A Quick Travel Photography Guide: 15 Essential Tips

Travel photography can be incredibly rewarding. However, if you don’t know what you’re doing, it can also be immensely frustrating. With practice and a little know-how, it’s possible to improve your travel photography skills in a relatively short space of time. We’ve included some top travel photography guide help you get started.

Essential Travel Photography Guide To Capture Beautiful Memories

1. Learn How Your Camera Works

Every kind of photography requires some knowledge and skill. Fundamental to this is knowing how your camera works; there’s far more to it than simply pointing and shooting. Making the most of your camera requires a good deal of learning and practice. Spend the time to figure out what the different modes and settings do, and how they will impact the final result.

2. Think About Composition

Depending on where you travel, you may find yourself in some bustling areas. These places can make for great photos if you follow this travel photography guide, but again, the point-and-shoot technique isn’t going to work. An overly busy composition will detract from the overall sense. Consider what’s important in a given scene; think about symmetry and focal points and try to capture them.

travel photography guide. Think about how to make your focal point really stand out.
Think about how to make your focal point really stand out. Credit: Crabtree, Matthew

3. Buy a Portable Tripod

Tripods are useful in almost any situation. They give you a chance at a steady shot, reduce blur, and mean you can use a longer exposure time. A portable tripod should be on every travel photographer’s shopping list. Try to purchase one that is lightweight yet robust.

4. Take Candid Shots

Candid shots are incredibly effective at conveying emotion. If you can capture your subject in their natural state, you can show their thoughts and feelings through your image. It’s not an easy skill to master, but it can be incredibly rewarding. Just make sure you don’t get too invasive with your candids.

5. Invest in Some Good Lenses

A good lens can make a huge difference to your photography. Although expensive, a well-made piece of glass can be as transformative as a whole new camera. A wide-angle lens is always good for landscapes, while a 50mm prime lens can be great for portrait and street photography. Consider the types of locations you’ll be visiting and plan accordingly. 

6. Get Close to Your Subject

Amateur photographers will often rely on their zoom lens to adjust their field of view. Although this can be the only way at times, you should try to move around and get as close to your subject as possible. It will make for a better shot. Avoid any form of digital zoom (rather than optical), as it will reduce the quality of your images.

travel photography guide. Get close to your subject and fill the frame.
Get close to your subject and fill the frame. Credit: Crabtree, Matthew

7. Take Your Time

Despite the fact you might feel pressured to get all the good shots at once, it’s better to slow down and think about the tips in this travel photography guide. Doing so allows you to think about what’s important in a scene and set yourself. This measured approach will give you a better composition and hopefully reduce the amount of blur. 

8. Tell a Story

What is it that’s interesting about a particular scene? You should ask yourself this when composing your photos. Try to bring out the personality, or excitement, or calmness of your settings. Give the viewer something to be interested in.

9. Use a Polarizing Filter

If you’re going somewhere sunny with a lot of blue skies, a polarizing filter can come in very useful. They can help darken skies, keep reflections in check, and reduce the amount of glare you get from bodies of water. Such a filter can make a significant difference to the final outcome.

travel photography guide. A polarizing filter brings out the deep blue of clear skies.
A polarizing filter brings out the deep blue of clear skies. Credit: Crabtree, Matthew

10. Consider Framing

Background and foreground are important parts of your composition; they can make or break a picture. Think about your depth of field. Do you need a slightly blurred background to contrast your subject? Or does the foreground need to give a sense of perspective?

11. Look for the Little Things

If you’re visiting particularly touristy spots, you will likely end up with some very similar pictures to everyone else there. Although there’s nothing wrong with this, you may want to bring out some lesser-seen elements of your destination. They can prove to be far more interesting and spectacular than the main event.

travel photography guide. Look for the little things that made your trip special.
Look for the little things that made your trip special. Source: thephototeam.co.uk

12. Get Up Early

Early morning light can make for some of the best conditions for photography. You’ll also find that many popular spots are a lot quieter at this time.

13. Practice. A lot.

Taking good photographs takes a lot of practice. You should bring your camera with you almost everywhere, and use it whenever the situation allows. Take some test shots and make adjustments while you’re out and about, and pay attention to how these changes affect the final result.

14. Seek the Road Less Traveled

This links back to point 11 of this quick travel photography guide. If you plan on showing off your photographs, try to find places and points of interest that are unique to your trip. You can bring out the personality of your adventures in doing so, and have some great memories to share.

Getting off the beaten track can produce some excellent results. travel photography guide
Getting off the beaten track can produce some excellent results. Source: Crabtree, Matthew

15. Change Your Perspective

Try getting up high or down low when you’re taking your shots. A new perspective can transform an otherwise ordinary scene.

About Kelli Gardener

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