6 Practical Tips to Instantly Make Travel Photography Easier

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Documenting exotic places, capturing priceless memories, and recording once-in-a-lifetime experiences are just a few of the pleasures travel photography affords us. But it can also throw up challenges. Time constraints, logistics, and lack of portable storage can make getting the perfect shot far more difficult. Here are a few tried-and-tested tips to help you make those challenges a little more surmountable.

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1. Eliminate the unnecessary

Lack of storage, dubious safety, and the sheer weight of equipment may put the kibosh on your plans of bringing two DSLRs and five lenses to adequately capture your trip. By thinking about how you tend to shoot, you may be able to hone down your kit to just one camera and lens.

Some photographers opt for a fixed focal-length camera like the Fuji X100T. It’s compact, versatile, and good for all-round shooting. But for a photographer who shoots at long focal lengths, it would be a constant source of frustration.

Bridge cameras may provide an alternative, with their versatile zoom ranges in one neat package. Consider your individual needs based on your preferences and narrow down what kit you really need to have with you from what you merely want.

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If you just can’t decide, try this; take one entry-level DSLR with a lens that has a varying zoom length from wide-standard to telephoto and a constant aperture of f/2.8 which is ideal for most situations.

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2. Pick a lens with IS or VR

Each lens manufacturer offers some form of in-built stabilization. Canon has Image Stabilization (IS); Nikon has Vibration Reduction (VR). Choosing a lens that has in-built IS or VR helps when you can only shoot handheld.

When traveling, there are so many times when the perfect shot can only be captured on-the-fly. Unpacking a tripod and fiddling with camera settings may even be entirely out of the question. For moments when the light is low and shooting handheld is all you can do, IS or VR can help reduce shake and potentially save a photo.

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3. Carry a mini-tripod

Slinging a folded down Manfrotto over your back may not be possible, but it also might not be something you’d want to do if you are taking photos in between relaxing moments on your family vacation. Having a portable, mini-tripod in your pocket or bag is a cheap and easy way to get around that issue. A flexible option like the Joby GorillaPod can even help get stable shots from unusual angles without adding too much undue weight to your bag.

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4. Invest in memory and charge those batteries

Don’t come back from your holiday with 700 amazing shots from the first three days and absolutely nothing to show for the remaining week and a half because you ran out of memory. It’s now easier than ever to get lots of data and a fast write speed on one reasonably-priced SD card, so hoard a few of them before you go!

Do the same with batteries. Planning to re-charge every night is a great habit to get into, but don’t rely on that alone. When you end up in a hotel that has no power sources or you realize that you left your adapter in the last place you stayed, you’ll wish you’d invested in a few extra batteries and charged them before you left home.

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5. Shoot for post-processing

We all want great results straight out of the camera. But if you don’t have all the equipment that you need or the time to nail your exposure by toying with intricate histograms, shooting a certain way to enable post-processing can be what helps you get the shot.

Bracketing your exposures and post-processing the final image into HDR when shooting the dimly lit walls of medieval ruins might be the only way to save the deep blue of the hot Mediterranean sky outside the cracked windowpanes. Without that, the blown-out highlights may not be salvageable.

If you don’t have a tilt-shift lens on hand and you can’t sprout wings and fly, shooting wider than usual and then correcting perspective in post-processing may be the only way to save that great shot of the iconic tower you visited.

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6. When in doubt, take the shot

There are many times when you feel that it’s not worth taking the shot. A thousand other photographers may have captured the same view before; you may not have the equipment you need to get the results you want; the weather may have turned sour on the one and only day you got to visit. But regardless of how you feel, take the shot.

If it turns out to be a dud, you just delete it when you get home and you’re in the exact same position as if you hadn’t taken it. But if it turns out to be better than you’d thought, you could have a hidden gem that you hadn’t been expecting. Don’t miss a shot because you feel trapped by circumstance. Just shoot, and the magic will happen.

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Conclusion

I hope these 6 tips have given you some ideas for your travel photography to make your next trip a bit easier.

Do you have any others to add to this list? Please share in the comments below.

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Laura Hexton is a UK-based visual media producer. She has worked in stills and video production for major brands and retailers for over three years. Her journal of travels and adventures is a colourful exploration of destinations across the world. Laura's work is characterized by whimsy, a love of aesthetic, and a keen interest in storytelling.

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  • Jschneir

    Amazing, I agreed with most of what was written here except I think I might start off with a large sensor fixed lens camera, such as the Panasonic FZ1000 along with the ZS100. That gives me 2 camera to use just in case one breaks or is lost. Both yield very good images.

  • Hans Roosli

    When it comes to “once-in-a-lifetime” or expensive trips always consider Murphy’s law (“If anything can go wrong, it will”). This is especially true, when the next camera shop is a day trip or further away. There is only one way to prevent a potentially disastrous situation. The engineers call it redundancy: 2 cameras, several batteries, 2 chargers (!), memory chips. Also with me: a laptop with an external hard-disk drive. Procedure every night: Saving pics on laptop and hdd, charging batteries, cleaning lenses for next day. Voilà, ready for a good night sleep.
    Electricity: when traveling by car, consider the charging possibility in your car: cigarette lighter for power converter or USB adapter. It’s all not that expensive, but as effective as Valium.

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    I have but three words to add to the conversation: micro four-thirds (or is that just two?)

  • Rodney Appleby

    Basic, sensible tips. Even the most experienced photographer can overlook the obvious sometimes as they become complacent and the novice has yet to realise the obvious. About to do a large trip and will review my checklist. Thanks for the reminder.

  • yzsutty

    An additional tip when visiting a well known city. Visit the great monuments, but seek to capture them from a new or odd vantage point. Everyone knows the Eiffel Tower, it’s your assignment to reveal it in a fresh manner.

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