If you love taking photos, then traveling to a new place will surely inspire you to bring along your camera and capture the sights. To make the most of your trip, here are a few tips that we think will help take your photography to the next level:
Have A Plan
Tools like Instagram, Pinterest, Flickr, Google Image Search, and Unsplash are great ways to gather inspiration about the place you’re going to visit, pick a few ‘must-visit’ spots that you want to photograph, and see what other photographers that visited before you found interesting. Just search for your destination, and save anything that you like or are inspired by. If you want to get even more prepared, you can create a Custom Google Map with the locations that you want to visit, which helps give a general sense for where the hot spots are in that city, and can help you navigate from one place to the next, or see what’s close by if you’re doing some exploring.
While a good plan and a shot list are great to have, they can also mean you’ll just end up taking the same photos that everyone else took. To find something truly unique, it can sometimes help to just wander around a city and see what captures your eye. Remember to save a few hours here and there for unplanned exploration, and you may end up discovering something new that everyone else visiting the ‘must see’ lists overlooked.
Wake Up Early, Stay Late
The early bird gets the worm, and the early photographer gets beautiful photos that aren’t filled with tourists! By getting to a location just as the sun is rising, you’re more likely to beat the crowds, and you’ll also get that ‘golden hour’ light that makes everything look extra dreamy. Not a morning person? You can also stay somewhere a little later than most, and you’ll often catch a location as it empties out, with another golden hour opportunity to capture the perfect light.
A lot of travelers like to pack light, but a good travel tripod, like this one from MeFOTO, can greatly expand your photography options, and doesn’t add a lot of weight to your day pack. If you want to take low light photography, capture video, take super-sharp landscapes, or experiment with more advanced techniques like HDR or panoramas, you’re going to want the ability to lock your camera in place while you adjust settings, take a few different test shots, or pan around from a fixed location. Plus, if you’re traveling solo, a tripod allows you to get inside your shots, which can add some extra flair to whatever you’re trying to capture.
Have A Backup Plan
When you travel, you should hope for the best, but plan for the worst, which means backing up your photos so that you don’t lose them if your camera gets damaged, lost, or stolen. Unfortunately thieves like to target tourists, and if you’re traveling with camera gear, that makes you a prime target, so bring along a small external hard drive, like this Western Digital My Passport Wireless Pro that can read directly from SD cards, that you can back up your camera to each night, and then if something happens to your camera, you’ll only lose the photos that you shot that day, and not everything from your entire trip.
There’s the Rule of Thirds, leading lines, symmetry, repetition, framing, and more, and for every helpful rule in photography, there’s a great photographer who will tell you that rules are made to be broken! In general though, it can be helpful to get familiar with some of the more classic ways of composing a photograph, since that will increase the likelihood that the image you capture has that “Wow!” factor you’re looking for. Instead of trying to explain every style of composition, here’s a good video that shows examples of some of the most popular: