There’s nothing like travelling to a dream destination to inspire your photography or reignite your passion for the art. The bright blues of Chefchaouen, warm yellows of India’s Golden City, the icy whites of Iceland’s jaw-dropping landscapes – it’s enough to turn even the most casual happy-snapper into a wannabe pro.
When it comes to capturing your dream trip in a series of great photos, you want to be prepared. So I’ve compiled a few of my top tips for travel photography.
How to Get Great Photos When You Travel
1 Make Sure You Have The Right Gear
My essential travel setup consists of a Fujifilm XT-3, with an 18mm-55mm kit lens and a 35mm fixed lens. I chose this setup because it’s light and easy enough to carry around everywhere – from a food market to a mountain trail. For safari shots you might want a zoom lens, but if you’re just looking for something to use while you’re travelling, this is a good setup. These two versatile lenses are perfect for switching out between shooting landscapes or cityscapes and people shots or food. I do love shooting on a wider lens, but when you’re running around sightseeing, taking public transport and squeezing between constant crowds, smaller is better.
2 Always Back Up Your Pictures
I also always travel with my La Cie hard drive with me, and immediately store all the photos I take when I get back to my accommodation. You never know what could happen – your bag could get snatched or you could drop your camera in the ocean – so it’s always better to be safe than sorry. To be extra-extra sure I’ve got backups, I normally send my favourite pictures of the day to my phone using my camera’s wifi too. That way I know I have three copies of my best shots.
3 Show A Little Of Yourself
I like to be in my travel photos, so if I’m travelling alone, I’ll take a lightweight tripod everywhere I go. I’ll take time to set up my shot before stepping in and using my phone to shoot using my camera’s Wi-Fi and mobile app. If you’re too shy to do this, I recommend looking around for a couple of travellers who are taking pictures of each other, offering to get a shot of them together, then asking them to just press the shutter release 10 times while you’re moving around in front of the camera. It takes several shots to eventually get to one great picture! If I know I’m going to be out and about without access to my laptop for a few days, I’ll always have my LaCie DJI Copilot which is an ingenious hard drive that allows me to backup all my pictures without plugging my card into a laptop.
4 Always Be Respectful of Others
Before I shoot any pictures of people, I’ll ask if the subject minds being photographed. It can feel intimidating, but offering a quick smile and a “do you mind?” while pointing at the camera is easy to understand in any language. It’s especially important to remember this when shooting pictures of kids – I’ll always ask the adult with them whether it’s okay before I take a picture.
5 How To Get Night Shots
When shooting at night, a tripod is essential. Use whichever one of your lenses has the lowest aperture. Take your aperture down to the lowest possible setting, and set your ISO up to between 800 and 1600, depending on how dark it is. Set your shutter to stay open for 10 seconds. Set a 2 second timer so that pressing the shutter release doesn’t cause your image to blur.
6 Find The Best Light
I try to shoot at golden hour – the hour just after sunrise and just before sunset. This light creates ideal shooting conditions, with soft golden hues that are great for both landscapes and portraiture. But if you’re shooting in the middle of the day you can take your ISO all the way down to around 400. In bright light you can set your shutter speed to around 125/1000. A polariser will also help you to work with bright light by filtering the harsh sunlight.
7 Add The Final Touch in Editing
Great editing can really take your photography to the next level. I use Lightroom on desktop and mobile, and edit using TBA Presets to create a uniform aesthetic across all my images. You can create your own look and feel in Lightroom and save it out as a preset to add to all your images, or you could buy presets made by your favourite photographers and adjust them to suit your images. Using presets cuts down the time it takes to edit your images and helps you to create a style for your own photography.