Photography Tips for the Discerning Traveler
- The location
- The name of the subject
- My camera settings
There’s a lot to see and appreciate in this world.
That’s why so many photographers enjoy combining their passion for photography and travel into one fun pursuit.
If you’re a photography enthusiast and you’re about to set off on a journey, there’s more to it than just simply packing your camera gear and wandering about when you arrive at your destination.
It takes a bit of planning and a couple of tricks in the field if you’re to maximize your results.
Consider the following tips as fundamental to your success as a travel photographer.
I don’t know about you, but when I’m traveling it’s sometimes hard for me to slow down and enjoy the moment.
I just can’t wait to get my shots and move on to the next beautiful location!
But I’m not doing my photos any justice by hurrying, nor am I helping out my memory by dashing around…
That’s why I recommend you keep a journal of your travels.
I’m not saying you need to keep a diary of every moment of your journey. But what I’ve found to be helpful is to have a small notepad handy so I can write down a few details about each photo I take. This includes:
I also like to write down a few feelings or emotions I had when taking each photo, just to serve as a way to jog my memory about those few moments.
Doing so has helped me tremendously when I get home to go through my images, and I’m willing to bet you’ll find it helpful too.
Take a Few Filters
If you enjoy travel photography and you don’t have filters in your camera bag, you’re doing yourself (and your photos) a disservice.
I like to photograph landscapes, but obviously a major issue doing so is dealing with the enormous dynamic range from the darkened landscape to the bright sky.
That’s why I have a graduated neutral density filter with me at all times.
A graduated ND helps reduce that dynamic range, darkening the sky without having much (if any) impact on the landscape itself. That means I can get the image right in-camera and not mess about with trying to fix things in post-processing.
Better still, a graduated ND filter provides much more natural-looking results than another alternative - HDR - which often looks as though it’s heavily processed.
I also like to carry a few of solid neutral density filters for those times when I want to create a long exposure during the daytime.
A lighter ND filter, like a 4-stop, allows me to blur motion like waves crashing on the beach. A darker ND filter, like the 10-stop pictured above, is helpful because it allows me to use a slow enough shutter that people disappear from my shots of cityscapes and other popular tourist spots.
With that in mind, consider the Travel Filter Kit, Elia Locardi Signature Edition from Formatt-Hitech as an option for your travel photography filter needs.
The kit includes a soft-edge graduated ND filter, a 4-stop ND, and a 10-stop ND as well. That means you’ll have all the versatility you need to tackle the shots you want on your trip. If you opt for the 100mm kit, you also get the Firecrest 100mm Filter Holder, which Formatt-Hitech shows off in the video below.
The filters, dubbed Firecrest, have a multi-coating applied to the glass that’s made of rare earth metals. That coating is applied through an electrolytic process that offers incredible control over lighting.
In fact, these filters have highly-specific reductions of infrared, near-infrared, ultraviolet, and visible spectrum light.
Filters that are hyper-neutral and which help you create stunning, dramatic, and natural-looking photos. What’s not to like about that?
Find out more by visiting Formatt-Hitech.
It’s Not All About Landscapes and Architecture
One of the most beautiful things about traveling is that it affords you the ability to meet and interact with all kinds of people.
But where some travel photographers have no problem taking photos of landscapes, wildlife, architecture, and the like, they hesitate to approach people to take a portrait.
The problem is that when you’re in a foreign land, it’s easy to talk yourself out of approaching strangers for a photo, if for no other reason than you don’t want to be disrespectful.
However, by and large, people are very accommodating when they see someone wandering around with a camera.
If you happen upon a scene in which a portrait is possible, just make eye contact with the person, smile, and point at your camera.
I think you’ll find that more often than not, the person will smile and nod, giving you permission to take their photo.
Then, it’s just a matter of taking a few shots, being aware that the initial ones might look a little uncomfortable.
All you need to do to help the subject relax is give positive affirmations - smile, nod your head, or give a thumb’s up. You can also show them the photos on your LCD. Share that moment with the person, smile more, and resume taking shots.
Be wary of overstaying your welcome, though. A couple of minutes will suffice, and when you’re finished, express your gratitude verbally or nonverbally, and move on.
It’s as simple as that!
The result of your emphasis on portraiture will be a more complete album or portfolio. After all, nothing tells the story of a place or time like a portrait.