Travel photography is one of the most unique genres and arguably the most competitive. Taking good photos in this genre is about more than visiting fancy locations; you also need to convey the emotions you were feeling at that moment in time.
When taking photos on your travels abroad, it’s vital to prepare accordingly. Compared to shooting images in your hometown, you haven’t got as much room for maneuver. If that’s left you feeling a little daunted, don’t worry; we’re here to help.
Keep reading to discover our best tips for improving your travel photography.
1. Use the Right Lens
Travel photography is a versatile genre. As a result, you’ll want a versatile lens to help you get the best results.
When picking a suitable lens for travel photography, you can go down a couple of routes. The first is to choose a zoom lens with a wide enough range of focal lengths for the type of pictures you want to take.
Alternatively, you can choose a prime lens with a fixed focal length; this is what we recommend. Using a prime lens will help you document a wide range of situations, and since travel photography is fast-paced, this can also reduce the decision fatigue often associated with zoom lenses.
When picking a focal length for travel photography, we recommend going for something between 27 and 50 millimeters.
2. Brainstorm Your Photo Ideas in Advance
Spontaneity can be helpful for things like choosing where to go for dinner. And although travel photography requires some spontaneity, planning in advance will give you better results if you want to capture the life and atmosphere of the places you visit.
When preparing for a trip, think about the culture of the place you’re visiting. While your images in New York City might be chaotic and vibrant, a trip to Sweden could involve capturing the visual demonstration of calming feelings and sounds.
You might find it helpful to create a storyboard based on your itinerary. Doing so will add structure to your photoshoots, and it’ll force you to stop and think about each image before you snap away. Thanks to this, you’ll get better shots.
3. Scout the Areas That You Want to Photograph
When it comes to travel photography, many people make the mistake of only visiting popular tourist sites. By doing this, they get the same results as everyone else. This is why you see so many of the same images on Instagram; if you fall into this trap, you’re not going to stand out.
Of course, the touristy spots will most likely be a part of your trip; when you visit Paris for the first time, you’re going to want to see the Eiffel Tower. But before you stand in the same spot as all the other tourists, go for a walk and look for unique angles.
It’s also a good idea to walk around other parts of the place you’re visiting before you start snapping away. Take an aimless walk in a particular district and scout exciting spots. You can take a photo on your phone to save the location and then return later with your camera.
4. Wait Before Editing Your Images
When you travel, emotions are high. Beautiful landscapes, hot weather, and the excitement of exploring a new place can all cloud your judgment. And if you begin editing your photos while still on holiday, you could end up with edits where you’ve pushed the colors, clarity, and everything else too far.
It’s all too tempting to show off to your social media followers straight away about your latest trip, but you’re better off waiting a few weeks when you get back. Having this buffer between the trip and the editing phase will let you choose the pictures you like the most and edit them from a neutral perspective.
Because you’ll no longer feel the same high as when you were traveling, you’ll edit with a clear mind—and your photos will look better.
5. Pack Minimialistically
If you’ve got several camera lenses, it’s tempting to throw them all into your backpack or suitcase. However, the last thing you want is to feel the weight of those lenses as you carry them around. It’s also pointless to have five or six lenses if you don’t have enough space to pack your clothes and other essentials.
You probably won’t need most of the lenses that you thought you would, anyway. Taking everything you have means more decisions to make, and, if something goes wrong, a higher fee to pay to get everything repaired.
You’ll take better travel photos if you only pack the essentials. Try to take one—at most two—lenses with you. Ask yourself whether a tripod is necessary, too; in some cases, it isn’t.
6. Seek Inspiration Beforehand
Of course, you want your travel photography to be unique. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t seek inspiration from others before you visit. And thanks to the internet, you can get to know more about an area through its network of local photographers.
Pinterest is an excellent place to find travel photography inspiration. You can save all of your ideas in a pin and send direct messages to other users for additional tips. Instagram is another great platform to seek inspiration from; you can look for local photographers and search geotags and hashtags for ideas. And don’t forget about YouTube and Twitter, too.
There’s More to Travel Photography Than You Think
Travel photography is much more than visiting pretty places and pointing your camera at things that look nice. To become a successful travel photographer, it’s crucial that you think about the things you want to capture in advance. Try to avoid cliché poses that will look staged to your followers, and think outside the box as much as you can.
Every trip is unique, and only you can capture your experiences and emotions. These tips should help you start thinking about how to do that.
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