Travel photo albums this year are going to be very slim. According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, international tourism dropped 22% in the first quarter of 2020, and is predicted to nosedive by 60%–80% for the year. Even so, there’s hope that things can get back to normal in the near future. When that happens we can expect social media to be full of travel pictures again.
If you are a serious traveler though, you want to take more than just social media snaps. In this article we provide five tips on how to take some truly great travel photos.
1. Adjust Your Mindset
Instead of having a taking-pictures-while-traveling mindset, photographer Richard I’Anson recommends you adopt a traveling to take pictures mentality. Put simply, you have to think like a photographer first and traveler second rather than the other way around. “
You’ve got to go out looking to take pictures,” says I’Anson, “rather than just happily snapping away when you come across things.”
This shift in mindset will make a huge difference to your photos, as you’ll put more thought into composing your pictures instead of just clicking away.
2. Mind Your Equipment
For truly stunning photos, you need to invest in the right equipment, especially since different accessories work best for certain types of travel. This doesn’t mean that you need high-end cameras or equipment as today’s smartphones also have the capacity to take great photos that look professional. However, if you want to use a traditional camera there are a few tips that will save you money.
While there is a wide range of photography equipment and accessories available, many lenses will work with your existing model. Multiple lenses are a wise investment, as they can help you take photos at varying angles and distances. This will save you money on having to buy a brand new camera for your trip.
You can then spend that extra money on accessories that can help you take better pictures. Tripods, for instance, are great for still photography as they give you a steady base. Extra battery packs on the other hand, ensure that your camera won’t run out of power, while flashes can help you in low-light shooting conditions.
While this can mean extra weight to lug around, you’ll have all the tools you need for taking great photos.
3. Be a Perfectionist
It’s okay to be perfectionist when it comes to photography. Don’t be satisfied with your first snap… or your second… or your third. That’s because there’s a high probability that you’ll get a better shot after a few tries.
For instance you can try a different angle or use a different lens, get closer or move to the side, and even wait for the light or for the crowd to move so you get the perfect shot. Exhaust all the possibilities you can think of and the results will be something you will be much more satisfied with.
4. Consider the ‘Golden Hour’
Unless you’re a professional travel photographer like Brandon Ballweg, you’re probably unaware of golden hour. It’s that time of day that’s best to take photos, and it’s either during sunrise or during sunset.
“It’s called golden hour because it gives you this gorgeous golden light that just makes everything and everyone look beautiful,” explains Ballweg.
Needless to say, you need to plan your photo-shoots accordingly. And, you can do that by using online tools such as timeanddate.com, which tells you what time the sun will be rising and setting anywhere you are in the world.
If you are at a popular travel destination, shooting at sunrise will give you the best scenes as there will be less people around.
5. Interact with the Environment
Finally, it’s crucial that you engage with your subjects. If you are shooting locals for instance, look to establish some friendly banter, then ask for permission to take their photos.
“The point of traveling is to learn about new places and people,” explains Istanbul-based photojournalist Danielle Villasan. “If you’re always just photographing as an outsider… that translates in the photography.” So, explore your destination and engage where possible.
We hope that this article inspires you to take great photographs the next time you go traveling. If you are feeling inspired please take a look at our travel tips page for more travel related information.