5 Tips for taking photos while you travel

Yesterday I did a guest blog post on Casey’s blog (my wife) where she writes about travel and life. We are actually getting ready for our next trip in a few weeks and I thought it would be appropriate to write about tips for photography while you travel. These tips I kept pretty basic for her readers as I assume many aren’t die hard photographers just people who like to go places and take the occasional snapshot. Below is the post:

Bicyclist inMarrakesh, Morocco

1. You can take good pictures with whatever camera you have.
When traveling I see a lot of people walking around with big cameras (including me). But that doesn’t mean you have to have a big camera that costs a lot to take good pictures. Point and Shoot cameras and Phone Cameras have come a long way in the past few years. Small cameras are convenient, cheaper, and compared to anything people used 5-10 years ago take amazing quality pictures.

It’s more about taking the time to frame a nice composition than it is the cost of the camera. It really isn’t the camera but how you use it. This leads me to my next tip….

Camera Setup to Photograph Multnomah Falls

2. Learn how your camera works.
It doesn’t matter if you use a big SLR camera or a small point and shoot, you’re going to get a better result if you understand the camera and know how it works. A person who understand exactly how to use their $200 point and shoot camera will on average get better images than a person who doesn’t know how to use their $1000+ SLR. Read the manual, experiment with settings and understand what the different modes mean and do. By understanding how your camera works, you can spend less time wondering if your settings are right and more time taking pictures and enjoying your trip.

(bonus tip: while traveling during the I typically use Aperture Priority Mode on my SLR)

Sign for Wahkeenah Falls, Oregon

3. Take pictures of signs and plaques.
This might sound strange and boring, but if you do this you won’t regret it later. Take a quick snapshot of the signs around monuments and attractions. You can use this as a reference image later to remind yourself exactly what you were photographing and where you were. Sometimes on trips you are constantly going from one monument, lookout or attraction to another and it’s hard to remember all the names (especially in a foreign language).
This way you don’t have to remember, you just have to look it up on your reference image.

Manhattan Skyline at Twilight, NY

4. Plan your best attractions during good light.
This is a general tip so take it with a grain of salt. Throughout the day, the quality of light changes. Without going into specifics, in the morning and evenings the light is softer; during the day the sun is more overhead and tends to be hard and unflattering. If you are going to shoot during the day, keep this in mind and make do with what you have and fire away. However, if you want the image to have a softer look that is often more flattering, I would recommend (if you can) planning a few of your key attractions when the light is softer.

In the above image, I wanted a really nice cityscape and it needed to have gorgeous light, so we planned our day to end at a park along the water looking at the city with a gorgeous soft, evening light.

Extra Memory Cards and camera batteries

5. Have extras.
I take a lot of photos and this results in me filling memory cards and draining batteries. I recommend getting extra of both to keep with you.

Memory cards are getting much more inexpensive and I would recommend buying from a reputable source, with name brand cards such as Sandisk or Lexar. For batteries, I’m less strict. You can get imported batteries from Amazon for quite a bit cheaper than the name brand manufacturers. They don’t always last as long but they work very well.

2 Responses to 5 Tips for taking photos while you travel

  1. Casey says:

    excellent tips :)

  2. Dairell says:

    I absolutely love the Behind the Shot idea. Really great man. I look fwraord to more interesting stuff. I love the idea of a full photograph. Many people see an object and point and click as long as that object is somewhere in that photo. I always like to think of the entire composition of the photograph. Make sure it all works together and tells the same story.

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