check our article above to find the best solution.
Travelling safely with your camera leys you enjoy yourself and keep photographing.
Having an item or camera stolen can dent your experience and budget. Travel insurance is a smart investment to make.
By covering up your cameras’ brand and model, you can really deter thieves looking to take your gear. This is best done using black tape.
Use padded cases so that your camera and lenses are protected against all knocks they will encounter.
This is a great way to keep your lenses in and out of your bag for extra protection. You can also use them separately on a strap or belt.
Staying safe while travelling should be the most important priority of your photography.
This is how you ensure that you enjoy the place you’re in for the time that you are.
Start with taking your camera on board if you are flying. Also, respect local customs to avoid conflict. Knowing your surroundings and not leaving your gear unattended are the very basics of staying safe as a travel photographer.
Read our article here for the most important travel tips to keep you safe.
You can, of course, be a travel photographer without fancy locations and a huge kit bag. It’s a well deserved holiday where you decide to capture a few shots.
Even then, your photography could use a few tips. Choosing the right spot to photograph first is the number one tip.
You might also find it a game-changer to wake up and shoot before the crowd gathers.
Try avoiding clichés and find a balance between portrait and landscapes. Include your family in your images, but also make sure to capture the local culture.
If you’re headed toward the city, then this article is for you. You’ll find great tips for short trips or extended stays.
Find the right location and check the forecast to check the available light. Take images from a distance and also zoom in to capture details.
Preparing your gear and thinking about your settings in advance are also essential here. Blue and golden hours might be the best time for these images. Experiment a lot, and go back if you are not satisfied and you have time. To dig deep, check out our tips on cityscape photography.
Where To Find Travel Photography Inspiration
Travel photography blogs serve as great inspiration for us photographers out there.
You can get great tips and ideas by looking at other photographers’ images. Also, reading their stories and descriptions help you prepare for the shooting sessions.
You can find the best locations and events by reading quality blogs.
Take a look at the 16 best travel photography blogs to follow!
You can go anywhere in the world and take photographs. And if you use a few basic compositional rules, you are halfway there.
Our article offers different places you should visit, from all around the globe. From Thailand to the USA and even to New Zealand, you can find popular photography destinations!
It’s always a good idea to get information before you start planning your travel.
There are some places in the world that everyone recognises. These are usually historical sites or buildings, but some of them are the wonders of nature.
If you visit these places, you must take photos of them. But try to be unique! Get creative, and bring a new perspective.
Take a look at our list and plan to visit one of them on your next trip. It can be the Eiffel Tower or Central Park, and you have great opportunities.
Some places are known for their architecture. You can find unique buildings everywhere, sometimes even stories that blow your mind.
While you are travelling, make sure to do a bit of research, and don’t miss any interesting spot!
For the ten best locations, read our article, then start packing!
In Europe, there are so many diverse landscapes and architecture at such small distances.
The same can be said about nature. Without these venues, cities wouldn’t be the same. Natural landscapes also play a vital role in shaping the atmosphere.
Read our list, and if you have the chance, try visiting more of them during one trip!
People travel from all around the world to see and photograph these delights. Because they are so famous, it’s hard to capture them in a unique way.
If you follow our 9 tips, you can get closer to this goal.
Start with doing research and plan what you would like to see in your images. Arriving early is a great idea to avoid the crowd. If the place is already crowded, you can even use this to show the atmosphere.
There’s the old and classic Los Angeles. And, there are the newer, more happening spots that offer you brand new photo ideas.
Take a tour around LA with our list of the best 20 places!
New York is an ever-changing city, with a rich history and cityscape.
Go through our 10 recommendations and imagine how you will photograph them in your own unique way.
You can include New Yorkers in your images as the crowd belongs to the atmosphere.
Japan has a lot of historical, cultural and natural wonders you can capture.
For some travel photographers, Japan sits on a pedestal because of it’s natural and built heritage. It is also full of interesting food and neon-lit streets.
Our 20 images of Japan give enough inspiration to book a flight to Japan!
The capital of Japan is an incredible place to photograph. Whatever style of photography you enjoy, Tokyo will have you covered.
You should visit the most popular places and buildings. The architecture is amazing, and you can also find quirky settings like cosplay events.
Like anywhere else on the planet, Japan has a photography etiquette that should be followed when capturing images.
Some of them are common sense, such as asking for permission if photographing people up-close. Others are specific to locations. In Japan, some areas have banned selfie sticks, for example.
Read through our list to make sure you are doing everything you can to stick to these guidelines.
London is a crowded place, and not only because of people. By walking on the streets, you bump into landmark buildings or parks on every corner.
Take a look at our list and make sure to include everything when you are planning your route.
When someone says Paris, the Eiffel Tower appears in everyone’s mind. In reality, the opportunities for photography in the many arrondissements are endless. And Parisians light up every frame.
We collected 10 of the most famous ones. Make sure to visit them if you have the chance.
Venice has a nostalgic and romantic atmosphere. Due to its unique location and breathtaking canals, everyone can immediately recognise photos taken here.
This article not only summarises the best locations, but it gives tips on when to visit them. A lot depends on the lighting. You can spice up the most basic images if you are there at the right time.
All roads lead to Rome; who can deny that? This city is full of history, culture, architecture, and food.
We collected our favourite photo spots and added some tips on how and when to photograph there. Plan your visit in advance to make sure you don’t miss anything!
Barcelona is full of tourists due to its stunning sights. You can find famous, one of a kind buildings from Gaudí, beautiful parks and streets.
Our lA Barcelona-based photographer wrote our list of 10 photography spots you will find under-the-radar nooks only the locals know!
Amsterdam is a compact, pedestrian-friendly, and cultural city. The streets themselves are worth photographing, but obviously, you can find famous venues.
Our list is going to guide you through Amsterdam and show you the places you must visit.
Budapest is a photogenic city where you can bump into different subjects that worth capturing. From famous streets to buildings and thermal baths aplenty, there’s so much to photograph.
It has a beautiful river, the Danube, which allows you to take breathtaking images and offers many opportunities. Let us guide you, and see why you should visit this city.
New Zealand has beautiful places to visit. It’s like you were standing in a painting or in a scene out of a famous trilogy.
Follow our ideas to find the best spots, and take surreally beautiful images. You should include cities, lakes, waterfalls and the countryside in your collection.
Iceland is becoming more and more popular among tourists. It’s no wonder this place offers venues that are beyond comparison.
Get to know the locals, and travel to more isolated and secret places. Besides giving you useful advice, we collected the best spots you should visit!
Yosemite National Park is one of California’s most beautiful places. It’s full of ancient redwoods, so this is the perfect destination for wildlife photographers.
It’s hard to say which spot is the best, but we tried to collect 10 of them. Explore Yosemite and get beautiful memories printed and framed on your walls!
Casey Kiernan is an award-winning photographer and cinematographer. He is best known for his stunning time-lapse and images that can be seen all over the place.
In this review, we run through his Iceland Photography workshop. Unlike traditional photography workshops, this one took place with the use of campervans.
For all the ins and outs of why this workshop is highly recommended, read our review above.
Creative Travel Photography Ideas
From Brazil and Mexico to Venice and Thailand, street carnivals are a fiasco of colour and costumes.
Each one is slightly different in size, magnitude or duration. They also have different concepts.
Read our tips to arrive prepared. Practise taking what you need, scout the location, and try isolating your subject. These and our other ideas will hopefully help you a lot.
There will be times where you want to record yourself while travelling. Either for memories or social media proof.
What to do if you were on your own? How do you manage to capture yourself in a scene?
Luckily there are a few ways you can do this. You can ask other tourists or locals to take your picture. Another way would be to use a tripod and a 10-second delay.
For other tips and techniques, read our article here!
Compositional rules exist to help create interest in your images.
These can be layered for maximum effect, turning a somewhat dull image into something awe-inspiring. Using reflections is a great place to start.
These repetitive images are great for the viewer as they add depth and dimension to your subject.
Use the rule of thirds, symmetry, play with colours or scale, your possibilities are almost endless.
Shooting in black and white eliminates the distractions caused by colours. By using black and white, you look at your subject and scene in a different way.
Here, your focus is on the contrast of a scene. The textures and shapes are more prominent.
Read our article on why you should look at the city or nature in black and white.
Photographing people on your travels adds story elements to a scene. It also adds a sense of scale to large or difficult to gauge subjects.
Having people in a scene can change the atmosphere of the scene easily. But for this, you need to prepare and learn how to stay invisible. Or how to communicate with your subjects.
Our article runs through how you can capture pictures of strangers.
As a travel photographer, you are documenting the people and places you visit. Each new location brings forth new moods, feelings, light, people and visual elements.
With most areas of photography, research is key. This lets you know what you can expect in each new area.
Knowing what to expect means you can change your camera and personal gear accordingly. This gets you one step ahead of other photographers.
Try telling stories, photograph strangers and spot the unique scenes.
Knowing a little about cropping can really help to boost your travel photography. What you leave in is just as important as what you leave out.
It’s better to concentrate on your subjects than missing great moments while you are trying to reach the best composition. You can crop the image later.
In our article above, we have summarised the basics of cropping and rotating your travel photos.
An ND filter is an essential piece of equipment. It allows you to capture long exposure shots in the harshest sun.
Not only is it easy to assemble, but they are quick and easy to use. They can incorporate well into time-lapse projects too.
The biggest benefit is their ability to make people disappear. This can be especially helpful in very tourist-heavy locations and sites.
If you are into travel photography, why not try a small documentary project? It could boost your creativity.
Documentary projects are typically long-term projects rather than one-time photo sessions. Photograph what you see. Visualise the atmosphere, the people and the locations around you.
You are going to learn about our world, and about your creativity too.
The Northern Lights attract a lot of tourists and travel photographers from all around the world.
However, they are not so easy to photograph. You have to be prepared, have a tripod and a proper camera for it.
Also, you have to be patient because they are not always visible and their intensity changes too.
Set your camera and take delight in this beautiful phenomena!
Panoramic images are a great way to show the landscapes you encounter. The advantage is that you are not restricted to one single perspective or view.
After capturing many images on a horizontal plane, they are then stitched together. Our article covers everything you need to know about stunning panoramic pictures.
On your travels, you are likely to come across beaches, strands, and banks. They are great areas to show sunsets, sunrises, and possibly, stories in your work.
Beach photography needs a little consideration to capture perfectly. Our list here will give you all the tips you’ll need.
After a little research, you will capture them with interesting compositions, perspectives, and exposures. Try avoiding crowds, but sometimes you can include people in your images. Details, golden hours, and silhouettes are also great ideas to capture.
Ethical Travel Photography
A camera is a powerful tool. It’s a device you can use to record the world around you.
Sometimes you have to consider whether you should photograph someone or something or not. Poverty, self-promotion or stereotyping are controversial topics.
Ask permission first, to avoid questionable situations. Don’t invade anyone’s personal space.
Tipping is the act of giving someone money in exchange for a photograph of them. Usually, it is a local person in the native environment who adds something to the image.
It makes the image possible. But you might find these locals will ask for something, usually money, to be in your image.
This is something that many travel photographs will face numerous times.
Read our thoughts on this topic in our article on tipping for photos.
A fixer is basically a local person who can help with many tasks.
They speak the language, know the contacts and can show off the hidden highlights of a place.
They can be expensive, based on their experience and the lack of competition, but are incredibly useful.
Read more on how to source fixers for your travel photography in our article above.
How to Start a Travel Photography Business
There is a lot of money in the travel industry, which means the demand for anything tourism-related is strong.
Of course, you have to make sure if travel photography is right for you. Make a website, a blog, be active on social media and have the proper gear.
You can sell prints or write about photography. Teaching is also a great idea.
A travel photographer provides imagery for the global tourism industry.
This might be for magazines, newspapers, and books aimed at marketing, information or documenting cultures and events.
Being a professional travel photographer means making money from your images. There are multiple avenues to do this.
One way is to sell your prints. Be present on social media, sell your images on stock sites and enter competitions. And these are only a few of our tips!
Of course, you have to start with having great photos. Then you have a lot of options, like selling them on stock sites or as prints.
You can even sell the images directly to clients, not as stock photos. You can even sell your stories, accompanying your photos.
How do you promote yourself efficiently? Read our article above for smart tips.
How to Post-Process Travel Images
Travel photography can result in a lot of images. Sometimes it seems to be impossible to go through them.
You should back up everything and organise your images. One way to keep track of your photographs is to create a different Lightroom catalogue for each journey.
For other great workflow tips, read our article above.
Travel photography can require post-processing. You should start by choosing the best editing software.
Then go through the different stages of editing, from cropping to sharpening, noise reduction and adjusting contrast, highlights and shadows. You can even remove unwanted elements.
For the 10 best post-processing tips, take a look at our article here.
Lightroom is a popular software for post-processing. It hosts a great library system for effective image storing.
After importing your images, you can make use of the built-in map. It makes it easier to find the shots you are looking for.
Lightroom presets are also going to make your workflow faster. And you can even use Lightroom on your smartphone, to edit images on the go.
Photographing in RAW will make editing your images more efficient and you’ll have better quality.
In the editing stage, adjust the colour temperature, the exposure, and add a bit of contrast. Adjust whites and blacks as well. Cropping and strengthening are also important.
The last step can be the removal of unwanted elements.
Adobe Lightroom presets are a great way to edit your photographs fast. You upload them to your Lightroom preset folder, and then use them as you wish.
They adjust your image at the click of a button. Exposure values, shadows, and highlights are a few modifications that could change due to the preset.
Others are more extensive, changing the tone and colours of an image to have a certain atmosphere.
Here are a few free presets for you to work with to get more from your images. If you need some help installing these presets, read our article above.
We are confident that this article provides you with all the education you need to become a professional travel photographer!
As you can see, travel photography is a versatile genre. It needs planning, research, organising skills, patience and knowing the ethics. Be aware of your surroundings and capture everything, but also make sure to enjoy your travels!
It may start as a hobby but you can make a lucrative career out of it. So, keep travelling and clicking!
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