I have been taking photos for as long as I can remember and have been traveling to 40 countries across 5 continents in 3 years since I started my travel blog in 2015. The goal then was just to share my travels with my friends and family and capture memories on the go. I also knew that I needed to take better photos with higher quality to make them stand out and bring my readers with me along my travels. This is when I upgraded to the Sony a5000 camera and since a year now the Sony a6300. In this article I will share with you my best practices when it comes to taking better travel photos on your next holiday destination.
As photographers, we tend to be victim of GAS ( Gear Acquisition Syndrom) and when we go somewhere, we always bring all our gear with us, “just in case”, right?
While the good thing about it is that you won’t miss any camera equipment to capture what you want the way you want it, there are several bad things about it:
You will miss a moment by switching lenses
You won’t be as creative as you could be because you will be relying on one specific camera equipment to make the job easier for you
You will end up with a back ache by the end of the day carrying all your gear with you. For some reasons, we tend to be more active on holidays than usual. Weird, ah!
So my advice to you is to keep it simple and try to limit yourself to one lens only. Not only it will challenge you to capture a shot in a more creative way but it will also allow you to not miss any precious moments during your holiday.
Which leads me to my second point…
Know your gear
Once you know your gear, you will be able to capture the shots you want as you captured them in your mind. This is what will differentiate you from an amateur photographer to a pro-photographer. Knowing how to shoot in manual mode, knowing the optimum depth of field of your lens to get sharp photos, knowing what style of photography to use depending on the situation will make or break your photography.
So rather trying to figure your camera out during your holiday, instead get to know your camera before your holiday and make sure to practice a LOT before traveling so that capturing moment becomes natural.
Scout locations before traveling
This is one of my favourite things to do. I would plan my travel itinerary according to the locations I want to visit in the country or city I am traveling to.
To do so, you can use Instagram for instance by typing the location of the destination you are going to. You can follow local travel accounts also. They usually feature a lot of photos from local photographers on the most iconic places in the city. You can follow local photographer to have a unique perspective of the city you are planning to visit and often discover off-the-beaten path locations. Or even follow local vloggers on youtube and have a better idea of the location through video. Sometimes what you see on a image can be totally different than the reality!
But also leave some room to go off-grid and just roam the streets of the city you do not know. This is when you will be able to capture unique shots off the beaten path.
Plan your shots
When traveling, especially if you are traveling with someone, the last thing you want to hear when you are in your creative process is “Are you done?”, “Can we go now?”!
The best way to avoid it and make everyone happy is to plan your shots. Now that you scouted the location, you may have a better idea of the ideal conditions to capture a location. So plan your days accordingly and allow yourself some time to go out, take the photo you need without being disturbed and without slowing down the rest of the group you are traveling with.
When on holiday, I tend to shoot more often at golden hours, rather in the morning at sunrise or evening at Sunset. The light is ideal for shooting, mornings are usually not so busy and your friends you are traveling with are probably still sleeping and usually at sunsets during holiday, people tend to stay outside to watch it sipping a cocktail. So it is a win-win for everyone!
The best way to plan your shots is to do your research to find the locations and then use Google maps or iOS map to save them and create your itinerary.
Aim for lifestyle shots
Landscape shots are great but it can get boring very quickly, in my opinion. That is the reason why lifestyle shots are ideal. It brings some context to a photo the viewer would not have otherwise. So by putting yourself as a subject on your landscape shot, it will make your travel photos stand out in a several ways:
You will be able to show the scale of the place you are at
You will be able to tell a story
You will be able to bring some life into your shot
By doing so, the viewer will be able to imagine themselves at the location you are shooting.
As always practice makes perfect! Try to think about the basic rule of composition and photography techniques to make your photos stand out.
If you are just getting started and would like to improve your photography skills, you can check out my course on Skillshare, The Art Of Mobile Photography, where I share with you how you could improve your photography skills.
What about you what other tips would you recommend and have used that improved your travel photos?
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