So you are off on holiday, maybe the trip of a lifetime, an Overseas Experience, Gap Year or on that family holiday. Whatever the reason for your travel you want to be able to take amazing photos to capture the places you have been and to capture those memories.
The key to all of this is to ensure that you can get the best out of your holiday or vacation by making sure you have some essential vacation photography tips. For any budding photographer whether you are a professional or an amateur you need to be prepared. Preparation is key to ensure you have everything you need and you are ready to take that photograph.
Vacation Photography Tips – Preparation
Let’s begin ….. it is really important to research where you are going, where are you going to go what photo opportunities are there for you?
Here are some important vacation photography tips, if you are more the professional kind of photographer and taking a lot of expensive cameras and equipment with you, then photograph your equipment next to a newspaper with the date clearly visible.
Also, record your camera serial numbers in case your camera is stolen photocopy and keep the list at home. Ensuring that you do this will make claiming on your travel insurance a lot easier.
Other vacation photography tips are to ensure that you have a bag or carry case that it well padded and easy to carry. You want to be able to get off planes easy without too many bags, also whilst out photographing the amazing sites you want to carry as little as possible and have your camera easily accessible to take that great shot!
This is probably one of the most valuable vacation photography tips I can suggest, this is most important.
No one wants a stolen camera half-way or even almost at the end of your vacation or holiday but it does happen.
I recommend that you take your SD memory card into a photography shop and get them to copy the photos onto two discs.
One you keep separate while you travel and the other disc you send home to your address. This ensures that your valuable memories and photos are safe. You could also save your photos into the Cloud, if you have your own laptop and an internet connection.
One other thing ….. don’t forget a power adapter for the country you are travelling to so you can charge your phone or camera battery.
Just to recap the points above you need to:
- Record camera equipment serial numbers
- Light camera bag with padding
- Back up your SD memory card
The Best Time to Take Photos – Hot Vacation Photography Tip
When you are abroad especially hot spots like Europe it is important that you get up early to take those vacation photos. I would recommend getting up at 6am to be ready to go by 7am to get those great photos before all the other tourists arrive which is typically around 8am.
Why get up just to “beat” the tourists you might be wondering well this is where another one of my top vacation photography tips comes in …. the light at 6am in the morning is fairly clear with the atmosphere settling after night time so you will get clear images. And there will be no tourists in the background for those incredible photos!
Shooting your Photos
Don’t shoot every photo in landscape try shooting some of your photos in portrait as well or even better shoot the same photo in both landscape and portrait and choose the best one.
With travel photography you are only in these places perhaps once in a lifetime take variations of the same photo and you can always delete irrelevant ones later.
When you are looking to take photos of dramatic sunsets try to find something to include in your photo for example the Pyramids of Egypt and have a silhouette of them in the picture because that says Egypt beautiful sunset and we all know the pyramids are situated in Egypt.
When you want to do night shooting don’t wait until it is completely dark with the stars, you need to be shooting these photos at dusk.
This is the sweet spot where the sky is still blue and if you are in a town the light would have come on to give that lovely landscape photo.
Look for different ways to bring your photos to life. Photos of objects are just photos of objects, try putting someone in the photo with the object to create lasting memories.
People are “important” in the photos not the place themselves …
Anyone can take a photo of Big Ben in London. You want to take some memories with your photos and have some fun with them.
Someone doesn’t have to be facing you to make the photograph interesting …
Get Lost On Purpose….
OK, so now it is time to get lost on purpose ….. what does that mean? Whenever I have travelled I find that you get the best pictures when you are not right in the middle of the tourist hub.
In Italy I realised that getting right out of the main tourist spots in Florence and wandering down all the little lanes you got to meet the locals, fabulous food and some incredible and different photo opportunities.
One of the best vacation photography tips I can recommend is to explore get off the beaten track and soak up the atmosphere….. magic!!!
An important travel photography tip is to ensure before you go wandering too far off the beaten track always carry a card from your hotel, so you can at least get a taxi back to the hotel if you get lost savouring up the sights and sounds.
I did this a lot in Hong Kong, especially where English is not the first language you often find that hotels will have the cards in English and Chinese so the taxi driver can read the Chinese version, life saver on many occasions!
Always check with the hotel or locals that were you are intending to head off and explore and wander that it is a safe area to do so.
Always Have a Camera Ready …..
How many times have you missed a photo opportunity because you were too slow on the uptake, not prepared, the camera was still in the bag….. yeap it’s happened to all of us at some point. You have to be ready for anything, one thing is for sure luck plays a big role in travel photography.
There are photo opportunities everywhere …and they usually come when you least expect it. This is where planning for this in advance is key you need to be ready to “grab your camera” and take that incredible shot!
Whilst travelling through Africa capturing wildlife can be so unpredictable, one minute nothing exciting is happening the next minute they are off running gracefully or a mother is showing affection to baby cub.
My one tip for this type of vacation photography is to ensure you use a longer distance lens to capture those shots. Usually when trying to photograph the Big 5 in South Africa we park up quite far away from the animals to not get in their personal space, therefore adding your long lens will help get that shot from quite far away.
Another vacation photography tip is to always ensure you have your camera ready and most importantly your camera is all charged up. Nothing worse than having an incredible photo opportunity and your battery dies.
You never know what kind of incredible photo opportunity might present itself while you’re travelling. Maybe while out walking you happen to stumble upon a brilliant pink sunset, a rare animal, or some random street performance.
Never Stop Learning
This is so important never ever stop learning …. you will only ever get better at photography by practice practice. Try doing some of the following:
- Enroll in a photography course there are some really great ones out there
- Look at some online photography tutorials
- Enroll on a photography course online
- Practice with your camera on a regular basis
- Buy or borrow some books on photography and study up
- Experiment with light, exposure and shutter speeds
Photography can be such a rewarding hobby or business to have. Follow your passion, keep learning and take your camera everywhere on your vacation, holiday, family outings or just photographing your children.
Remember never ever stop learning …….