Essential Travel Photography Tips

The holiday season is almost upon us and it’s the perfect time to practice and hone in on your photographic skills. I’m going to share with you a few things that I always consider whenever I’m planning on any travel photography trips.

So let’s get to it…

Choosing where to go

The world opens up endless photo opportunities and depending on the available budget and what you want to photograph, the choice of destination is entirely personal.

When it comes to choosing a place to go I always turn to my best friend, the Internet. There are tons of resources on the Internet and I use Google images extensively to search for images of places that I have in mind. I also check out travel guidebooks, travel brochures, postcards and travel forums to find out as much information as possible about the place I’m planning to visit. I would also ask for advice from fellow photographers, family and friends for general tips.

Planning and preparing for the trip

Once you have decided on a place to visit, then you need to start preparing for the trip. You have searched about the place and have tons of information. The next thing you need to plan is how to get there, where to stay, figure out how long you want to stay, and make a list of places that you would like to photograph once you get there. I always prepare a rough daily itinerary plan of places I want to visit and photograph. I found the rough itinerary plan to be an invaluable resource for me to refer to before and during the trip. Doing this ensures that I will not miss the points of interests that I would like to see and photograph.

Selecting suitable gear to bring

Another important thing to prepare and consider is to bring the right gear for your trip. Obviously you need to have the right balance between carrying suitable gear that will be used in your trip versus bringing all the gear that you own. Remember to consider the destination that you’re going to and the subjects that you intend to photograph.

When it comes to camera gear, the basic kit is a no brainer – DSLR body, batteries, memory cards and so on. However the challenge often comes when you’re deciding which lens to bring. As a general rule, I would almost always carry a prime lens (50mm f/1.8), a wide-angle lens (16-35mm f/4), a midrange zoom lens (24-120mm f/4), and a telephoto lens (70-200mm f/2.8). With these sets of lenses I know that I will be ready to photograph anything in my travel from portraits to landscape and anything in between. In addition I would throw in a light tripod, UV, circular polarising, and ND grad filters.

How to set up your camera

As a DSLR user I will always select the camera’s RAW setting. This setting will take up more memory because it retains more information with each photo capture. It is equivalent to a master negative copy and a RAW file certainly provides more flexibility when it comes to post processing. It allows you to go back in time and post process an image differently.

Other camera settings I always use are the camera’s semi-automatic modes: aperture priority and shutter priority as well as the camera’s manual mode. With certain camera models such as Nikon D7100 or D600 you also have the options to set up user-specific settings, which you can save. When the subject you’re trying to capture demands the use of one of the settings you have saved, then it is just as easy as turning the camera’s shoot mode dial to the desired user setting.