Taking Photos During Your Travels: What You Should Be Ready For
Travelling the world can be a truly fulfilling and life-changing event. When travelling, you can experience new cultures, learn about local life and visit some fantastic and iconic landmarks. Those who are lucky enough to travel can count themselves blessed – our world is a fascinating place with something new and exciting treasures hidden down every new path we take.
For many, photography and travel go hand in hand – what better way to document your travels than to snap pics of the various places you visit? What better way to show your friends and family the amazing things you have seen? Although photography complements travel, the two aren’t always compatible – takings photos whilst travelling can sometimes present obstacles and unnecessary stress.
To help you understand the potential problems you may encounter, we have created a handy guide detailed what you should be ready for when taking photos during your travels. We have also provided tips on how to overcome these problems – enjoy!
Unfortunately, during your travels, you will encounter fellow adventurers. Whilst this is for the main part welcomed, when taking photography it can be a nightmare.
- You will have to contest for space
Picture the scene – you are stood on the 86th floor of the Empire State Building and you want to take a photo of Lower Manhattan. There is only one slight problem – the walkways are packed full with a hundred other tourists! You will experience this time and time again and we advise to simply be patient and seize whatever opportunity you can. Don’t be afraid to stand your ground too and avoid being pushed around.
Sometimes. though, other tourist might play out in your favor and help you to capture “candid” photo
- You will have to think outside the box and create something original
Aside from fighting for a decent position, you will also have to think about the thousands of other photos that exist of the exact same composition you are looking at. How many photos have you seen of the leaning tower of Pisa being held up by someone for example? It’s not original and everyone has already done it! Try to think outside the box and create original compositions that paint your landmark or landscape in a different light.
Unless you are a full-time traveller or a digital nomad, you will more than likely have a schedule to adhere to when travelling. You may be on a guided tour for example, or you may only have an hour to spend in a city before your train arrives. Time is constant and you may run out of it when taking photos!
- You may not have an adequate amount of time to take a shot
This is one of the biggest problems – you finally arrive at the landmark but you only have a small amount of time to take some photos. Let’s say you are stood at the front of the great pyramids of Giza and you want to compose the perfect shot – the only problem is, is that your tour guide has only given you 10 minutes until you move onto the next stop.
In situations like this, we advise setting your camera up beforehand – spend 5 minutes on the coach or train playing with your camera settings and choosing a general setup that will give you the best results for the photos you want to take. Pre-planning your photos may also prove beneficial.
Even seconds can be crucial, especially in nature or wildlife photography
- You may miss some important opportunities
In the example above, you may end up missing out on taking the photos you wanted to altogether. If you are not planning on returning to that place again, you then realise that you have missed that opportunity completely and will not have a second chance!
To avoid completely missing a photographic opportunity during your travels, it is prudent to make a list of shots you absolutely must take. You are visiting Notre Dame Cathedral for example – consider making a list like: “Gargoyles, Main Façade, Stained Glass Windows” – you can then head to these areas and get the shots in plenty of time.
Lack of equipment
Finally, you will forever feel unprepared during your travels – do you have the right equipment? Do you have a suitable lens? Have you got enough spare batteries? The technical side of photography is really incompatible with travel and you will see why in the pointers below.
- You won’t be able to carry your entire studio
This is a fact. Unless you are travelling on a photographic expedition you will not be able to take everything you would usually use on your travels. Think of all the equipment you could use for a professional photo shoot – light stands, tripods, diffusers, screens, multiple flashes. Can you realistically expect to fit all of this into your suitcase? Furthermore, could you imagine carrying this equipment around the streets of Budapest for example?
When travelling, you have to think small and pack light. Only take the essentials – your camera, several spare batteries, a couple of memory cards, and maybe a pair of lenses. All of this equipment can fit into a small camera bag or even your own rucksack. Furthermore, it will cause little to no inconvenience to you at all!
- You may need to edit your photos afterwards
When travelling, you will have to accept the fact that not every photo you take will look perfect. Travel photography is rough, raw and in the moment. This fast-paced and exciting process can sometimes yield less than desirable results – your photos may have the wrong exposure or white balance for example.
Don’t worry! You can easily rectify this issue – all you have to do is process your photos afterwards using editing software such as Adobe Lightroom or Luminar, or using free photo editing apps for your phone. Programs such as these allow you to alter aspects of your photos such as exposure levels, colour saturation, highlights and shading. You can in effect, transform a sub-par photo into something fantastic.
Photo editing software might be quite helpful for erasing something you wouldn’t like to be on the photo, but couldn’t avoid
As you can see, there are many obstacles you may encounter when travelling. But you can also see that where there is a will, there’s a way! If you prepare, only take what you need, and think about your time constraints and composition, there is no reason why you cannot take some stunning travel shots. We advise most of all however to enjoy your travels and never substitute the experience for a photo.