What’s going on, guys, in this article I’m writing about Travel photography tips for beginners. And also, is explicitly anything from gear to my philosophy while travelling.
What I hope that you get out of it by the end of this tutorial is not only better photos and better travel experience.
But that the photo that you look back on once the trip is made. Will actually like ignite some memories, bring back some nostalgia, versus just another pretty landscape photo.
So, let’s dive a little bit into this tutorial.
Covers every single genre of photography
And one of my favourite things about travel photography is explicit that it covers almost every single genre of photography,
From landscape, portrait and people, street photography, food photography, architecture, and so forth.
So ultimately travel photography is one of the best ways to hone in on your craft and your skillset.
You will get better by travelling and taking photos.
So, this is an important note. These are not universal truths, the tips that I’m going to be writing about next, it’s just things that I found has made my travel experience better, and hopefully will improve your photos on your next trip.
Set expectations with the group
I’m writing about travel photography tips for beginners and Number one, before we get into the meat of this tutorial, you have to set expectations with the group that you’re travelling with.
Not everybody is a photographer. If you’re travelling with other photographers, that’s a fantastic experience,
But not everybody wants to take photos of the priority of their trip. So set expectations that it is a priority for you
So, that hopefully, they’ll want to jump on board, or that you have the free time to go and shoot those photos.
Gears for Travel Photography
All right, You are reading about travel photography tips for beginners, and let’s quickly read about gear. It varies from person to person.
Best Camera for Travel Photography
I bring the Sony a7R3. It’s 42 megapixels. That means I can blow those pictures up and print them down the line.
I also can like crop them if there’s like a moose in it, and I just wanna, get the moose.
What is the best lens for travel photography?
All right, let’s read about lenses. What is the best lens for travel photography? The first lens, the 16 to 35 f/2.8G master lens. This is great for landscapes and portraits.
The next lens is I usually bring a prime. Now, it varies from trip to trip. I go anywhere from like a 35 mil or a 50 millimetre or an 85 millimetre, depending on what I think the location will have.
So, I’ll always bring at least one prime. Now, for a telephoto lens, I bring a 100 to 400. I’ve noticed that this is my favourite telephoto lens to bring. I just like having the extra distance.
Let’s say I’m shooting a moose and I want to make sure that I get that moose in the frame.
I like having a long lens so I can have some distance. I also like getting details in the landscaping, actually getting close up to it rather than getting the full picture. In that case, let’s say we’re shooting mountains.
I love getting the peaks of it. So, having a 100 to 400 millimetre is super useful in this situation.
I also bring a drone on most of my trips, depending on what the drone laws are in that country.
Let’s say for example if we’re in Banff, Alberta, and we’re in a national park, you can’t bring a drone there.
So, we usually don’t bring a drone to those locations because it’s just extra weight.
But let’s say you’re in a country that you can bring a drone. I love having an aerial and having the chance to get a different perspective while travelling.
So, a drone is usually a must if it’s allowed.
Bring a nice light travel tripod. You can find some pretty cheap ones on Amazon, and there are also carbon fibre ones that are made by different brands.
But in this case what’s useful about having a tripod is that yes, you can shoot landscapes with it, but also if you use a wireless trigger or your phone with like the Sony app, you can actually take photos of yourself and do things like advanced selfies. Ultimately, not everybody wants to bring a DSLR with them, and the phone is just fine.
Certain lenses for phone
There are individual lenses that you can attach to a phone. Moment makes some great ones there.
But if you don’t want to buy those, just bring your phone and just remember it’s all about lighting and composition. This is the best camera because it’s the one that’s on you all the time.
And my last thing is making notes during your trip. So maybe bring some field notes, a little notepad, and a small pen to make some notes, or on your phone if you have it with you.
Just make a few notes about your experience while travelling because it’s great to not only attach those to Instagram posts down the line but just to remember what was happening when you were taking that photo or in that experience.
A little pro tip is always having your camera ready while you’re travelling. So, if you just have a camera strap, you can just like sling it around you, just have it by your side all the time.
That’s generally what I like to do. Or you can get one of those capture clips that Peak Design makes.
How to find great locations to go and photograph
All right, lets read the next important thing about travel photography tips for beginners. So the big subcategory that we’re gonna be talking about right now is locations and how to find great locations to go and photograph.
Now, obviously, you can go onto Google and search all these things, or go to like the bookstore, but my favourite way to find locations is just using modern technology.
I browse so much on Instagram. I look up the location and start looking through. And the best part about this is that you get the high-ranking photos of like the banger locations all the way down to locals just taking photos at their favourite coffee spot.
What I love about this experience while browsing through on Instagram is that you can find the things that resonate with you.
So, if you want to go and shoot food or you want architecture photos, or you want like a little bit of an off-the-beaten-path experience, you can find those locations just by browsing Instagram.
Additionally, if you see a location that you love and the geotag is not there, DM that person, be like,
“Hey, I’m heading to your country.”
“This looks like an awesome coffee shop.”
“Where is that?”
And in most cases, those people will DM you back and give you that location, and maybe you might even have the chance to meet up with a local and go and shoot with them.
So. remember that Instagram is your best friend while you’re travelling. The next part in finding good locations is that think back to anybody that you might know that might have family in those locations.
So. when we went to Scotland a few years ago, I had a friend that had an uncle that lived there, and I was like,
“Hey, maybe your uncle can give a few suggestions of what he loves around Glasgow, Scotland.”
And then she was actually like,
“He would love to take you around Glasgow, Scotland, in his old vintage black taxi cab. That’s just a thing he likes to do on the side, is just pick up friends in an old black taxi cab and drive them around.”
So. when we went to Scotland, we had a one-on-one experience with a local who drove us around to his favourite locations, and we got to see things from a local’s perspective, which is just like game-changing.
This is a little pro tip that’s used by a lot of travellers.
Check the postcard
If you want to find good locations, the moment you land in a new country at an airport, go to the convenience store or the local convenience store nearby and check the postcard rack and see the locations that you like and then you can grab them, and you can ask where they are.
Additionally, once you’re checking out at the convenience store, ask somebody,
“How do I get to these locations,” and additionally, “are there any locations that you love as a local here?”
And most of the time you can get all the places that you want to go to just by going to the convenience store.
And my absolute favourite thing to do while travelling is to just straight up to get lost. Drive down like different random roads that you’re just like, oh, that road speaks to me.
I will follow that road, and maybe there will be some moose down that road. Get lost in certain cities, because that’s the best way to actually find great photo locations and also have great travel experience.
So yeah. Don’t over plan. Leave a lot of room to just like have fun and get lost. Just remember that you are a guest in someone else’s country, so respect their land and their property and that location. Be a respectful traveller.
Don’t follow the crowds.
The next point. Don’t follow the crowds. My one tip is that if you’re going to a new location, do your research, check out the signs, and try and find an ulterior route.
This spot has no one here, and a spot just down there is full of crowds. So, we got epic shots, and we have it all to ourselves.
Don’t just shoot landscapes.
The next point, don’t just shoot landscapes. It’s very easy while you’re travelling to want to just go to the pretty locations.
But your travel experience is so much more than that. So, remember to shoot other things while you’re travelling.
A great example of this is that when we went to the Azores for the first time, which is a group of islands off the coast of Portugal, really like islands off of Portugal.
One of my favourite things that we are doing, while we were travelling that time, is I literally shot everything, from the people that we met to animals to off-the-beaten-path to landscapes to food to coffee experiences.
I captured everything, and when I look back on that trip, I was like,
“Wow, that was a really fun trip.”
“It wasn’t just a landscape shot.”
So, remember, don’t just shoot landscapes. Additionally, go and spend some time with the locals.
Carry some like pocket change
One of my favourite pro tips and the things that I like to do while we’re travelling is I like to carry some like pocket change of like the local currency.
For example, on our last trip to the Azores, we saw this older woman who was actually building a fence, and she just had this like an amazing look.
So, I trudge up to her, and I had five Euros in my pocket, I said, “Do you mind if I just take
“a couple of photos of you?”
“Here’s five Euros.”
And she was like,
“Yep, no problem.”
And we shot these amazing portraits of this woman while she was like in her hometown, in this really aesthetic location with fog, and they’re some of my favourite photos I’ve ever taken of a local in that place, and it only cost me five Euros.
Patient while you’re travelling.
All right, the next tip, it’s very important to be patient while you’re travelling. You’re not always gonna get the exact moment that you want, and you might have to wait for it.
On a recent trip, when we went to Alberta, we took the gondola to the top of Banff Mountain, and as we got out of the facility, a ram came around the corner.
I was like,
“I’ve never shot a photo of ram before. I need this photo.”
But it decided that it just wanted to hang under the awning of this facility, and I had to wait 25 minutes until its head popped out. I really wanted a photo of a ram in nature, versus it just hanging out underneath the facility, so I had to wait for it. Once I was patient, 25 minutes later. That was worth the wait.
The next point that I’m writing about travel photography tips for beginners is the art direction. Now if photography is a priority for you while you’re travelling, you might wanna bring some props along to really boost up your photos.
You could set up a blanket like this, a nice little leather bag, vintage camera, and really put that person or that viewer in that moment where they can imagine themself sitting on that blanket enjoying this view.
And we were chatting about this a little bit earlier is that it adds a unique perspective and spin on popular locations.
So, everybody comes here and shoots these photos, whether it’s the mountains, whether it’s somebody standing in the frame, but who’s taking the extra effort to add in blankets with aesthetic or patterns or colours.
Like, why did you pick this specific blanket?
– Yeah so, we’ve already got nice, turquoise water in the back. The mountain is obviously the focal point of this shot.
So just adding a neutral blanket into the shot can add just a little bit extra into that shot without taking away from that background cause you know I’ll use a rug that’s bright and colourful when I need to add colour into balls,
All right I’m going to jump and start writing a little bit about wardrobe. Because I think it plays a lot in terms of art direction and how to make, your photos stand out a little bit more. So, let’s read about the wardrobe back home.
Clothing and art direction plays a big role, but it’s also important to have practical clothing things that are comfortable to go and travel in.
When I’m shooting travel and adventure style photos, I usually like to blend practicality and aesthetics, in terms of my wardrobe.
I usually like to Nautical some sort of like rain or a jean jacket so that it matches the tones in the landscape.
Now not only are they beauteous pleasing, but they’re also quite practical; they have tons of pockets on them so I can actually put like lens caps in them or even lenses or camera bodies.
You need stretchy pants while you’re travelling. Additionally, if you’re a photographer, you need to get nice and low angles.
Or let’s say you’re like, you’re trying to shoot certain things you’re like, and you’re trying to get the shot. Doing that in jeans is like near impossible. You usually sweat in jeans. I don’t sweat in these things at all.
These are like great travelling, adventure pants.
Shooting on different cameras
Now we’re going to talk about shooting on different cameras. Not everybody wants to bring a DSLR with them. Sometimes, they like to bring a film camera.
All right we’re gonna quickly chat about camera settings. Now specifically, it’s very easy as a photographer that if you have a fast lens like an f1.4 or an f2.8, to always shoot shallow depth of field.
But this can actually work against you. Because if you look at these photos later on during your trip, the background might be so blurry and so soft that you don’t even know there’s a landscape behind you.
So, remember to pick the appropriate f-stop for the photo that you’re taking. I would encourage that you actually shoot at like 5.6 or 9 so that you actually get the background in focus.
But just remember to pick the appropriate f-stop. I’m going to quickly touch on safety for a second.
Naturally, as you’re travelling as a photographer, you have gear with you. It could be expensive gear.
And most camera bags scream, “I’m a camera bag!” And when someone sees that they go, “Hey, that guy has money. I wanna take that stuff.”
So be careful.
Try to use discreet camera bags. Stuff that doesn’t look like a camera bag.
One of my favourite bags, in this case, is the Atlas camera bags cause they just look like normal travel backpacks.
When you’re holding a camera, the obvious signifier to other people is that you’re a tourist which means that you don’t know much about that area, you don’t know much about that country, which means you can easily be taken advantage of or robbed.
So just be careful while you’re travelling with your camera gear.
Backup Files twice
My last note about travel photography tips for beginners, the most important part of your travel experience when it comes to photography is the files and the things that you are capturing, those precious photos. So, make sure that you back them up twice.
And a little pro tip that I give you is having like a little USB that is either on your key chain or add something that you can just slide into a pocket, and store the important files there.
Because those are the most valuable things, you can buy a new camera again, you can get a new camera bag, but you can’t get those photos back.
So yeah guys, those are the Travel photography tips and tricks that I’ve learned over the last couple years as a travel photographer.
Now my last point that I wanna touch on is a bit more of the travel photography tips for beginners.
I think it’s so important to note that in today’s age with social media, it’s easy to just want to go to the banger locations, capture those photos and make that a priority so that you can show it on Instagram and/or social media.
But don’t forget, these are the photos that you’re gonna look back on and then you wanna remember these trips and the experiences that you had.
You wanna try to do the same thing today. Remember Facebook albums, and you could tell an entire store in 30 or 40 photos? Remember to keep that a priority while you’re travelling.
You want these to trigger memories for you, to bring back nostalgia 30 or 40 years down the line.
Use your camera and your skillset to capture and support the memories so that you can look back and relive them again. That’s my final note on travel photography tips for beginners.
Also, don’t forget to read how to choose the right travel insurance article. It will help you find some insurance for travel.