7 Travel Photography Tips

Travel Photography Tips
15 August 2011 Post Author:
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Photography is the world as seen through the eyes of the photographer.

In the same way that two writers would tell two completely different accounts of the same moment, two photographers will likely photograph the exact same scene, the exact same moment in two completely different ways.

This similarity between writing and photography is exactly why they are such perfect complements.

Imagine a powerful description of a beautiful travel destination accompanied by uninteresting photographs. And vice versa, imagine an amazing photograph with a boring description. Being able to master both art forms allows the travel writer to fully control the description and portrayal of stories, moments, and destinations.

Mastery of both writing and photography allows one to control the portrayal of a moment.

For me, photography has given me the opportunity to travel the world. Our Los Angeles Wedding Photography business has taken us from our home base of California to Taiwan, Peru, Italy, Mexico and other countries as destination weddings have become more and more popular.

My passions for photography and writing have also led me to teach and write tutorials for those interested in learning, which leads us to this article.

I’ll be sharing 7 travel photography tips based around the images I took on a recent trip to Peru.

  1. Take Advantage of Dramatic Clouds
    If you’re planning your travel and you’re hoping for stunning imagery of landscapes or architecture, keep in mind that clouds add a powerful dynamic to these types of images.

    01-dramatic-clouds

  2. Use a Lens with a Wide Focal Length Range
    Travelling light is important with everything related to travel, and photography equipment is no exception. Using a lens with a wide focal length range allows you to take just one lens on your travels. For those of you new to photography, focal length can be thought of in terms of the amount of zoom. The higher the number, the more the zoom. Ranges like 24-70mm or 28-75mm are great because they give you the ability to zoom out for wider landscape and architecture shots and zoom in for your candid people shots.
  3. Consider Shooting From the Car
    If you’re photographing people on the street, it’s important to be tactful. Sometimes people welcome the attention, other times your actions can come off as offensive. Shooting from your vehicle is a great way to snap that shot without being noticed. You can also use the car as an interesting foreground.

  4. Photograph the Children
    Many children love posing for the camera, making them great subjects to photograph. Easy-to-work with and cute, their spirit and innocence will add a different, interesting, and sometimes fun aspect to your travel portfolio.

  5. Find Forgrounds and Frames
    Great compositions often come from finding frames and foregrounds. Look for lines, windows, doors and more.

  6. Avoid Bullseye Shots
    It’s tempting to place your subjects right in the center of your photographs; but this can sometimes lead to boring or uninteresting images. Using some negative space or placing your subjects off-center can sometimes add interest to your images and highlight the background.

  7. Don’t forget the Details
    As you walk around, don’t forget the beauty of the details. Whether it’s the artwork, the crafts, or the jewelry, keep an eye out for colors and intricate details.

I hope you found a few useful tips; and of course, I welcome your comments! If you would like to learn more about photography, please check out our photography tutorials site, SLR Lounge.

~ Chris

11 Responses to “7 Travel Photography Tips”

  1. Claire
    Twitter:
    says:

    Nice list, but maybe mention being respectful of people who don’t like the idea of having a photo of them unknowingly shown on the Internet. I always treat people on my travels as I would my neighbours – and my neighbours would shoot me if I put them online without telling them.

    • Nisha
      Twitter:
      says:

      I agree with you on photographing people. I generally ask their permission before clicking & further if I think I would post them on internet.
      I also ask for their mail-ids to send them their photos. :)

  2. You shared some interesting insights on travel photography that I don’t think I’ve seen elsewhere, shooting from the car is one of them.

    Many of the tips you’ve shared are things that I already put into practice, though. Although I do still find it helpful to see things from another travel photographers perspective.

    Thanks for sharing these tips :D

    WW

  3. Nisha
    Twitter:
    says:

    Nice tips. I use all of them. :)

  4. Jesse Crouch
    Twitter:
    says:

    Nice tips! I’ll add one:
    Bring a mini tripod!

    I’ve got a gorillapod. If you’re really into taking photos when you travel it’s totally worth it. Allows me to take night shots, group shots that include me and shots of myself from a distance. I’ve attached it to railings, trees, sign posts and such.

    It’s a bulky item, but I’m glad I brought mine. I’ve already used it 10+ times in just a month.

  5. Dave
    Twitter:
    says:

    Another important factor in a great shot is sharpness. If you don’t have a gorillapod or a stationary object where you can position the camera for a steady shot, you can try setting the timer for 2 seconds, then locking your elbows in your stomach while holding your breath. It won’t do you much good in low light situations, but as long as the light is good, it should make for a much sharper shot. Takes a bit of practice though.

    Cheers, Dave

  6. Amandah says:

    Great post! My nephew’s taking a photography class in high school and wants to travel when he graduates. I wonder who gave him that idea. Lol! Anyway, he could benefit from these tips because his teacher doesn’t spend much time discussing the photos her students take. Sigh.

    BTW: Good point about asking permission to take photos of people. Some cultures may find it rude to just ‘snap away’ without asking first. Furthermore, some may require a payment for taking photos of them. Live and learn.

  7. Mathieu says:

    My photography improved significantly once I realized images are more powerful when the subject is off-center. It seems a silly thing to have to tell people, as we all have seen so many images in our live it should come as second nature, but still so many people ‘center’ their photos all the time. I always try to stick to the rule of thirds, or the golden mean when shooting any photo and the difference really shows!

  8. Michelle
    Twitter:
    says:

    Great tips, nice to see some more original ones, rather than the usual bog standard rule of thirds etc. The dramatic clouds and looking for framing opportunities are my favourites!

  9. Zach says:

    Very good tips. I’ve just started out with my new Nikon D7000 and its starting to come, but takes a lot of practice.

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