Travel Photography Unlocked

Tips on Shooting like a Traveler, Not a Tourist

By Alice Reddy

Keep a journal to note down the plan of action and itinerary.
Keep a journal to note down the plan of action and itinerary.

You’re not a tourist – so why take the same cliche travel photos as everyone else?

You are a traveler and you like to go beyond the beaten path and see something new and different. When you take photos of your destination you want to capture the world with fresh eyes and take snaps that are unique and eye-catching.

Here are some tips for unlocking your travel photographer and photographing like a traveler, rather than a tourist.

Plan Ahead

If you are able to, try to plan your photographic excursions in advance. For most locations, the best times to photograph are in the early morning light and during the “golden hour” of the late afternoon.

Photographing during the middle of the day in direct sunlight usually results in washed out colors – although there are some exceptions if you are trying to achieve a specific effect.

Take a look at a map and plan out your route for the day so that you will be in the most photogenic locations at the right time. You can also do a reconnaissance mission the day before you want to shoot. Visit the location and check out the shadows, the position of the sun, etc. This will help you to determine when you want to return later.

Get a Different Perspective

Eiffel tower from different perspectives. Left: Traditional Shot Right: Shot taken from below
Eiffel tower from different perspectives. Left: Traditional Shot Right: Shot taken from below

In order to avoid getting the same travel photo as everyone else, you’ll need to approach your subject from a different perspective. Maybe you can kneel down on the floor close to ground level, or take a photo from a second-floor balcony.

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Or, you can try photographing from a different angle than the attraction is normally seen from. For example, standing directly beneath the Eiffel Tower and looking straight up at its iron latticework.

Hire a Local Guide

Hiring a local guide can help you to navigate your destination more successfully and can also help you to get better photos.

For example, a guide who speaks the language may be able to ask people in the market or in a religious ceremony for their permission to photograph them. A wildlife guide when hiking in a natural park will have a trained eye and will be able to spot fascinating animals, birds, and plants that you might have missed.

Read Location Specific Photography Tips

Read location specific photography tips.
Read location specific photography tips.

When you are spending a lot of time and money to travel to somewhere spectacular, you don’t want to miss the opportunity to take the best possible photos. That is why it is worth getting your hands on a specific guide to photographing that location.

For example, Erik Stensland has been shooting Rocky Mountain National Park for 10 years and he has compiled his experience into an ebook about the best possible locations for landscape photography in the park.

This would be a handy guide to read before shooting in that location.

These are just a few important tips that you can keep in mind for improving your travel photography.

Similarly, when you are out shooting on the streets, it’s important to keep a few rules of thumb in mind, or else you can land yourself in trouble.

Free Photo Ebooks

Street Faces: How To Shoot Street Photography Portraiture and The Street Photographer’s Collective  are two free ebooks from PhotoWhoa that shed light on the nitty gritty’s of street photography and how to get the best shots.

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This would be a handy guide to read before shooting in that location.

If you can approach your travel photography with the right techniques and strategies, you will be able to take well-thought-out photos that will really capture the atmosphere and unique character of your destination.

For more great travel photo tips, this T rave l Photographer’s Handbook by Tom Ang is on sale now.

 Alice Reddy is a Photography  aficionado, writer, and a Foosball champ. She spends most of her time at researching and talking about photography products. She loves traveling and capturing the essence of it in her photographs. If you wish to talk to her, you can tweet her at @photowhoa.


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