Six tips to help you take better travel photos
Becoming a better travel photographer doesn’t happen over night but there are some basic good habits to get into if you really want to take better images.
Travel photography is unique in the way it restricts you in terms of how much gear you can have with you on a shoot and your knowledge of whatever location you are shooting. More than likely it will be somewhere new, or at least somewhere you aren’t 100% familiar with.
So the single best thing you can do in order to come away with killer images is be prepared. That brings us nicely onto the first point on this list.
Make sure you have all of the equipment you are going to need so that you aren’t caught out. That means spare batteries, spare memory cards and of course you’re favourite lenses.
Backup, backup, backup! Like Hudson Henry says in the video above, you are only ever one memory card failure away from loosing days of work. Even if you had the time to go back, you can never truly replicate what you had before. So don’t risk it, make sure you back up all of your travel photos on the go.
Do plenty of research about the location you’ll be in before you get there. For me that means searching on Flickr. It’s not to be able to copy the work of others, but more to take inspiration from and find out which places work best at different times of the day. You often won’t be in one place for too long so you might not have the time to spend hours walking around location scouting (especially if you need to get images for clients). The internet is your friend when it comes to maximising your time behind the camera and minimising your time walking around and searching.
Again like Hudson Henry says in the video, you need to spend some time thinking about your composition. Get on the ground, get up high or do something different to really capture and represent the magic of the place your in. Remember, beautiful places don’t necessarily make beautiful photos. Hand held shots from eye level might work sometimes but thinking differently will help set your photos apart from the rest.
When the weather isn’t playing ball, it’s not always such a bad thing. Cloudy days can actually help to produce great, even light. They kind of act as a giant soft box. Use the opportunity to get up close and personal with subjects. Get as little sky in the shot as possible and fill the frame with a subject that is lit perfectly with soft defused light.
Don’t worry too much about what you’re seeing on other people’s Instagram. It’s easy to get discouraged when you see other people’s work. All photographer’s at one point have thought that their images will never be as good as X, Y or Z’s. Remember, what you are seeing from other people is less than 1% of all the photos that they have taken in their careers. They only put the best of the best out there. If you could see the 1000’s of average and terrible photos they will have taken, you wouldn’t feel the same.
Follow those six basic rules of travel photography and practise, practise, practise and in time you’ll be right up there with the best. However, none of this matters unless you’re out there with your camera. So go out and explore, sometimes finished is better than perfect.
One thing is for sure though, the more you finish the better you’ll get.
Since 2016 I’ve travelled full-time working as a travel photographer and writer remotely. I move around at my own pace (I hate fast-paced travel) and like to spend a few months getting to know each place I base myself in. Currently in the north of España 🇪🇸 and loving it.