It’s tough to keep track of all the various photography assignments and jobs I’ve had over the past decade. From weddings to portraits to newborns to food: the list goes on and on.
But whenever I have the opportunity to do any sort of photography that coincides with travel, my heart honestly skips a beat.
A growing industry, travel photography has suddenly become the centerpiece of most marketing and social media campaigns and as a photographer, I am here for it!
To be successful at travel photography, you don’t need much–but having some of these travel photography tips and tricks in your back pocket will help ensure that you stand out from the competition while still being able to enjoy the travel experience.
Quickfire Travel Photography Tips
Travel Photography Gear
Without a doubt, my go-to camera for years has been the Canon 5D Mark IV, but I will say that it can become a burden on those long hikes or backpacking trips.
The full-frame camera is heavy compared to some of the mirrorless options out there, but if you don’t mind lugging around the extra weight, then I guarantee this camera will not let you down.
While traveling, I primarily use the ‘nifty fifty’ 50mm lens, which is small and lightweight along with my 24-70mm. I find that while traveling, you don’t usually need much more than that.
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If you don’t have the capacity or patience to carry around a heavy DSLR all day, the GoPro Hero 7 Black is also a great option. With the ability to shoot both RAW and JPEG coupled with Burst Mode, the GoPro can be a game changer for those shots that you can’t get with a DSLR.
Additionally, you can also use your phone! The latest phones from both iPhone and Android have insane photo capabilities that you can easily take advantage of on the road. For some great iPhone inspo, follow the hashtag #shotoniphone on Instagram.
For editing, I use Adobe Lightroom on my laptop and phone so that the images sync from one medium to the next.
If I don’t have the opportunity to travel with my laptop and have to use my phone, I usually plan to do all my editing while transiting on a bus, train, plane, etc.
If you’re on a deadline or have to produce content quickly, I’ve found that shooting RAW+JPEG on your camera and downloading the photos from your camera to your phone helps maintain the image quality. If you only shoot RAW and try to transfer those files to your phone, your phone will automatically try to downsize the file to JPEG which causes each image to lose quality.
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Unless I absolutely have to, I try not to edit while in each country so that I can maximize my shooting time in each place (and maximize my leisure time, too!).
Color Contrast and Going the Extra Mile
If you are traveling with friends or a model, utilizing contrasting colors will help make your travel photography stand out.
If you are hiking in an area with a lot of greens and blues, having the model wear red or another complimenting color can make all the difference when it comes to composing a shot.
Get smart with color wheels so you can accurately plan outfits and colors for every environment you plan on shooting that day. Scouting each location ahead of time can also help you maximize each photoshoot.
When on location, think about what new, unique angles you should experiment with. Sometimes, it means hiking an extra mile to get a better vantage point, but knowing what your environment is before shooting it can make the photoshoot process a lot smoother.
Give Something Back
Another weird (but successful) travel photography hack has been using images as a form of payment or as a unique way to say ‘thank you’ to a company, restaurant, or tour operator that has gone above and beyond in accommodating you.
I’ve had amazing, private tours through companies that didn’t need to go the extra mile, but did, and so it only seemed right to give them some of the photos I took on the tour to show my gratitude.
Sometimes, if you decide to feature a restaurant or company for a photoshoot and give them a heads up, they will give you free drinks or meals in exchange for some of the content you’re producing.
Don’t Neglect the Experience
Travel photography is such an awesome way to make a living (or a couple extra bucks) as a photographer, and something I never thought I would ever be able to do.
However, regardless of what the job is or where you are in the world, remember to put your camera down from time to time.
Most of the time, I’ll give myself certain hours of the day to shoot, and for anything that falls outside those hours, I’ll just leave the camera in the hotel.
This forces you to be as productive as possible within your given timeframe while also allowing you ample time to decompress and actually enjoy the country you’re in.
Travel photography is fun, but only if you actually give yourself time to explore and take it all in. Getting too caught up in getting the perfect shot throughout the entire day or week will burn you out quickly and turn what could have been an awesome experience into a bad memory.
So have fun with it! Regardless of what content you are producing, you can almost guarantee you’ll have some great photos for yourself, too.
That’s the most important travel photography tip I can give you – Have fun and enjoy the experience!
Article written by Allie Delury
Alex is the owner and lead writer for Click and Learn Photography. An avid landscape, equine, and pet photographer living and working in the beautiful Lake District, UK, Alex has had his work featured in a number of high profile publications, including the Take a View Landscape Photographer of the Year, Outdoor Photographer of the Year, and Amateur Photographer Magazine.