If you aren’t practised in the world of travel photography, it can be a whole new ball game. Even if you are a good photographer, it can be a totally different experience to travel whilst documenting your destination well. Below I have provided 5 travel photography tips for beginners that will hopefully help anyone with a basic understanding of photography.
Leave some gear at home
[dropcap]C[/dropcap]hances are that if you’re just starting to dip your toes into the travel photography world, you aren’t going on a trip where you will be shooting 99% of the time. This means that you will probably be taking some time to relax and enjoy your adventure, as you should. This also means that you may not want to carry 30 pounds of gear around with you at all times. Travel photography is often about being in the right place at the right time, so you have to be ready when it happens. Bring your camera everywhere with you and pick 2 of your favourite lenses, perhaps a mid-range zoom and a long one. Otherwise you will not want to bring it out with you everywhere, AND you will regret packing so much when it comes time to move on to the next location.
Avoid nasty window reflections
[dropcap]W[/dropcap]e’ve all been there. Gazing longingly out the window of a bus, with no control over where you can stop to get out and photograph that gorgeous landscape. Sometimes you just NEED to get that shot. It’s just a half inch of reflective glass making your life difficult. Not to worry, all you really need is a black jacket! Just cover up the area around your camera, get your lens as close to the window as possible if not ON the window (not recommend on very bumpy roads), and shoot. This works in buildings and on planes, trains, and auto-mobiles. That is of course as long as the glass itself doesn’t have a coloured tint, bird poo or bug goo that you can’t reach out and clean off.
[dropcap]I[/dropcap] can’t travel without my filters. Even if you don’t do a lot of landscape photography, you shouldn’t go to a beautiful destination without capturing the scenery. Some people swear by a UV protective filter, but I guess I live dangerously despite having had one save my lens after a motorbike accident. Personally, I swear by a polarizer. Those gorgeous blue skies can be even richer with colour when you put on a polarizing filter! They can also cut reflections in water, wet foliage, and even window glass (if you don’t have a black jacket).
My other filter of choice is a graduated neutral density filter. The beauty of these is that they balance a scene by darkening only part of it by 1 stop, 2 stops, 3 stops, etc.. This comes in handy when you can’t properly expose a dark foreground with a bright sky. Think sunsets! There are cheap filters out there that create colour casts and get scratched easily, so I highly recommend the higher quality ones that are worth the extra dough!
Tripods are a must
[dropcap]H[/dropcap]ow many times have you gazed upon a spectacular city at night and not been able to capture it? Probably at least once as a beginner. Night cityscapes are only the beginning of what you can do with a tripod. Consider how helpful they would be for stars, macro photography, dark interior architecture, long exposures, and even selfies! I personally use tripods the most for my long exposure waterscapes, giving a mystical feeling to a scene. Any tripod will do in most cases, as long as it can support your camera. I recommend spending some money on this as well. Find one that is compact, yet sturdy enough not to be lifted off by the wind. Some of them even come with clamps, like the Gorillapod.
A sense of place
[dropcap]F[/dropcap]inally, if you’re serious about travel photography, a good rule of thumb is to think about all aspects of a destination when you document a place. You are a photojournalist, a portrait photographer, food photographer, wildlife photographer, and landscape photographer. I still tend to focus on landscapes when I travel, so I break this rule often. It can be difficult to remind yourself constantly to photograph what you may not be as interested in, but it’s important. You need to tell the story of a place to really convey what it is like to be there. After all, travel photography is all about inspiring travel, isn’t it?
Here are a few photos from a photo essay on travelling to Malta.
Have you got any tips to add? Or a piece of equipment you can’t shoot without? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below. Thanks for reading.