Photographs are some of the most powerful ways to capture memories while you travel. Every area has its own unique culture, scenery and feelings, and travel photography helps you to capture the way you experience the spirit of your destination.
There are several things that separate mediocre travel photography from exceptional captures. Read on for some of the top tips to help you improve your photographs on your next adventure.
1. Check the Weather
Whether you’re setting off on a five-day hike or one of the many premier cruises from Miami, you’ll want to take a look at what the weather will be like while you’re on your trip so you can plan accordingly. Though the forecast can shift when you get there, it would be incredibly unfortunate to plan a photo adventure on a day with inclement weather. As well, knowing the weather ahead of time can help you while you pack to make sure you have the right gear for the conditions.
2. Scout Locations
You don’t want to get back home from an epic vacation only to discover that you didn’t capture one of the more iconic features in the region–only because you didn’t know about it beforehand. Do plenty of research before you even begin to tuck things into your suitcase to locate some of the most photo-worthy sites, as well as the best angles, days and times to capture them.
3. Time It Right
Mid-day sun can work for some spots, but the best natural light is going to be early in the morning and just before the sun goes down. The soft, diffused light of the morning is flattering on both landscapes and subjects, and that time of day means you’re less likely to deal with other photobombing tourists. As well, the final hour before sunset will feature warm, soft light and smoother shadows, which can make a subject seem as dreamy in photos as it is in real life.
4. Pack the Essentials
Though it may seem tempting, it’s probably not a good idea to pack every last piece of photo equipment that you own. In addition to your camera body, a lightweight travel tripod, a few extra batteries, memory cards, film and a couple of lenses should be more than enough to get the shots you’re after. Don’t get too hung up on gear, however, as some of the most beautiful scenes can even be captured with a high-resolution phone or a small point-and-shoot camera.
5. Try Different Compositions
The best travel photographers are committed to ongoing education and trying new things. Experiment with the rule of thirds by framing the same subject in a variety of different ways, or crouch down low to the ground to get a different angle. Some of the best shots were a result of experimentation, so don’t be afraid to move around to try a few different ways of seeing the same thing.
6. Bring Backups
One of the most important things you can bring when you plan to photograph your travel adventures is a few options to back up the shots you take. Consider packing a small portable hard drive and plugging in your memory cards at the end of each day to back them up. As well, you may want to find an online backup location to make sure you still have a copy in case your memory card or hard drive fails.
7. Be Patient
Great photos don’t always just happen by chance. Often, you may find that waiting a few minutes for the sun to peek through the clouds and shine onto a historic building would produce a far superior image than if you clicked the shutter and moved on. Take it slow and look around for conditions that could improve whatever you’re about to capture. With a little patience, you can turn the already potentially beautiful shot you had in mind into a stunning one that will certainly deserve a frame when you get back home.