Travel Photography Tips
How to get the most from your photos when travelling
Memories are so precious, we see them through our own eyes and remember them for an eternity. But I believe it's good to document things as you go through life, so you have time to reflect on what you've achieved, where you've been and who you spent it with. This blog has allowed me to travel and document my adventures for the past 5 years, and I get so many inspiring and wonderful messages asking about my best photography tips, equipment and how to get the best from photographic situations. So whilst today won't be hugely in depth about the back end of the camera (although I will delve into this very soon!) I will however be talking you through how to get the most out of your travel photography and some tips I’ve learnt along the way, to make the most of your images so that you’ll be proud to look at them years later.
This post is in collaboration with Shoot My Travel who kindly arranged a photographer for us.
First and foremost, good photography starts off with a creative eye and thought through ideas. As I always bang on about it as an incredible source of inspiration, seek out places like Instagram and Pinterest for a basic vision of what you’d like in your photos. The beauty of both of these platforms is the ability to save your ideas, and return to them at a later date.
If there’s one major aspect I’ve learnt whilst in the field, on location during photoshoots and throughout my Photography degree is that, having a vision is key. Have a basic understanding of what you’d like to achieve for your end result - did you want any portraits in your travel diaries, or keep it purely documentary. Or perhaps you’d like to focus on certain aspects about the place you’re heading to; eg keeping a diary of all the delicious cuisine you had, or street art you passed every day. Whilst it’s equally as important to have your own style of content, do take note of people you find inspiring regularly, so all those wonderful creative thoughts are always at the forefront of your mind.
Have a creative plan
Hire a travel photographer
You know can be a total burden whilst travelling? Is having no one to take the photo when you intend to get everyone in! This is where I’ve recently discovered Shoot My Travel, an incredible service which hooks you up to local photographers, so you can hire them for an hour or more to get those dreamy shots you’ve always wanted. One massive benefit about Shoot My Travel is that they take care of your photos, they’re all professionally edited and within a short period of time you have high resolution imagery sent to your email.
Me and Paddy took a trip around our local city Liverpool using Shoot My Travel. I picked out Paul for his beautiful candid photography, which was both environmental and candid (my favourite type of photograph!) The process was incredibly straightforward with no fuss required. Simply pick out your photographer, arrange to meet via text or WhatsApp on whatever day that suits you and finally you begin your high end photography session with one of the best local photographers.
We wanted images that captured our favourite city on a crisp afternoon together. With my job, there’s always one of us on the other end of the lens, and we’re not fond of the idea of selfies sticks or lugging around tripods, although sometimes required!
But with Paul, we could just be ourselves, as we snapped away for an hour in our own little world without any pressure of being anything but ourselves.
The beauty of having a photographer is that they’re professionally trained and experienced with dealing in that particular field, so they know how to light and compose you in the best way without making the photo seem artificially posed (unless that’s what you intend!).
So this makes it the perfect service for anyone who isn’t a professional model and wants a few snaps to document their adventure. Speaking as a former photographer I was incredibly impressed by the flow of booking, meeting, discussing ideas, shooting and exporting images to me. I was sent via the Shoot My Travel platform all the edited images, and as part of my package could favourite 15 photos (and one extra if I left an honest review on their Facebook page - definitely do it for the extra photo!) and before you knew it, I had a tidy Zip file downloading to my iMac within a few moments - slick and quick!
If we’re talking pro-lighting tips for outside, the two main opportune times throughout the day is early in the morning and in the evening before it gets dark. Even if you’re only intending to shoot photographs with your phone or a little point and shoot camera, this will give you massive benefits, than having washed out or underexposed photos.
Photoshop and Lightroom can be mighty handy if you’re well acquainted with making HDR and blending masks - but not everyone likes the fuss of it. Some of us whack on a filter and upload it straight to Instagram, some of us spend hours on our imagery correction. Which brings me to my next point…
Plan your timing
Focus on in-camera, than post production
Try to get the images as perfect as possible before post production. Us photographers have a rule of thumb, get everything right in the camera so you don’t have to clean up after your own mistakes afterwards. Phones on auto are usually fantastic in indoor conditions, but put a phone camera through the extremes like on a beach, you’re destined for a white wash out sky, and not those beautiful deep blue tones you remembered lapping it up in the sunlight. Travel photography is down to often remembering what you were experiencing, and preserving those memories. So with a few clicks and some common sense you’ll be able to expose correctly for your foreground and background.
If you haven’t got a professional photographer doing all the hard work for you, just remember a few basics: content, composition and colour.
Content: What is in the frame, if this is a person, how are they portrayed, or shaped? If it’s a landscape, how can you maximise on those angles and what story are you trying to tell?
Composition: A somewhat fancier word for framing. Don’t crop afterwards and lose all that beautiful data and information that makes it a high quality image, get it correct within the camera and keep much needed detail. Photos can tell a story, whether you’re shooting close up or expanding upon a large landscape.
Colour: Are you looking for vibrancy in your photos, or intend to desaturate the colours to be paler or black and white.
The most important tip of them all within this post is to have fun. You’re travelling, lose yourself in those beautiful moments and experiment with everything. There’s no rules with photography, only guidelines and the limit you have is the creativity you put in. So go book yourself a flight and relish in those moments to gaze back upon.