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. A tripod, remote flash, and a variety of types of lenses are probably a tad unrealistic for the novice just starting out. But even those just finessing the art of the selfie can get ahead of the pack with a few nifty tricks in their arsenal.
For those interested in getting a bit arty with their travel photographs on a budget, there's help at hand!
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 prize-winning pics 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, the right camera for your needs will ensure you can say “cheese” with ease.
2. consider your lens
Similarly, there’s lots of factors to mull over when picking the appropriate lens for your holiday. Before shelling out your hard earned cash, consider; how much weight do you really want to lug around on your travels? What size lens is best for the photos you intend on taking? Will you need a separate bag for your lens? How much do you reasonably want to spend? A camera lens tends to be the priciest element of your photographic gear, 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. While they may not be the most convenient to travel with they're perfect for those who want to take their photography to the next level.
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 understand your camera's features inside and out before you splash out on your model of choice. Being able to make decisions and adjustments at a second's notice will make all the different when trying to get the perfect shot. Learning how to switch your camera into manual flash, knowing the dials for aperture and understanding stuff like shutter priorities & exposure compensation is a must. Spend a couple of weekends before your trip getting up close and personal with your new camera, you won’t regret it!
4. be patient
Sometimes getting the perfect shot......just…….takes…….time, especially if you’re dealing with unpredictable animals or temperamental weather and lighting. Capturing the perfect picture may take many attempts and a firm lesson in patience, planning and preparation. When you’re just starting out with travel photography you may not get it right the first time around 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 that spur of the moment oppurtunity when you just happened to be in the right place at the right time. The key is spontaneity and improvisation. Obviously having your camera by your side at all times means you’ll never miss out on those magical moments, but remember that a keen sense of observation is essential for skilled photographers (so try to take in the sights without fretting too much about any missed oppurtunities). 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. Yes it may be a cliche, but waking up with the birds can help you score some spectacular shots while enjoying the most serene and magical moments of the day.
7. Ask before you shoot
Take care before snapping away. Yes it may disrupt the shot but it's simply poor manners to take someone's shot without asking. It’s only reasonable to ask someone's permission before you take a photo, particularly In foreign cultures. If you request nicely, build up a rapport, have a chat and perhaps even offer a token gift most people won’t mind at all.
8. Pack memory cards & batteries
For budding or professional photographers, there's nothing quite nightmare inducing as finding the perfect shot without sufficient memory or enough battery. When you’re on holiday it’s easy to shoot thousands 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 (it's always preferable to take it with you as carry-on). Try not to flash your camera around in downtrodden, poverty-stricken areas. Use common sense when in doubt, always keeping your mod cons hidden in a nondescript bag until ready for use.
10. Get insurance
If you're taking exy equipment on your holiday, make sure you're suitably protected with travel insurance. Just take into account the following before you buy a policy:
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, a $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're in doubt, download a trial version of Photoshop or Lightbox to get you started.
12. Get social
Keen to share your final snaps? As much as you try to allure the appeal of Instagram, there's no denying the platform's simplicity and ease in sharing photos, videos and messages with friends and 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