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10 Tips For Travel Photographers

Kevin Walsh, a travel photographer, has 10 tips for capturing the memories of his adventures with the lens.

You will be able to think back on the wonderful experiences you’ll have as you pack for your next adventure. It is important that you can document your adventure to the best of you ability, especially when sharing it with friends and family.

After spending a semester in Florence, Italy, my love for travel photography was complete. It was very exciting to be able to experience another culture and show its way of living through photography. Every chance that presented itself, my first instinct was to wander the cobbled streets in the city where the Renaissance was birthed, searching for the next moment I could capture with my camera. It’s amazing to think that I had never used a camera before I set off for Italy. I began the semester with no knowledge about exposure, ISO or composition beyond what I was able to tell from intuition.

My goal is to help you understand the basic principles of travel photography that I discovered after returning from my trip.

1. No matter what camera you use, get to know it!

You don’t know how to use your new DSLR or smartphone camera. One thing I have learned is that you can capture the perfect photograph if you spend less time fiddling around with your equipment. YouTube tutorials have been the best way to learn how to use my camera’s buttons and techniques. It is amazing how much professional help you can receive for free if only you take the time to search.

2. Face it, you must get up at the crack of dawn.

Photography is all about trial and error. After endless mornings of getting up at 5am, I have never taken a decent photo. It is worth it when I capture a beautiful sunrise with everything flowing in the correct direction.

3. Try different things

Be creative! The first thing I ask myself is, “Can anyone take that picture?” Keep in mind all elements in your composition. The light, people, distracting objects, and everything else that could affect the moment you are trying to capture with your camera. Reflections have been something I’ve been trying out lately. You can capture beautiful places, whether it’s in a puddle or in a shop window.

4. Get lost

It was amazing to just walk around Florence, the city that I was living in. To discover new streets and hidden treasures in the city, I was constantly outside my apartment. Ask questions, get lost (even if your English skills are not perfect), and most importantly, have fun. You will only have a limited amount of time to enjoy the incredible place you’ve been. Randomly choosing a route I’ve never taken before has resulted in some of my most memorable photographs, from anywhere, including the United States. Use common sense. It is not necessary to go into a dark alley at night and have all your valuables stolen.

5. Interact

Practice is the only way to improve your photography skills. Interacting more with local people while traveling is something I regret not doing. It allows me to learn more about their past. Be confident when asking them if they are okay with you taking their picture. We are back at point one. Have your equipment ready, and move quickly to avoid making them uncomfortable. To tell their story better, include details such as what they might have with them and the environment in which they live. People are afraid to be rejected. If they say no, thank them and move on.

6. You don’t necessarily need a high-end camera

Some of the most beautiful photos I’ve seen were taken with their smartphones. It’s easy to share your photos and get inspired with Instagram-like social media platforms. Snapseed and Enlight are two of the most popular apps I use to edit my iPhone photos. They bring out the details and give you the desired effect. Sky Guide and Rise are also great apps for determining where the light is at certain times of day. These apps are great for advanced photographers who want to do amazing astrophotography.

7. Your photos can tell a story

You should try to be creative with your photography. Don’t settle for the same types of photos. Social media can be used to tell your story about your travels abroad. You should include all types of elements in the story. Landscapes, portraits, and food photos add depth and authenticity to your storytelling. When you are faced with constructive criticism, focus on the most important details of each photograph.

8. You can research the area you’re going to up to a point

Balanced preparation is what I believe in. Be sure to learn about the train and where it will take you. You should know the weather, cultural issues, and events that are happening in your area. I would rather be prepared for any eventuality than be unprepared. Let yourself be open to change. You might miss a flight, your luggage may be lost or other annoying situations could arise. It is best to be open-minded about how you deal with these situations. Photographers should try to discover the hidden gems in a place. You can take a photograph of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, as I mentioned before. You can also take the traditional photograph.

9. Be patient

You can see that many of the photos you see were taken with patience. To give your landscape dimension, wait for that moment when you can capture the person who crosses it. Although you may not have the time to take photos in all places, the morning and afternoon light provide the best lighting conditions for photography. The harsh midday sun can remove fine details from your subject while soft lighting highlights them.

10. It’s okay to forget about the camera from now on

It’s ironic, isn’t it? This is one of my most important principles for travel photography. You want to capture your trip in an original way. However, too many people take great photos just to view the results on their camera and then quickly leave. Consider where you are. It is important to take the time to appreciate its significance to the culture surrounding you. It is rare that one can see Michelangelo’s David or eat authentic Italian food in Tuscany hills every day. You should take the time to appreciate how fortunate you are to have this opportunity to see and experience all that it has to offer.

The people and places we visit, as well as the experiences we have, shape our lives. Travel photography for me is the culmination of all this in one instant. Photographing my travels gives you a sense of joy and good times. Enjoy your travels, no matter what your goal. Keep exploring.

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