Travel Photography: The Groundwork & What to Pack

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Research the location

Find out as much as you can about your destination by reading up on practical guidebooks, such as Lonely Planet.

The internet is also invaluable, with many specialist websites giving in-depth information about even the most off-the-beaten-track locations.

Read forums for other people’s first-hand experiences, especially on how to access difficult areas for photography and what time of year is best to go.

Beat the rush

While most tourists are still asleep, I’m out making the most of the great morning light – and because most people are still in bed you won’t have coach-loads of people getting in your photos and spoiling your shots! Photographing villages, towns and cities at this time of day makes the photographic experience more enjoyable.

Late afternoon and on – until after the sun sets below the horizon – is another ideal time to take pictures. In the so-called ‘magic hour’ – when the sun is just above the horizon, either in the morning or evening – scenes are illuminated with a wonderful warm, golden glow.

Stay at a place with a good view

travel photography

Use websites TripAdvisor, Expedia, Lonely Planet to get honest guest reviews of the hotels – they often even recommend the best rooms for views.

Take the right kit

There is nothing worse than discovering that you need that one lens which you left at home. Remember to take essential kit for the destination you are going to.

photography essential

Pack a small bag with a basic kit including: DSLR body; a good lightweight tripod; a wide-angle zoom, such as a 10-24mm or 16-35mm; a mid-range zoom such as a 24-70mm; a telephoto zoom, such as a 70-200mm; wireless remote; polarising filter; and possibly a couple of ND grad filters. If there is room, also include a 1.4x tele-extender and a macro lens.

When flying, always take your equipment as hand luggage: if it’s overweight, put some lenses in your coat pockets. Airlines are yet to weigh people!

Easy ways to find an interesting location

The internet – you’ll find everything you want to know about a holiday location, and probably quite a lot that you don’t want to know!

Buy Local postcards this will point you in the direction of lesser-known places, as well as the iconic travel locations.

Google Earth is great for finding out how to get to locations and discovering likely viewpoints.

How to book cheap overseas trips

Cheap flights offers what it says on the box and is also a good source for cheap holidays. The web is full of holiday bargains.

Try or to find a good way to stay somewhere cheap – if you have a house that is in a desirable location.

Insure to be sure on a holiday.

Get travel insurance and ensure you’re covered (some policies don’t include high-risk countries), & cancelled flights too.

Avoid losing memory cards by carrying them in an organized card wallet instead of carrying them loose.

Lastly, Travel Light.


Pack just what you need

Take only the kit you’ll need for your chosen location. For example, it’s pointless taking mosquito repellent to a desert. With more weight restrictions on airlines, pack only the clothes you will wear.

Essentials to pack

Battery Chargers, Power Banks, Charged Batteries, Battery Pack & a Travel Adapter. As certain places may not have the facility to charge your batteries.

Laptop – for backing up your images, keeping in contact via Skype or email, ensure you have stamina battery for your laptop.

A Portable Hard Drive is essential for making a secondary backup, in case the laptop gets stolen.

A good camera housing that provides protection to your camera & also allows you to take underwater photos, one like Dicapac.

Lenses to consider for travel photography

A good wide-angle lens for shooting landscapes and interiors of small spaces.

A mid-range zoom is a great all-rounder to have in your kit bag.

A macro lens – 50mm or 100mm. These are brilliant lenses for macro shots, plus a 100mm is also an ideal focal length for portraits.

What to wear when it’s hot

Sunscreen! Be safe; SPF30 and above will keep harmful rays at bay.

Sandals keep your feet cool and comfortable – but it’s not cool to wear socks with them!

Wear loose-fitting, light clothes. White will reflect the heat, whereas dark colours will absorb heat.

Finally, some pointers while packing

Never take work with you – unless you are a photographer!

On long trips, courier your purchases home rather than carry them.

Roll your clothes as it takes up less space and produces fewer creases.

Hard suitcases eat up your luggage allowance. Instead use hardwearing canvas or nylon travel bags.

Always take cameras as cabin luggage on planes. Baggage handlers are particularly fond of camera equipment!

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