Essential Tips on How to Take the Best Travel Photographs

There are those moments in your life that you would always cherish. You would want to relive every second of those special moments. Travel photography is a perfect way of keeping the best memories of the exotic places that you have visited in the universe. Apart from just keeping the best memories of your trip, travel photography earns you some bragging rights. How would you prove to your friends or colleagues that you visited some of the locations that you claim? You can only do so by showing them the best photos.

One thing to remember about travel photography is that a little bit more effort can be worth a lot. Simply because you may only visit some places once in your lifetime, so getting good shots is even more important. You may never have another chance to visit that exotic location again. However, with the right photography practices, you will be able to get the best photos. Here are the essential tips that you can use for travel photography.

1. Knowledge is key

If you are traveling to a foreign land or to a place that you have very little information about, spare your time and effort to do some research. Try to be familiar with the famous landmarks, indigenous cultures and attractive features that are worth a photograph. Do not forget to research about the people who live in the location and try to dig deep about their unique characteristics. Don't worry about the sources of information as they are more than what you will need. Maybe your friends have visited the place in the past. What do they say about the place? The internet is full of travel guide books and blogs. Use them. Google Image and social media platforms such as Instagram can do a better job for you.

Abercrombie Lane in Sydney is a perfect example of an amazing photo opportunity not everyone will know about. Image courtesy of The Canvas Factory blog.
2. Sharpen your tools

With travel photography, you never know what to expect. Things happen so fasten and if you dilly dally, you will miss the right moments to take photographs. Being ready means that all the tools that are used to take photographs should be set. Your camera should always be with you during the trip so that you can use it any moment that you will want. Its accessories such as batteries and memory cards should be in a perfect condition. The batteries should be fully charged, and the storage locations should have enough space. The best shots are taken during those random or unexpected moments.

3. Dress for the trip

Little inconveniences can turn your photography session chaotic. One of the things that can inconvenience you is the mode of dressing. Imagine a scenario where you are forced to rush to the hotel room so as to get an ideal dress that will look good in the photo. Another scenario is maybe the terrain from which you would like to take the photos does not go well with the clothes that you are wearing. Maybe you would like to take photos while on a hilly location, but your clothes prevent you from climbing the hills. Choose clothes that will not limit your flexibility. At the same time, ensure that you will look good in those clothes without offending the culture of the locals. The simple example is of course to be aware of instances when head covering is expected for women, and to comply with that when necessary.

Though hijabs and head coverings are controversial topics, it is far better to observe local custom and have a great holiday than make a political statement and cause yourself a lot of hassle. Image courtesy of Herald Sun
4. Lighting matters

Every time is not a photography time. There are times when you can capture the best shots of the exotic locations while at other times you will be getting low-quality images. It all depends on the lighting aspect of the photography, and if you don't give the attention that it deserves, then you may end up with photos that you will never what to look twice. In some locations, you can get the best shots during the morning hours or at sunset. This does not apply to all the locations that you will visit. Trial and error method can help you to deal with the lighting aspect of photography but once you need to avoid hours that will result to undesirable lighting effect.

5. Include the locals

Travel photography cannot be complete if it lacks local flavor in it. Try to incorporate the locals into your photos. Does it sound complex? Including the locals should not give you trouble. All you need is to talk to some few locals and ask for permission to include them in your photographs. Be careful not to act like a spy; your vacation can turn into a big mess. Even if you have a camera with powerful lens, don't take the shots while you are miles away. Approach the locals and ask them in a friendly and polite way. Put a smile and respect their culture. If the language barrier is standing on your way, use simple gestures and signs.

Australian Indigenous Aboriginals in traditional garb. Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons
6. Avoid distractions

One thing about travel photography is that most of the times you may not be in control of what appears on the photos. The camera will capture all the features that are within the view. However, you can deploy some technical skills to eliminate the distractions that will make your photos undesirable. Ensure that the subject of the photograph can be easily distinguished from the undesirable background regardless of its size or position. One easy trick that you can apply is to zoom on the subject. Another trick is to reduce the distance between the camera and the target. Some of the technical tricks that can work include shooting in the manual mode and working with a large aperture.

7. Be wary of the weather

They kind of weather at your location may have an impact on your travel photography. This means that while planning for travel photography, you need to consider weather pattern even though sometimes it can be very unpredictable. A misty and gloomy weather can dampen the moods of the photo while ultra-bright sunlight can have effects on the lighting. Bad weather should not spell doom to your photography. You can still go ahead and capture those best moments. Do you fear that rain will destroy your camera? Buy rain covers and waterproof lens.

8. The essence of time

In the world of travel photography, the early bird captures the best photos. Getting at your target location early enough will give you plenty of time to get the best shots. You will not be in any hurry. As you already know, you may not be the only person who thinks that a specific location is beautiful. Thousands of other people may be having the same view so they may also throng there to get the best shots. Going to the site early will shield you from dealing with human traffic which can interfere with your photography.

9. Don't be in a hurry to shoot

Every photo has a special message that needs to be conveyed in a special way. Before taking a particular shot, there is always that special feature or message that you would like to capture. Hurrying up things will make you forget about that feature, and at the end of it, all the message that you wanted will not be well captured. Take some good time to think before making that shot. Maybe you would have to change your position, zoom or even alter the shutter speed so as to capture unique features of the subject.