Important Travel Photography Tips for Local & International Trips

Important Travel Photography Tips

Taking photos on a trip is a very exciting venture. You’re about to visit a new place with a completely different culture, practice and, sometimes, even a new language.

You can be going on a domestic trip but, that place will already be quite different from where you live, and those places can already have a different culture compared to yours. The same can apply to trips abroad except you may have the additional factor of culture shock because the language and practices are so different.

Whether you’re going somewhere domestically or abroad there are a few things you must prepare for. Here are beginner travel photography tips when visiting a new place:

Most Important Travel Photography Tips

1. Choose the right device to capture images

When you’re traveling to a new place for the first time, the first thought that can come to mind for a photographer is what kind of camera to bring. When you’re at home, bringing a camera around town is fine because you know where to go and what form of transportation to take. However, you want to enjoy your trip as well as being able to take good photos. You want to strike a balance between taking quality photos and enjoying your trip.

Lugging around a large and bulky camera isn’t any fun. You won’t be able to enjoy your trip because you’ll be worried about carrying around your equipment all day. Choose a camera that is portable and easy to bring around. A point and shoot camera is a good idea when traveling because you don’t have to bring out the camera and an additional lens to take a photo. Just point and shoot.

You can also opt to use your smartphone camera. Many smartphone cameras are so sophisticated now. Some people prefer using their smartphone cameras to produce their photos because some smartphones use the same lenses used in DSLR cameras.

If you want to bring a DSLR then, you should be prepared to have the right equipment to carry it around. Make sure the camera is easily accessible when you’re traveling because you could end up spending more time looking for your camera instead of taking the photo.

Whatever camera you choose, look for a device with a camera that will match your needs and won’t prevent you from shooting photos easily.

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2. Learn the settings of your device

Another important part to take note of is the settings of your device. When you know the settings of your camera, you won’t have to worry about fidgeting with your camera to find the best setting for your photo.

If you know about the different settings of your device, you will know what setting to use for a certain type of photo.

To shoot the ideal photo, you should begin by setting your camera to manual mode. Using manual mode gives you more freedom over the composition of your photo.

Shooting on a sunny day? Decrease the aperture so that the light entering your lens will be limited. Taking a shot at night? Increase the aperture and make the shutter speed longer to bring in as much light as possible before you take your photo.

Learning the different settings of your device’s camera will help you spend more time taking photos instead of fumbling around with the settings of the camera.

3. Use natural light

The best lighting for your photos won’t always come from your camera. Using natural lighting can go a long way with making your subjects look good. Learning about how light affects your images can completely change the way your images look. Shooting photos against the light will give you images that give subjects a warm halo around them.

Natural light will also make your subjects look better than any artificial studio light could. Using an artificial light means you will have to carry another piece of bulky equipment and that won’t be helpful on your trip. The best part about natural light is that it’s free! You don’t have to spend anything on lighting because nature is providing you the light you need for your photo.

There are multiple ways to shoot with natural light. You will have a different photo every time depending on how the light of day is hitting your subject. Websites like Canva provide guides on how you can use natural light to take great photos.

What if there’s no natural light?
Shooting with natural light has a lot of benefits but, there’s a challenge that appears when natural light is not available at all. You can use your camera’s flash but, that will make your photos unappealing.

To shoot photos without natural light, you can use artificial light sources or adjust the settings of your camera. Look for a nearby light source such as light from a shop and shoot photos near there or bring a light of some kind to illuminate your subject.

If you can’t use artificial lights, you can adjust the settings of your camera. Switch to manual mode and look for these three settings: Aperture, ISO and, Shutter Speed.

Each setting will determine how bright or how dark your photo will look.  The slower the shutter speed and the wider the aperture, the more light will enter your frame during low-light situations. However, be careful with ISO. Using a low ISO value won’t show a pitch-black image while a high ISO value will create a grainy photo.

Adjusting the three settings to shoot photos in low light situations requires you to mix and match the different levels until you can shoot your ideal photo.

4. Ask for permission before taking photos

When you’re taking photos in a new place for the first time you can easily be tempted to take pictures of everything left and right. Sometimes, people could be included in the photos. Most of the time, people won’t mind you taking pictures especially when you’re in a public place.

However, this isn’t always the case. There will be interesting people to take photos of wherever you go. It is important to ask for a person’s permission before you take their photo. Trying to take photos sneakily manner would make you look like a rude tourist and you would be invading the person’s privacy.

The same idea applies when you’re taking pictures in certain public locations like museums and temples. Some places require permits before you can shoot photos while others don’t. Not all museums would allow you to use the flash function of your camera because this could damage the integrity of the item on exhibit. You should get permission from the proper authorities before you start taking photos as a sign of courtesy and respect.

Make it a habit to ask for permission so that you will be polite to the locals. If they allow you to take their photo, make sure to show them the photo to see if they are satisfied with the photo. Sharing the photo shows common courtesy and gives the person an idea of what you are trying to create with your photos.

Always ask for permission when taking photos because it’s a good habit and it will show that you have good manners.

Sometimes, your subjects may have some blemishes on their skin that will require you to do a little bit of clean up. You can make your subjects look their best with the help of a little photo retouching.

There are creative agencies such as Paper Boat Creative that provide high-end photo retouching services to their clients. You will find a lot of information on the website including blogs and features on what you can do with photo retouching and how you can improve the looks of your subjects.

5. Enjoy the experience

Going on vacation doesn’t always mean you need to hold your camera in hand all the time. There will be moments where you should let go of your camera and be in the moment.

You can get to know the people in the area before you take a photo. Taking photos is one part of visiting a new place but, learning about the place and experiencing the local culture can help you compose a better photo because you have a better understanding of the practices.

When you know the back story behind a photo you will be able to tell a better story compared to just taking a photo without knowing the story behind the subject.

Enjoy the experience. Admire the scenery occasionally and immerse yourself in the local culture will help you take better photos later on.

It doesn’t matter how close or how far you are
Taking photographs in a new place isn’t just about adjusting the settings of your camera. Another part of shooting a photograph is about telling a story. You can apply these tips whether you’re on a domestic trip or going abroad.

Every place has its own identity and tells a different story. From the town on the other side of the state to a city on a completely different coast, preparing your equipment for your trip and practicing good habits will result in a trip where you can spend more time taking photos and enjoying the experience.

Never forget that the photoshoot should come second to your trip. There are times for you to simply be in the moment instead of capturing a moment. When you’re taking photos, you can feel disconnected because you were too busy taking the photo.

Yes. Taking photos is important but, immersing yourself is more important because you are living the moment and not just capturing it.

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