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Planning to trip or vacation? Here’s 10 handy travel photography tips to get you thinking about how to capture your time away.
Update: since writing this post we’ve launched Travel Photography Guide – Transcending Travel.
Since publishing this post we’ve put together an eBook specifically on Travel photography called Transcending Travel: a Guide to Captivating Travel Photography.
March 25, 2011 10:14 pm
im in the middle of my project i cant bealive that by the end of this weekend iwill be at 50% in and so far i didnt reuse or anything like that everyday is a new photo taken that day i do feel that there are days that im stuck or had no ideas what to take so i took any old simple picture that came to my eye
two weeks ago i went to Lapland which made it to open my eyes to diffrent stuff and i would like to share the trip album, as well as my 365 project(link is by my name)
January 5, 2011 09:48 pm
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December 13, 2010 08:56 pm
Hi everyone. I just wrote a blog post on photographing the Taj Mahal, if anyone's interested. A bunch of tips and a map to help out those people who are keen photographers, and about to visit Agra.
You can read it here.
September 3, 2010 12:25 am
Having a good travel photography does pay off at the end of your trip. They are better than any number of souvenirs and totally much cheaper too.
Thanks for sharing these wonderful tips and beautiful pics.
May 11, 2010 05:54 am
By accident I just found a photo of mine in this tip (#7). Thanks for posting it :)
April 21, 2010 07:06 am
fantastic article, i will remember the tips you said.
April 15, 2010 06:44 pm
I finally have an idea on what to do with my whole host of travel photos
April 7, 2010 01:10 pm
Agreed. I think that this is probably your best article yet. I look forward to the next one.
April 3, 2010 01:36 pm
Great tips! Very timely too as I am heading over to the UK soon and I recently bought a new camera.
April 3, 2010 03:40 am
Spot on.....precise and to the point.
I do have one little add: For those who travel with spouses.
i shoot nature and wildlife along with travel photography.
My wife is my partner and spotter. She also watches my back when necessary.
One of the problems was that she was always...ah.....suggesting shots. Sometimes
this became a 'small' problem. I corrected this ...ah...'small' problem by getting her
a Canon G10. Problem solved and I am always amazed at how two pair of eyes
see the world so differently.
April 3, 2010 03:35 am
THanks for this. im off to CHina for a month to visit my In-laws so il be snappin a lot when im thier... thiese tips are great... as for memory Cards i have 4 4BG cards and i shoot Both RAW and JPEG and every few nights i burn them to disk or to a memory stick.... this DIsk obviously is the cheaper option tho.
April 3, 2010 01:36 am
Helpful article. It made a bit of order in the had, specially now, three weeks before a nice trip to Romania, Austria and Germany. Things I knew, things I guessed and things I didn't know. The kind of article that always brings you something good (if not new). Thanks !
April 2, 2010 11:23 pm
Lots of good ideas here.........but here is my comment about
people staring at the camera....those are not candid shots.....I suggest
a photographer take a bit more time and avoid people looking into
the camera....I know that is the way they do it for women's magazine
covers, but I claim that a unposed photo holds much more interest in
the long run.....It is too easy to get people to stare into the lens.
April 2, 2010 11:07 pm
Great article. Will definitely take note of these tips. Thank you for sharing! :)
April 2, 2010 08:51 pm
Mei, I think they are worried that because you have a tripod, you must be a professional photographer, and will make money from the photos............and we can't have that......can we? LOL!!!
April 2, 2010 01:58 pm
The Tips are of great help.
Upon reading the various articles on photography restrictions, I was told of a similar incident in Singapore.
A photographer was stopped by some security guards from photgraphing a shore-line fronting some residential apartments. The reason given was that the photographer could be snooping on the residences of the apartments. The irony is that the photographer had a wide-angle lense. After an arguement resulting in a lawyer being contacted, he was allowed to take the photograph.
April 2, 2010 01:11 pm
Nice article about traveling. I'm off to Thailand and Philippines for a deserving holiday. :)
I should try these tips.
April 2, 2010 11:04 am
I am curious as to why authorities have a problem when people start shooting with a tripod? A tripod poses some kind of security threat? Recently, I was stopped from photographing with a tripod at the sidewalk of a shopping mall.
April 2, 2010 10:09 am
Photography and travelling go hand in hand, and I have to admit, I'm happiest when I'm doing both, especially if it's in a wild and wonderful place surrounded by nature!
I must say that several times I have felt it inappropriate to take a photo that I really wanted too, for one reason or other, especially of people, but I find it never hurts to ask!!
I'm getting a new camera soon, one which looks on paper, like it could be my ideal travelling camera..........fingers crossed?
Need to plan a trip to take it on now! :-)
April 2, 2010 06:39 am
I travel lots and my Lowepro Flipside 300 backpack is the best camera bag out there. It's going to Italy with me in a few months, and with the zipper on the inside, I am hoping it will still be the best bag out there to keep not only my camera, but my purse safely tucked away from slippery thieving hands.
I would love to take my tripod everywhere, but as others are saying, as soon as you pull out a tripod, authorities start coming over and wanting to stop you taking pictures. We couldn't take ours up the Eiffel Tower, or the Empire state building. They even took my gorillapod away from me on the Eiffel Tower.
My Nikon D90 and my Nikkor 18-200mm lens are the only thing I take overseas, if only to keep it light, even when there are times I'd love my other gear. But I think I will be taking my lightweight tripod, and my gorillapod again, if only to see if there are times I can use them.
April 2, 2010 05:58 am
How does one get a perfect photograph of the Taj Mahal with absolutely no tourists in the picture?
April 2, 2010 03:56 am
A very good article, and well-thought out! Thanks.
April 2, 2010 02:40 am
Wonderful pictures and advice! I have no such dilemmas as to which bits of kit to take and which to leave behind as I'm just starting out and have only basic equipment to travel with. Will I ever get to the stage when I instinctively know what to use when?! It seems a long way off at the moment.
April 2, 2010 01:34 am
As always great tips. Im leaving for Avignon France in little less than 6 hours and this was a nice little going away present. Digital photography is my new hobby and with any luck my pics will do justice to my memories of the trip.
April 1, 2010 02:23 am
Thanks a lot for your article. I've been doing some travel and photography, but haven't had the chance to analyze and jot down some important points to focus on. This article has done that for me! Thanks again.
March 31, 2010 07:31 am
Yeah great article and most timely for me also.
Not sure if I will drag all my gear with me though. Last year I had 2 cameras and looked and felt a complete Wally as I climbed up the very steep stairs of a Japanese Castle, cameras jostling from side to side. However it meant less lens changing and an 18-200 will do that for sure. However since my highest quality AF-S lens is 55-200mm VR (Nikon) on my D40 that will be on the camera most of the time. I'll swap for the wide angle Tokina 11-16mm f2.8, or the kit 18-55mm as required. Maybe i'll buy a 18-55mm VR and not take the 35mm f1.8 as although fast, a VR zoom would be almost as good if not better. The 50 mm I'll leave behind or in my big case but as I think about where I'm going, NYC and UK then either the quiet fast focusing 35mm or the kit without or without VR will do. My wife uses my Canon super zoom S5 which often out shoots the Nikon in daylight!
When I was in the USA 3 years ago there was no inhibition of photography in NYC. I will be staying across the Hudson on the Jersey shore which gives a magnificent view of Manhattan. Museums were also cool about non flash photography and we have the head of Durers Mother on our wall - its a sculpture snapped in the MoA.
As to Tripods, I checked the Subway rules on photography and they permit it, but ban tripods and any behaviour which would cause a safety issue. A PATH train driver at Christopher Street told me off and that it wasn't allowed. I said OK man I'll delete it but never did. I just think like so many of us here, he was sensitive to being filmed as he drove in (video on the S5) but the PATH rules could well be different from the Subway MTA.
In Sydney CityRail prohibits photography but this is not enforced providing its of trains rather than passengers on platforms, so beware. Also turn you flash off underground drivers tell me they hate being blinded as they come into a platform!
March 31, 2010 03:35 am
I did some research about photographing the US Capitol, because of what dreamer said about requiring permission from the Architect of the Capitol, (AOC)...
On the web page of the AOC, a search doesn't even yield anything about needing permission to do anything, but sell stuff to the AOC. At http://www.visitthecapitol.gov/Visit/Visitor%20Safety%20and%20Policies/ on the web page, it says that cameras are allowed in "Capitol, including Capitol Visitor Center." The AOC has no police powers, so it can't arrest anyone. There is no procedure laid out to ask for permission to photograph anything...
Works commissioned by the US government cannot be copyrighted - see 17 USC §105.
"Copyright protection under this title is not available for any work of the United States Government..." So, there is no copyright that keeps you from photographing the capitol.
At http://www.nppa.org/news_and_events/news/2005/08/rights.pdf there is a memo prepared by the law firm of Covington & Burling, (big firm, well respected), for the National Press Photographers' Association that says:
"In summary, we find that there is no federal law that justifies the broad
prohibitions that are being imposed on photography in public areas. There is no new federal law,
including the Patriot Act, that restricts photography of public buildings and installations on the
basis of concerns over terrorism."
Search on Google images produces 9.8 million returns that are photographs of the US Capitol. So, if it is illegal to photograph the Capitol, they're letting quite a few slip through without enforcing the supposed 'rules'. Add to this the number of times a photograph of the capitol is shown on TV, movies, etc... I doubt the AOC has the capacity to process 9.8 million requests for photography, particularly when it has no procedure set up to do so...
There is a 'capitol webcam' showing the capitol here: http://www.camvista.com/blog/2009/01/19/presidential-inauguration-webcam-overlooking-the-us-capitol-washington-dc/ which takes pictures of the capitol 24 hours a day...
Why would there be a difference between shooting with and without a tripod?
So, I sincerely doubt the cop that said you couldn't photograph the capitol without contacting the AOC knew what he was talking about... There is no prohibition against taking pictures of public buildings...
March 31, 2010 03:23 am
Very timely article. Great tips. We are traveling to Italy at the end of April. I have been debating what to take. I did get a 50mm 1.8 for the trip as I understand flash is not allowed in most of the museums we will be visiting. I also got a battery grip for my 50D that can take AA batteries. Still debating on which of my other lenses to take. Thanks for the ideas!
March 31, 2010 01:53 am
The most interesting thing I find when taking pictures is the wide variety of conditions. I shoot a lot of ghost towns, which means light and subjects are all very similar in the course of the shoot.
In one week last fall at Yellowstone Nat'l Park, I found that I faced a dizzying variety of hugely different lighting conditions and a variety of different subjects. This is incredibly challenging. Add in the fact you are shooting under a deadline - you have X number of days to try to get all the shots you want. That puts even more pressure on. I seldom travel for reasons other than photography, I can imagine the pressure would be greater if you had reasons other photography when you travel.
It's a rush...
March 31, 2010 12:54 am
Would love to know how that person got that unobstructed shot of the Taj Mahal! When I went it was MOBBED.
March 31, 2010 12:11 am
Item #1... Don't forget the batteries!
My biggest beef with proprietary batteries is that they aren't available everywhere. When in a jam, you can almost always find some AA or AAA batteries but not so with the special ones needed to power your Nikon, Canon or Sony. And, don't forget that you may need special plugs, adaptors and/or transformers to power your battery chargers if you travel outside of your home country.
March 30, 2010 09:33 pm
Terrific article. I am planning a trip with my family this summer abroad and it's mind boggling to consider which gear to take. I think this has helped me see that I'd perhaps be better off taking my 75-300 4.0 rather than my pro 70-200 2.8... the weight, alone, being a factor. Also, it seems like a great idea to rent a wide angle--I had been fretting over the additoinal $600 purchase for the trip, so maybe rental is the way to go!
March 30, 2010 11:39 am
As previously mentioned you do have to be careful about what you take photos of. You may need to pay a small fee for taking cameras into temples etc and not be allowed to film certain areas of them. Be carefull around military installations (I was nearly arrested and nearly lost a months photos when filming outside a tunnel in Kashmir that happened to have tanks inside it). On another occasion I had a standup fight with a minder of a Bollywood star when I came across a movie set and he heard my camera click. My new camera has a quieter shutter! Usually though if you ask first you will be greeted with a smile.
March 30, 2010 10:42 am
I thought that cathedral looked very much like the Taj Mahal. I prefer travelling light and carrying a wide angle (and maybe a 50mm prime) is good enough for me.
March 30, 2010 10:29 am
Item 4- I use a portable GPS that fits in a jacket pocket or a pocket of my camera bag to store my track and this also helps in remembering information about the picture, especially when used with a program that reads the track and places the picture on a map.
March 30, 2010 09:50 am
Great tips, beautiful photos. When travelling, especially in vibrant places like India, I use one lens (18-250 Tamron) and keep the camera in my hands as often as possible. Not so much for security reasons but because there are so many great images you would miss if you are changing lenses or thumbling around in a camera bag (not often room to do that anyhow in crowded streets or markets). The only time I might put on a 50mm lens is in the evenings when light will be a problem.
On the subject of tripods I must admit to having quite a selection of compact tripods that I have taken away on trips but have never ever actually used one while overseas. I know I should but never seem to have the opportunity. I'll keep taking one though.
March 30, 2010 07:43 am
Darren, as to the label, it didn't really bother me that the caption was wrong as I knew what it really was. But I thought I'd point it out first so that it could get fixed and in case the wrong photographer was getting the credit...
And these are some wonderful travel images, makes me want to pack up my Rebel and my Family and head out for an adventure in the morning. (but alas, I work a regular job and can't simply leave without long-term plans).
March 30, 2010 07:19 am
On the Catedral de Santiago image - I just labeled it with the title that the photographer gave it when they uploaded it. While I agree its the Taj Mahal, I try to label images with the name the photographer gives them :-)
March 30, 2010 04:10 am
...and in Agra, India. Not Bilbao.
March 30, 2010 04:09 am
Good tips. Wrong info. That is not Catedral de Santiago. That is the Taj Mahal! Editors/moderators, please change the caption!
March 30, 2010 03:16 am
I agree with Ion; the "Catedral de Santiago - Bilbao" picture definitely is mislabeled, since it actually depicts the the Taj Mahal.
Great article though.
March 30, 2010 03:16 am
Yes, some of the Powers That Be have been riding a pendulum into the realm of Too Much Restriction.
The US Capitol Police in Washington DC tell anyone with a tripod that photography of the US Capitol building require advance permission from the Architect of the Capitol. I don't know what they do if you do not have a tripod. I have no idea if the Architect of the Capitol even has a process in place to grant permits.
The Washington DC Metro claims to prohibit photography inside the stations and trains, but that restriction is impossible to enforce, at least in crowded stations.
It is not limited to the US.
The folks who adorn the Eiffel Tower with lights apparently claim copyright in not only their own work but every photo taken of it.
The security police near the presidential palace in Bogota Colombia were specifically prohibiting photography of that building in the mid-1990s. I paid attention because they had rifles. I got around it by shooting from a distance, specifically from the mountainside about 1800 ft above the palace.
Also in the US, some airport security people have the unfortunate habit of taking camera bags out of your view during inspection, without first telling you they are going to do that. It has only happened to me once, but it was very disconcerting. I suggest that you arrive early at the airport, just in case. I suggest telling the inspector (politely and quietly) that your camera bag is full of valuables and you'd appreciate the opportunity to keep your eyes on it during inspection.
Make sure your name and photo are visible on the outside of the bag so no traveler ahead of you can snatch it with impudence at the end of the xray machine conveyor belt. I recommend using a bag that is not obviously a camera bag, such as a backpack.
Also, if you shoot film, make sure your name and photograph are obvious on the outside of the film bag when you ask the inspector not to run it through the xray device. Some unscrupulous passengers actually snag film bags on the far side of the xray machine; this happened once to my wife. Apparently the motive is to obtain unshot film. Make sure the inspector can determine unambiguously that the film bag belongs to you, not someone else, and watch the travelers ahead of you to make sure they do not walk off with your film bag.
March 30, 2010 03:10 am
Wow, great article. I love the pictures too. My favorite is that reflection pool..
March 30, 2010 02:43 am
Some tips based on personal experience... Treat your equipment like cash - you might want to look at the products from PacSafe.com - especially if you have to leave stuff back at the hotel. I was in Puerto Rico and a couple had their car broken into and all of their stuff stolen. When I was in St. Petersburg (Russia) another photographer was looking at souvenirs and the seller tried to take the lens off his SLR by reaching under the display. I also agree with Greg - be sure you know the customs and restriction of the countries you will be traveling in. Check out the Department of State web site, and also e-mail the country's consulate for information.
March 30, 2010 01:58 am
One of the best articles i have come across.
March 30, 2010 01:56 am
I feel that an important issue is to know and understand the local legal or customs of taking photographs? A while back I remember hearing of a photographer getting arresting for taking photos in a public place under the USA's patriot act and also in the UK under an anti-terror act.
A run in with local authorities could really but a damper on a dream vacation.
Sorry to be off topic - the post was excellent and I plan to put some of this tips in action as I plan my next travel excursion.
March 30, 2010 01:55 am
I have been to the northern area of Vietnam and visited the hill tribe peoples there. One of the best places on the planet. Outstanding place to do travel photography. Really all of Asia is great, hard not to find great shots. A sample of the urban jungle of Tokyo:
March 30, 2010 01:46 am
wow that Catedral de Santiago sure looks a lot like Taj Mahal. (I think the caption needs to be fixed)
March 30, 2010 01:29 am
A great post, although I don't agree on tip 2. Instead of on lens 18-200mm I'd prefer 2, each specialized one for 18-55mm and another with 55-200mm. Don't you think, guys?
March 30, 2010 01:24 am
This is a great article. I'm sharing it with my camera club members. Thank you!
March 30, 2010 01:12 am
Loved this. I'm leaving for the Dominican Republic on Friday morning, and have rented a wide angle lens for the trip.
I highly recommend renting lenses instead of buying if you want something specific for one trip, or to "try it out first." For example, my best photography buddy and I are working towards a goal of a photo safari in Africa. However, when the time comes, neither of us has the money to drop on a super cool telephoto lens that we wouldn't use in our everyday work anyhow. Renting solves that issue beautifully.
I recommend lensrentals.com absolutely, and am trying out borrowlenses.com this time around.
March 30, 2010 01:10 am
Those are fantastic tips. I'm personally a big fan of the Nikon D200 Kit for travel photography. It takes great photos and is reasonable on the wallet.
March 30, 2010 12:54 am
Thanks for this. I'm going for a 2 week holiday to San Francisco soon & though I had taken some of these points into account, others I hadn't thought about. I will be buying my first prime lens (50mm) there & already have an 18-200mm, so it makes me happy you suggest this!
March 30, 2010 12:21 am
Best article on here in a long time!
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