Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Ned's Top 25 Tips for Travel Photographers

Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, TurkeyGreat travel photography requires much the same of photographers as any photographic genre; advanced planning, preparation, a willingness to adjust when at the site of the shooting session and both technical and artistic photographic knowledge.

I've got twenty-five great tips to help you bring home quality travel images.

Advanced Planning:

Locate specific locations and events at your destination:
Once you decide on your destination(s), it's import to plan and prioritize your visit to include the specific locations and events you want to see and photograph, to ensure you'll have time enough for the ones considered essential. While planning, look for unique sites, people, landscapes, etc. to photograph.

Create shot lists:
For each destination location you plan to visit, create a list of photographs you want to make. Plan as many shots in advance as possible, both specific and general. Look for positions which may or may not be normally visited by people traveling to a particular site, to utilize for photographs.

Online location scouting:
Use programs such as Google Earth and The Photographer's Ephemeris, my favorites, to scout locations on-line, to determine where and when are the best places and times for your shoot. Try to set the times you're shooting at locations to have the light shining from behind you.

Research resources:
There are many resources to research your destinations beyond travel websites and books, especially for photographers. Speak to and correspond with photographers who've been to your destinations to learn about them from a photographer's point of view. Check stock photo websites to learn about popular locations and their photographic opportunities. Check sightseeing bus tour itineraries too.

Photo gear packing list:
Match your photo gear with the needs of the photographs you're planning to make at your destinations.

Language:
If you're unfamiliar with your destinations' languages, learn key phrases to get along and to ask for permission to shoot photos of people, and understand their answer.

The Destination:

Location Scouting:
If you have the time, at least for important locations at your destinations, do on-site location scouting before starting to shoot.

Don't waste time:
On some days, get up early, don't waste golden hours, use sunrise and sunset, and make night shots. The time of day or night will paint the scene with different looks and moods, some better than others, to show off the scenes.

Check with locals:
Be certain what time markets, landmarks, museums and attractions open and close, and when they are most crowded. Get help and suggestions from locals to find places not to miss at your destination, especially locales for special views and shots not well known.

Weather and environments:
Don't necessarily believe weather forecasts. Understand the environmental and weather trends and be prepared for quick changes, as they happen more often than you might think.

Shooting:

Look first:
Look with your eyes alone, before you look through the viewfinder or LCD screen.

Shoot variety:
Shoot from many angles, and don't forget close-ups, tight shots, wide angles and long views.

Long exposures:
Consider long exposures, especially if there is motion of some kind in the scene. It can give you a different perception of the scene compared to always freezing the action.

Communicate:
Use the key phrases you've learned of the local language, plus sign language, to talk with locals and strangers you wish to photograph.

Tourist traps and landmarks:
Tourist traps and landmarks are heavily visited because they're special, so don't write them off. Instead, look for different points of view and how to show them off differently than photographers before you. Look to show the scene's scale, perspective, etc. Don't miss the more iconic images too, but consider using lighting at different times of the day for fresh looks.

Use interesting spots to advantage:
Find an interesting spot from which to shoot, in a market, for example, and hang around for a while to see what develops.

Notes:
Use a notebook or smartphone to keep notes about photos, locations, identification, successes and failures.

Don't always shoot down:
For subjects that are low, don't always shoot the top of them. Get even with people's faces too, especially children.

Don't forget people:
Many taking travel photos try to exclude people from their images. While sometimes that's good, including people in your images can give a sense of scale, activity, and help tell the story of what's behind the images.

Don't shoot and run:
Give yourself a chance to get the shot right. Take a bit of time to set it up and shoot a few with different looks and settings.

You might not get another chance:
When traveling, make your photos when you have the chance, even if everything isn't perfect, as you might not ever have another chance for that photo.

Before you leave, turn around:
When people travel and tour they always seem to be looking ahead. Don't forget to turn around. Turning around and looking behind you might even net you the shot of a lifetime.

In your Room before Bed:

Backup:
Memory cards can go bad. Backup your images to a drive, device or the cloud, while traveling.

Clean it:
Clean your gear daily to better ensure it will work as needed.

Reset your camera:
Many forget that their camera will retain its settings from the day before, which can ruin your first shots the next day. Each time you take your camera for another shoot, reset it to your starter settings.

I think you'll find if you follow these tips they can help you bring back better travel images and memories.

3 comments:

Herb-Chicago said...

I never thought to check sightseeing bus tour itineraries to find sights to see and photograph when planning a trip. Thanks.

Hank-Philly said...

Great article. Hadn't thought of many of the tips and will follow them for future travel.

Chrissy-Denver said...

Love the suggestion to turn around before you leave. I've gotten some great photos I would have missed if I didn't turn around regularly.

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