10 Must-Know Travel Photography Tips

What do you do when you’re visiting a place that everyone has already photographed? You might as well just buy a post card and save yourself the trouble, right? Wrong!

You want to show people pictures that give your perspective of the trip. You want them to feel like they were there with you. You want them to feel like they have to visit that very place tomorrow.

Most these tips will help you get amazing – and even one-of-a-kind – photographs of the places you travel.  Some will also just aid your sanity!

#1: Pack light.

Use a zoom lens that covers wide-angle to telephoto. You don’t want to spend all day switching lenses and wishing you didn’t have lug around such a big case. Also, make sure it can fit in a carry-on bag if you’re flying. Don’t risk checking you camera case and having all your gear stolen.

#2: Invest in a good tripod.

You’ll likely be shooting a lot of architecture and landscapes.

#3: Fast Lens is a Must

Make sure you take a fast lens so you can shoot in low light where they don’t allow flash photography. Most museums you visit won’t allow flash photography.

#4: Find and Appreciate the Details

Instead of trying to get a picture of a whole building or scene, find the details and photograph them. They will be more unique.

#5: Take pictures of signs before you start shooting

Then it will be easy to remember where you were later. No sign? Write it on a note card and shoot it.

Travel Photography Tips

#6: Invest in a GPS Device

You may want to invest in a GPS device that sits in your camera’s hot shoe. Then you’ll know exactly where you took that picture!

#7: Move!

Don’t set up your tripod the first place you see. Can you find a more interesting view? Is there something around that corner or wall?

#8: The Monopod Loophole.

If you’re at a place that does not allow tripods, use a monopod. See if you can get away with it.

#9: Choose a theme.

For example, if you like dogs, take pictures of dogs you see – being sure to include interesting backgrounds. You could choose mailboxes, or things that are red… the possibilities are endless. This is a fun way to spice up your photography experience on your trip.

#10: Capture famous landmarks first.

Travel Photography Tips

Obviously your friends are going to expect to see images of the famous landmarks, so take those first. Then you can just enjoy the rest of the trip. If you want a fresh perspective on a famous landmark:

  • Have something, or someone, else be your subject with the landmark in the background.
  • Capture the reflection of the landmark in a window or water.
  • Only show part of the landmark.
  • Take a picture of it in different weather: shoot when the sky is different than all the postcards in the gift shop.
  • Another option is to try a different angle or a shoot it from a place people don’t normally go – like from the top of another building.
  • Try taking pictures from your hotel room. Turn off all the lights in your room so you don’t get reflections, and put your lens as close to the glass as you can. And do NOT use your flash! (Did I even have to say that?)
  • Take pictures of food. Sit near a window and use a wide aperture: food shots look good with a shallow depth-of-field.
  • Put people in your pictures. This is the best way to convey the character of an area. Give your photos some soul (the living, breathing people kind of soul)!
  • Do your shooting on a cloudy or rainy day. It makes for great light! And it’s even more likely you’ll capture something different from everyone else.

The Obligatory Travel Slideshow

Imagine people actually begging to see a slideshow of your trip, rather than dodging your offer. Use these tips to make that a reality for you!

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