Are you keen to takes photos like the pros? There are plenty of resources out there for those with heaps of cash to splash on expensive photographic equipment, but what about the average traveller with a standard point-and-shoot camera or even a smartphone?
Unless you’re a professional travel photographer on an expedition-style assignment, chances are you’re not interested in dragging boxes of equipment around on your travels. Tripod, remote flash, all types of lenses are probably a tad unrealistic for the novice just starting out.
For those interested in doing more than usual with their travel photographs here’s some handy helpers.
Get snap happy with top tips for the budding travel photographer below:
1. pick the perfect camera
Ultimately the type of holiday you're going on will help define what sort of equipment is right for your trip. If you’re trekking, a heavy-duty camera is probably not very sensible, and if you’re not intending on taking magazine-style pictures you needn’t spent $2k on the latest model. Do your research and consider what is most important to you. Whether you’ve decided on a DSLR, Canon, Nikon, point and shoot Panasonic, or even your trustee iPhone, with instant digital images, you’ll be taking photos quicker than you can say “cheese”.
2. consider your lens
Similarly, there’s lots of factors to mull over when picking the appropriate lens for your holiday; how much weight do you really want to lug around on your travels? What size lens is best for the photos you're intending on taking? Will you need a separate bag for your lens? How much do you need to spend? Lenses do tend to be the expensive part of gear to invest in, so ensure you speak to an expert before handing over your credit card. Tip: Digital SLR cameras come with classic telephoto lenses which are great for depth of field photographs and portrait shots.
3. get clued up for your trip
Cameras are complicated! Especially the fancy ones. Difficult dials, eerie exposures, scary saturation settings, problematic polarizing, fierce focus…all enough to send the novice travel photographer over the edge. We can’t stress enough how important it is to know your camera inside and out before you leave for your holiday. Being able to make decisions and adjustments at a second's notice will make all the different to capturing the perfect picture. Learn how to switch your camera into manual flash, know the dials for aperture and shutter priorities & exposure compensation is a must. Spend a couple of weekends before your trip making friends with your new camera, you won’t regret it!
4. be patient
Sometimes getting the perfect shot sometimes......just…….takes…….time, especially if you’re dealing with unruly animals or temperamental weather and lighting. Capturing one perfect picture might take multiple attempts and a lesson in patience, planning and preparation. When you’re just starting out with travel photography, it’s not always going to be right first time round so learn to trust your instincts. And if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!
5. never leave your camera behind
Often the best photo of the day wasn’t when you’d camped out for hours waiting for the light to change, but on the spare of the moment when you were in the right place at the right time. If you’ve always got your camera by your side you’ll never miss out on those magical moments. Lights, camera, action!
6. Early bird takes the worm
Travel photography is all about light. So if you’re a budding photographer and don’t know where to start, sunrise and sunsets are great place to begin.
7. Ask before you shoot
Don’t just point and shoot. Would you want someone sticking a camera in your face without asking? Thought not. When taking photos overseas it’s polite to ask before you take a photo. If you request nicely, build up a rapour, have a chat and even offer to buy something most people won’t mind at all.
8. Pack memories cards & batteries
It would be nightmare inducing to be in front of the perfect shot without sufficient memory or enough battery. When you’re on holiday it’s easy to shoot 1000’s of photos in a day so ensure you stock up on multiple SD cards so you're always ready to go. Also, when you're near WiFi try and upload some of your favourite shots to the cloud as you go to back up your magical moments.
9. Keep your gear safe
Cameras such as DSLR are much heavier than your classic point-and-shot and as such are more difficult to carry around with you on your travels. Because of this, it’s worth investing in a good camera case that will be easy to take from place-to-place as well as protecting your gear from prangs and scapes.
Be sure to keep your camera secured when not shooting, like in a hotel safe or hostel locker. Never check expensive equipment into the hold of any transport carrier, always take it as carry-on. Try not to flash your camera around in sketchy or poverty-stricken areas, keep it hidden in a nondescript bag until ready for use.
10. Get insurance
If you're taking exxy equipment on your holiday, make sure its suitable protected with insurance.
With travel insurance, there is definitely no ‘one size fits all’ approach. Policies differ greatly and some will offer you adequate cover for your cameras and electronics while others won’t. What most people fail to realise is that that sub-limits exists for each item. When comparing luggage cover levels, $10,000 limit might sound like plenty, however, you may only be able to claim a maximum of $750 per item. Now that’s not very much when you’re looking to replace a $3,000 camera is it? And if you don’t tell your insurer about your pricey piece of equipment it could be subject to depreciation. As a rule of thumb, before you purchase your policy, check your chosen insurers single item limits for cameras and photographic gear before you buy.
Alternatively, you could also look at insuring your valuables under your home and contents plan, or a separate camera insurance policy. Before doing so, check that you are able to travel with the insured items and that they would be covered when away from home.
11. Invest in an editing suite
Taking the photo is only half the process, editing is where the real fun begins. Learning how to use software where you adjust contrast, lighting, and saturation can hugely improve the visual impact of your photographs (especially when you’re starting out and still mastering your technique). With so many options available, choosing the right programme can be daunting. If you don’t want to invest any time researching, you can’t go wrong with Photoshop or Lightbox.
12. Get social
Keen to share your final snaps? Instagram is the simple, fun & creative platform to share your photos, videos & messages with friends & family. Choose a suitable #hashtag to label your piccys so they can be found by other like-minded people and shared. You’ll be insta-famous before you know it. #photooftheday