Why You Need To Be A Guerrilla Travel Photographer – And How To Become One

0Comments

A Guest Post by Tony Page from Travel Signposts.

You know, as a Guerrilla Travel Photographer I often find myself thinking that some people who give us advice about taking photographs when we’re traveling need a reality check.

Okay, a lot of their advice is fine in an ideal situation, but the problem is we’re usually not in an ideal situation. There’s a lot of difference between the ideal when you’ve got plenty of time and the reality when you haven’t, and people don’t place enough emphasis on the latter.

Most of us are forced to be Guerrilla Travel Photographers by necessity. We can only fantasize about having all the time in the world to think about our shots, to wait for the right light, to choose different viewpoints, to have cooperative and colourful model talent, to try different technical approaches, all with a supportive crew behind us to carry our bags, bring us cool drinks, and mop our brow.

OK, I’m exaggerating, but you know what I mean. In the words of an immortal Australian,

“Tell ‘im he’s dreamin’!”

For most of us, although we love taking photographs when we are on the road, it is not the only thing competing for our attention. Lots of us have significant others, children or friends who while appreciating our hobby, are not committed to it in the same way we are. So we have to take our chances when we can, “seize the moment” and take advantage of any opportunities that come our way. We have to be Guerrilla Travel Photographers.

Let’s have a bit more photographic how-to advice with an aggressively practical spin, that starts off with the assumptions that the light’s wrong, the subject’s difficult, we don’t have any time and we’re not using the latest and greatest gear. Sound familiar? Because that’s the likely reality for most of us.

And that’s what this post is all about …travel photography in a real world! In this and tomorrow’s post, I’ve put down a few guerrilla travel photography basics that I hope will start you thinking. And if you’ve got a few tips that will help, please share them in the comments. Good shooting!

1. Get Ahead Of The Pack Before You Leave

It’s always worthwhile finding out something about the places you’re going to travel to before you leave home, whatever your reason for taking photographs. Obviously, you’d have to do more research if you were going to write a feature about the destination, but even if you are just travelling on holiday, getting some idea of the kind of things you might be photographing can be very useful and save a lot of time.

Where to Get Your Information

You already know the broad outline of places that you will be visiting, but you may have some flexibility as to the time. If so, it’s a good idea to check whether there are any festivals or special events going on at your destinations; these can often provide rewarding photo opportunities. Look up the local tourist boards on line, they often have calendars of events many months in advance, and travel websites frequently highlight upcoming festivals and other points of interest.

Even if you are not going on an organised tour, it can be worthwhile to check out tour itineraries covering the places you’re visiting: they will give you a good guide as to potential tourist sites and activities in which you may be interested. For Europe, have a look at Insight Tours, Globus and Trafalgar.

Gondolas near St Mark's Square, Venice. Visit the Tourist Office, it's just to the right of this shot. Photos like this from Travel Signposts give you an idea of what's available to shoot.

Get a Sneak Preview Before You Go

It’s also helpful to have an idea of what things look like before you’re standing in front of them. Get some ideas of what other photographers have thought was interesting by looking up your destinations on the big stock sites, like Getty or Corbis. Some travel websites also have galleries of photographs that can be helpful; for example, Travel Signposts has over 23,000 images of European and Mediterranean subjects designed to show you what places are really like, as opposed to simply glamorizing them.

I’m not suggesting that you copy these shots, but they will give you some idea of the different viewpoints and interesting features of your potential photographic subjects. This will really save you time when you finally get there, and as a guerrilla travel photographer, time is one of your most valuable commodities.

2. Real Photographers Only Use Manual – Not!

Before we get any further, let’s put another myth to rest. Some photographers seem to have a sort of macho belief that if you don’t use manual settings somehow you aren’t a REAL photographer. What a load of old cobblers! The only time I use manual settings is when I can’t get the camera to do what I want automatically. In many cases, I am quite happy to let the camera do the calculations while I concentrate on creating the image.

Fish outside a Bosphorus restaurant, Istanbul, Turkey. Canon Ixus 400, automatic flash.

Don’t Be Scared Of Auto Modes

Although a point-and-shoot camera is more limited when it comes to shooting modes, for example aperture priority or shutter priority, careful use of the various screen modes provided can help you get your shot. I rarely use only manual settings on my DSLR, tending to leave the camera on shutter priority for casual shooting, to minimise camera shake and freeze subject movement.

I also make use of the program mode; many people don’t realise how flexible this can be. With Nikon cameras and many others, if you don’t like the particular aperture/shutter combination selected, you can simply adjust the exposure value by dialling in the aperture or shutter speed you fancy and the camera will adjust the exposure accordingly. No need to switch to aperture or shutter priority at all.

Learn To Use Exposure Compensation

One manual control it’s useful to know about is how to adjust exposure compensation. On point-and-shoots, it’s often only reached by menu if it’s there at all, but in DSLRs it’s usually on a dial or wheel. I’ll mention some ways I use this later, but basically you set it to artificially increase or decrease your exposure to make up for mistakes made by your camera’s meter, when it is fooled by the light reflected from a beach or snow, for example.

Lagoon at twilight, Raratonga, Cook Islands. Canon Ixus 400.

White Balance: Don’t Chop and Change

As far as colour balance is concerned, while it is true that the auto balance setting on some cameras is not too accurate in mixed light, you won’t go far wrong in most circumstances you will meet when traveling if you just leave it on auto. Of course, it’s easy to make adjustments later if you’re shooting in raw format, and even with point-and-shoots, broad adjustments for example, for a cloudy day or tungsten light, can provide acceptable results. But if you start switching it around every few minutes you’re going to buy yourself some grief when you’re on the road shooting guerrilla style.

3. Light

The great advantage of shooting in the studio is that you can control the light. Unless you’ve got a lot of time, you can’t pick and choose your light when you’re traveling. If I had to pick the greatest challenge I find myself facing while photographing on the road, it would have to be trying to create great images with the wrong lighting conditions.

The Problem with the “Golden Hours”

You’ve probably heard about the “Golden Hours”, the hour just after sunrise and the hour just before sunset, when the light is particularly flattering for photography. The problem is, there are an awful lot of hours in between when most of us will need to take some photographs! What’s more, if you’re shooting in Europe in summer, don’t forget that sunrise can be before 5 a.m. and sunset around 10 p.m. – that’s quite a spread.

Temple of Hatshepsut, Egypt: The pattern of the people is reminiscent of a Lowry painting, and retaining the intensity of the light captured the atmosphere - can you feel the heat?

Only Mad Dogs and Englishmen Go Out In the Midday Sun

Harsh, contrasty sunlight can be the bane of the travel photographer, but it’s no use bemoaning the fact that you should be shooting four hours later when four hours later you’ll be 100 km away. The same goes for dull weather; as a rule grey skies and rain make it more difficult to get interesting images, especially in cities with all those grey buildings.
Where you do have the choice, it is helpful if you can split your photo shooting into two sessions at the beginning and towards the end of the day to take advantage of the better light. However, for many of us on vacation that’s frankly impossible. That’s why we have to take our chances as guerrilla travel photographers!

At Noon, a Polarising Filter Is Your Friend

Harsh overhead light at midday is not all bad news, however. Polarising filters work best when the light is at 90° to the subject. Consequently, they are at their most effective in intensifying colour when the sun is overhead. So slap on the polariser, look for subjects with strong colours and create your compositions accordingly. Any shadows will drop out, of course, but think CSI Miami/Ken Rockwell vivid colour schemes rather than subtle shades and you won’t go far wrong.  And if you’re a point-and-shooter, it’s quite possible to hold a polarising filter in front of your lens (if a bit awkward), or just try shooting through your Polaroid sunglasses (that’s a real guerrilla photography tip).

Those deep shadows can also be used creatively to create striking graphic compositions. You can even do portraits, remember that great shot of Marlon Brando’s bald head coming out of the shadows in “Apocalypse Now”?

This post will be continued tomorrow on dPS where Tony will share another 4 tips for being a Guerrilla Photographer (now live).

Tony Page is a professional photographer and writer. View his work at Travel Signposts. Tony has just launched his new eBook – Guerrilla Travel Photography with a special discount for dPS readers this week.

Read more from our category

Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

  • Diane

    Love the article Tony – those are great tips!

  • I absolutely L O V E this post, especially since, more often than not, I find myself in not-so-ideal shooting situations. Mainly, mid-day sun in most cases, but I’ve learned how to get good shots nonetheless. As far as golden hours are concerned, I’m not that dedicated….usually!

    One trick that helps me quite a bit when shooting in the bright sun is reading my HISTOGRAM to make sure that my photos are properly exposed. It’s really difficult to see the shot clearly on the LCD screen when it’s uber bright out, so the histogram helps since it can be decipher at a glance.

    Looking forward to Part 2! Thanks for sharing 😀

    ~WW
    http://www.wayfaringwanderer.com/2010/10/fun-things-to-do-in-fall-north-carolina.html

  • PhotoshopPrincess

    ughh… i was eating a banana before i got to that fish pic… =/
    xD

    hehe… im an early riser, and my whole family is not… so before they wake up… ima gonna make myself some pics :DDD… in the “golden hours”

    its a good thing we travel to spain in autumn… the weather is less severe and i guess the sun rise will be a bit later than it is in the summer… 🙂

  • Thanks for this post. As a frequent traveler, I’ve often found myself in that space where you have to take the photo now, this is especially true on cruise vacations.

  • Hi guys – I am a guerilla photographer and proud of it. Thanks for the tips. I am learning lots and my photos are showing the difference. I must try the sunglasses trick though. Most of my photos are in bright, bright sunlight in the desert and white out of colours is always a problem.

    Can’t wait for the next tip. 😀

  • Scott

    Great article, nice tips, and glad to see it. This is reality, as much as we enjoy photography traveling is usually about just that – traveling, and you have to move on. The light is seldom ideal, make the most if it, do the best you can, critique yourself later…hesitate and you’ll miss what opportunity you have.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lendog64/4720200521/

  • Carmen A.

    Finally…someone addresses those facts!!! Most of the time you’re on a tour that starts very early (in a bus) and gets to the destination right smack in the middle of the day and then just when the light is getting perfect it’s time to go back in a moving bus.Loved the article and can’t wait for pt.2.

  • I LOVE the honesty in this post. I agree so much and feel vindicated for all the times I didn’t follow the correct ‘procedure’ in each photo situation. And really, when you are on vacation with others it is hard to shoot during the golden hours.

    I also found checking online images of the locations we were traveling helped highlight what I would expect to be seeing and help fuel creativity for the shots.

  • I find that Flickr’s photomaps and Panoramio photos in Google Earth are excellent tools for scouting locations before a trip.

  • Matt

    I spend 90% of my time in aperture priority mode. I can control DOF that way, get what I’m looking for, and switch to shutter priority when controlling motion blur. It’s perfect.

  • I get to travel a fair bit and take lots of photos. But I REALLY want to step up my travel photography and yes, maybe get published.

    The one thing I want to do is get more *people* in photos. Architecture is all well and good but you can’t beat people doing interesting stuff!

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/davehodg/3397084569/

    Great tips though 🙂

  • Much of my travel photography revolves around road trips (either by car or motorcycle). and you are absolutely correct, you have to shoot when you’re there.

    Period 🙂

    Good tips.

  • Travel photography is one so generous in subjects, but you have to adapt to the sometimes “rough” conditions of lightning and location. I would’ve love to read more about capturing the people figures in the travel shots. These tips will sure help getting the best from our travel photos!

  • Thanks for the great down to earth advice. I research before I travel, but once I’m there I have to take the photo….ideal conditions or not. I can wait until the lighting is perfect or the sky is blue.

  • I always look for the details. The wide angle photographs of important places/monuments are mostly for my own memories. It’s the details that show a sense of place and customs – like the fish market photo in the article.

    They are also much more marketable in travel stock than the wide angle scenics that are tough to pull off in an original way.

  • Hi everyone, this is Tony Page, the author of this post. I’m in Singapore at the moment, and it’s 30C, quite a difference from the 13C in Germany where I’ve just flown from!

    Thanks for all your comments, much appreciated. Here’s just a few responses.

    @wayfaring wanderer: I usually have the histograms displaying on my LCD, as like you I find it very difficult to accurately judge the shot in bright or dim light. I used a Hoodman to shade the screen but found it too cumbersome after a while. Don’t forget to check sharpness at 100%, too.

    @photoshopprincess: good call travelling to Spain in autumn, the sun does not get so high in the sky and the quality of light is not so harsh (for the most part) as in summer. Some great colours in the north too.

    @matt: as you say, controlling DOF is very important, especially when shooting closer subjects with a long lens, but I usually find when travelling that motion of the subject or myself can be more of a problem when getting those grab shots. Maybe my hands not as steady as yours, too!

    @dave hodgkinson, @anna patrick: I used to spend ages waiting for all the tourists to clear out of my shots, then realised that they were an integral part of the subject; now I am quite aggressive in building them into my interpretation, and often incorporate someone photographing their friend etc.
    You need a spread of subjects, but people shots are a must, and interacting with your subjects (don’t be shy!) can be very rewarding and give you some of your best memories.

    @rich d: you’re absolutely right about shooting details. I like food shots, especially when the dish is tied in to a particular place – we photographed quite a few sausages in Germany, for example!

    BTW, I hope you noticed that I chose some shots made with point and shoots for this article, you don’t need a Hasselblad for everything!

  • earthboundmisfit,i

    oh I love this post 🙂 I spent a month in Africa recently and spent almost the whole thing in a truck or bus so almost every shot is from said moving vehicles. Even aside from being a noob with a newish camera, taking photos from a truck doing 120 down a bumpy round often surrounded by smog and dust not to mention window reflections – not the greatest shots but it’s all part of it and this has reminded me not to feel so bad and compare my shots so much to those who have the time and money, and expertise to set up and plan each one. My camera was generally on manual but pretty much the same settings the whole time. Definitely can’t adjust while driving!
    Can’t wait for the next part

    Luckily though I managed to capture plenty of serenity too 🙂

  • Oops! Sorry, I mistyped the website address in that last reply, should be guerrillatravelphotography.com.

  • great article. it’s so true that the pros write advices from their perspective, being on a commissioned assignment to photograph those places, while we usually go there as tourists and take photos out hobby.

    I’d also advise if your photographing people at noon try to find some “open shade” as they call it. It can do wonders for shadows and colors…

  • Mattes

    Oh well.

    I though this article was about taking photos, not snapshots.

    Every image shown above is poor, witout any real reason. Changes to the better could have been made in seconds by any experiences photographer who cares a little bit about what he’s doing.

    For snapshooters only trying to capture some memories, this might be helpful – but photography is something different.

    Regards

    Mattes

  • Well, I posted this earlier, but it seems to have vanished, so I’ll repost it!

    Hi everyone, this is Tony Page, the author of this post. I’m in Singapore at the moment, and it’s 30C, quite a difference from the 13C in Germany where I’ve just flown from!

    Thanks for all your comments, much appreciated. Here’s just a few responses.

    @wayfaring wanderer: I usually have the histograms displaying on my LCD, as like you I find it very difficult to accurately judge the shot in bright or dim light. I used a Hoodman to shade the screen but found it too cumbersome after a while. Don’t forget to check sharpness at 100%, too.

    @photoshopprincess: good call travelling to Spain in autumn, the sun does not get so high in the sky and the quality of light is not so harsh (for the most
    part) as in summer. Some great colours in the north too.

    @matt: as you say, controlling DOF is very important, especially when shooting closer subjects with a long lens, but I usually find when travelling that motion of the subject or myself can be more of a problem when getting those grab shots. Maybe my hands not as steady as yours, too!

    @dave hodgkinson, @anna patrick: I used to spend ages waiting for all the tourists to clear out of my shots, then realised that they were an integral part of the subject; now I am quite aggressive in building them into my interpretation, and often incorporate someone photographing their friend etc. You need a spread of subjects, but people shots are a must, and interacting with your subjects (don’t be shy!) can be very rewarding and give you some of your best memories.

    @rich d: you’re absolutely right about shooting details. I like food shots, especially when the dish is tied in to a particular place – we photographed quite a few sausages in Germany, for example!

    @earthboundmisfit: reflections in vehicle windows can be a real pain, and they’re not so easy to remove in Photoshop either. If you’re on a coach tour, you can often use one of those coach curtains as a “hide”, in the same way old time photographers used a black cloth over their heads when looking at the ground glass screens on their cameras. In general, I find getting really close to the glass and using my hand as a shade/support against the window is the best approach. A longer focal length helps, too.

    BTW, I hope you noticed that I chose some shots made with point and shoots for this article, you don’t need a Hasselblad for everything!

  • That was a supersonic boom as this article went over @Mattes head.

    This isn’t about being Steve McCurry and being commissioned to go somewhere for a couple of week and wait Ansel Adams-like for the decisive moment.

    This is guerilla. We are there for vacation, to enjoy the moment, to eat, to be with friends and family. It’s about taking the best shot you can while on the hoof, moving from one place to the next with as little faffing as possible. No tripod. From the hip.

    And agreed with the P&S! I shoot 90% with the Canon S90 now 🙂

  • Highly Educated Redneck

    I don’t know about “real” and/or “macho” photographers, but, 80% of times I use manual metering in my photography. 19.999% of the times I use aperture priority metering mode. The rest of the times, I am probably not doing any serious photography, so I don’t even care to see what mode my camera is in.

    So, get your facts right! There’s nothing macho and/or “real” about using manual mode. Given the fact that most DSLR meters are messed up (they are messed up compared to film SLR meters), manual is your best option to take great photographs.

    Finally, don’t forget to take a good tripod on your trips. Enjoy!

  • Now I’m really chuckling. “Manual” and “Tripod” make “guerilla”. Riiiight.

    We have competition for the “not getting it” award!

  • @ Dave – Yes you are right – guerilla shooting. Maybe I am one of those who don’t understand guerilla shooting because whenever I go out with my family or friends, I just can’t leave my tripod. I am so used to bringing it with me. It really looks awkward and I know it. Let me try leaving my tripod this time and enjoy the holidays!!!!
    Thanks for reminding. I hope I gotcha right!

    @ Tony – I love this tips! I’ll have to print these and pin them on the wall to remind me always. Can you also include to discuss what the best lens to use? I always have to change lens while on the trip and most of the time I miss the opportunity because of this.

    Thanks

  • david

    Hey thanks for saying what some of us believe, but it does depend a bit on what camera you are using.

    So far I haven’t found a perfect digital travel camera (in my film camera days it was an Olympus AF10 that fitted in my brief case and was small and wasn’t too heavy either – no zoom but…).

    Here’s a few I have used in the last few years:

    Canon Powershot S5IS

    Nikon D40 kit lens + 55-200VR and later a wide angle Tokina 11-66mm f2.8 (manual focus not hard on the D40 at this focal length)

    Lumix TZ10 (actually my wife’s), stunning results minor tendency to blow high-lit areas a little, superb zoom range only time it was really out shot by my D90 was in fading light but nevertheless its was sufficient when you can’t tote a D90

    Nikon D90 – hates mad Englishman time of day when you will have to adjust exposure and consider a white balance fix. Good in low light but still some concerns over its jpeg vs raw conversion. Can be used with best Nikon lenses including non-motorised 50mm f1.8 but frankly I never get around to changing lenses much or at all, the kit 18-105mm has almost a perfect range for most travel photography though is too good at drawing attention to itself – you’ll often be taken as a serious photographer! MEANS you’ll be asked to use everybody else’s point and shoots to take their group pictures for them! Often I can hardly see any thing on their rear screens but they check and go away happy!

    Most useful devices on a travel camera

    a tilt folding screen (e.g. like the Canon S5 has)

    AVI movie mode with stereo sound (Again Canon S5) everything else is over the top except the stereo sound which is perfect for things like trains and cars roaring past. Only other thing would be a smell catcher!

    Ability to steal a Still from movie in camera – Lumix TZ10

    Good midday handling Canon S5, Lumix TZ10, Nikon D40

    Good evening low light performance Nikon D90

    Size – this really is a cruncher for me I think I want something as light as a Nikon F65 film camera & its plastic kit lens but not as small as the TZ10 but as competent and the zoom range should be at least 18-105mm or in 35mm terms 26 or 28 to 150mm, more is occasionally useful but not really necessary.

    Viewfinder & live view, none of the above have the perfect combination (the evf on the Canon was one reason why I moved on and the live view on the D90 is clunky and no folding screen etc). Viewfinder is useful in strong light when I prefer to shoot (I don’t do going out before the sun’s truly up – as a rule!)

    Pixels: 8 is enough, give us more quality, lower light performance, i.e. top resolution and less noise across the range.

    Most Useless things:

    GPS e.g. Lumix TZ10 it’s consistently gets it wrong, often with great amusement, i.e. on Platform 1 of Sydney Terminal Station (also known as Central) it plotted the position as Christ Church St. Lawrence which is 100 metres away and a lot smaller than Central which has 25 platforms!

    As to shooting mode:

    F11, ISO 400 can work if you have VR or watch shutter speed doesn’t drop too low. On most cameras I use Auto, auto no flash, program or aperture modes depending on the camera. In fact the only camera that needs more than a flick from auto or auto no flash to something else is the D90 and program on the D40 is great but an over complex wizard on the D90 which simply annoys me. Canons customised setting I found useful on the S5.

    Look forward to the next 4 tips…….

  • Diana Mikaels

    “Guerrilla” Travel Photographer… you say… 🙂
    Well, have you ever heard about the VIKING Travel Photographer… ???? I’m one of those ! (I’m in Iceland)
    A Viking Travel Photographer has to cope, not with harsh light, but often with lack of light. Therefore, a VIKING Travel Photographer takes *** A BEAN BAG *** along (or actually a cushion filled with those tiny white balls, just like some teddy bears have inside, if u know what I mean…) INSTEAD OF A TRIPOD.
    ****** Now that was a good tip… I know…
    The very good thing about it is that it serves as a cushion when travelling – and that’s just what it is – and as a bean bag / tripod when you need one.
    It has saved a number of shots believe me – and my head has rested on it too.

  • Rooby1

    What Rebecca said.

    I really feel like referring every “instructor” to this article who, when asked how to travel somewhere to shoot sports with my ultrazoom, would say to every question about how to solve a particular problem “Get a DSLR”.

    Also, DerekL, thank you for those tips. 🙂

  • Thanks for the comments, guys, keep them coming!

    @David Hodgkinson: you get it. Use the right technique and gear to get the result that fits your purpose in taking the shot. For example, “Travel Signposts” is not a photographic but a travel planning site. My users want to see what places are really like, in bad weather or good. Consequently the site contains primarily record shots, although obviously we try to make them look good wherever possible (it also needs drastic editing, but that’s another story!).

    @highly-educated redneck: “There’s nothing macho and/or “real” about using manual mode” – yep, exactly my point, use the technique that suits you and the purpose for which you’re taking the photo. However, I can’t agree with you about metering on current DSLRs.

    @Leo Mangubat: the best lens to use is the one on your camera when the shot appears! Seriously, there is no one “best lens”, it depends on personal style and preference. FYI, I have been using my 18-200 VR nikkor as my basic lens recently, although as I’m waiting for a Scarlet this will no doubt change!

    @david: great info on your experiences, very valuable, many thanks for sharing, this kind of practical info is worth it’s weight in gold.

    @diana mikaels: I make it a rule NEVER to mess with Vikings! A while ago I spent a fortnight over Christmas sailing up the coast of Norway into the Arctic Circle to Kirkenes, so I know about “The Land of the Midday Darkness”. Small bean bags are great, especially useful when shooting out of cramped vehicles in Africa or elsewhere.

  • FINALLY!

    Somebody with a grip on reality.

    Ideal situation (… as a lot of book authors seem to think as “normal”):

    You’re waiting for the perfect light, the perfect moment. You revisit the place so often until
    you get the right shot. With a tripod of course. No one disturbs you.

    Real situation:

    You’ve got kids around, a dog and a wife. Neither of them is especially fond of waiting forever
    (more than 30 seceonds, that is) to get the photo right. The kid/dog is pulling on your arm, forcing you to shorten your shutter time to get at least a decent sharpness at all.

    I’m happy if I can change lenses in time…

    I often that most of the books must have been written by singles and/or childless photographers…. with plenty of time on their hands.

    Or it’s just me and I’m not organizing my time right… 😉

    So, Mr. Rowse: Write a book: “Guerilla Travel Photography 101” or something like this.

  • Ups… I meant “So Mr. Page, write a book..” of course.

    And as I’ve read now, he will publish an eBook. Fine!

  • Tony, it’s a great site and I’ve now liked it on Facebook. But! I’d strongly recommend you get a blog running underneath it. It buys you an RSS feed which the search engines love and it lets people keep coming back for new stuff.

    That said, your Alexa ranking isn’t too shabby so you must be doing something right 🙂

    You should also probably get Google analytics on the site. Saves faffing with log files.

  • And exposure lock! YES! I’ve even got the custom button on the S90 set to this function. Coupled with live histogram view it’s a lifesaver!

  • Thank you for a travel article that doesn’t tell us to bring a tripod halfway around the globe! You don’t really need that. I you really need a panorma or a night shoot you just have to be a little creative.

  • Hrefna

    Thank you for finaly writing an article that doesn´t say only shoot at the golden hour. It´s litteraly impossible when you are travelling unless you have a looooooot of time.

  • Charles Nestle

    Great post. In my experience, traveling with others who want to keep moving at all times, getting a shot is a matter of always running from place to place, or from the car, shooting, and then back to the car. The photo linked below, shot by my girlfriend in Bhutan, shows me in action hurrying to get back to the car. I shoot in aperture preference mode, raw, auto white balance, and frame slightly larger than ideal to give me room to crop later. [eimg link=’http://www.flickr.com/photos/7302149@N04/5059091162/’ title=’Bhutan 2009′ url=’http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4149/5059091162_175a4932a1_z.jpg’]

  • fon

    Thank you for your travel tip. I normally like travel idependently, so I get to choose the time to see a place. Recent trip to China in August on a 3 week guided tour does have limit shooting the panorama or some little creative photos. Though unexpected blue sky in Beijing even in Shanghai briefly! The Yangtze river cruise, Guilin, Xian weather was really the challenge. Plus as an amateur, mistakes made gorgetting to change shooting modes from A to shutter speed…I will definitetly buy Tony eBook. Love reading your posts, they are great.

  • @fon: Lucky you with blue skies in Beijing at that time, I was fortunate to get good weather in the UK this August-September – even in Scotland! – but it sure rained a lot with grey skies when I was travelling around Germany…

    Tony

  • hello everyone… i want to try guerilla photography. i think this is cool..

  • Just a note, if you want to check out the photo albums on my travel planning site, Travel Signposts, please use this direct link as there is some work being done on the home page and directory at the moment:

    http://www.travelsignposts.com/Destination/main.php

  • Kristen Sassella

    Thank you for this article!!! It contained alot of useful information!!! I always look forward to the day you send out the weekly email.

    🙂

  • Like a shot gun, aperture or time priority is semi-automatic. You have to choose an f-top or a shutterspeed manually.

  • Thank you Tony, for writing about what most of us probably face every time we get our cameras out in some exotic destination – the light/timing/weather etc are never always going to be perfect, and we don’t have the time/money/patience to stick around in the same spot for days to get the perfect shot. I also occasionally find that I have just taken some (potentially great) shots, only to realise that we have gone and changed some setting yesterday (trying to be tricky)!! Very frustrating, but a reality none-the-less, particularly for those of us who are familiar with our cameras, but there are still those tricky few settings it takes a while to find, let alone change.
    Although I use manual quite a lot (only because I am a control freak, not because I am sensible!!) I also find that sometimes it is useful to use the program setting.
    One thing that I do when I am travelling in the middle of the day (because yes, I am restricted by time) I take a lot of detail photos that aren’t affected as much by the harsh midday light, and just use landscapes etc as reference photos.
    Happy travels
    Erin

  • It feels like lots of memory cards are really helpful when you’re shooting shutter priority.

  • TomL

    When I was in India with just a point and shoot I used the “sunglasses in front of the lens” trick for polarising the super bright sun. I had just read about it before leaving on the trip. Worked great.

  • PJ

    Excellent post. Very informative. Although I don’t expect to be traveling abroad, my husband and I do travel and I can totally relate to the comment you made about family members, etc., not be quite as enthusiastic. I too have become a ” guerilla photographer” Great subject! Can’t wait to read part #2.

  • Paul Collins

    Just bought the E-Book , and loving it

  • Killer This is my first time to replay to this foum, even though I’ve been reading it forever.
    I guess the reason is as I read this it was as though you were reading my mind. One other thing I have always done is shoot from the hip. When auto focus came along, it really helped. Digital of course, makes it all that much better.
    In lots of places photography can be questionable. Like in the Mexico, the native people want to be rewarded for taking their picture, so usually I buy something like a cheap trinket they are selling to get them to give me a shot or shoot first and buy later..10 years later they are keep sakes. In some situations a monopod is good, but with the newer digitals and higher ISOs that is questionable. Longer lens help too.
    You are right about the light. It is just not possible to choose your lighting when travelling most times. So learn to use it to your advantage and use filters.
    Thanks for the tips.

  • @Erin: You make a very good point about changing settings (in fact, I recommend usually leaving your white balance on auto unless it’s easy to change and you have a good memory!). Some manufacturers seem to have lost the plot when it comes to making settings easy to find and change. I myself have been known to forget I set exposure compensation when shooting in a hurry!

    @toml: Yes, the old sunglasses trick can be a lifesaver, also to cut down the exposure when you haven’t got a neutral density filter with you.

    @pj: You don’t have to travel abroad to be a guerrilla photographer, it’s a photographic approach that’s relevant to everyday photography as well, as you have discovered!

    @paul collins: Glad you’re finding the book useful, Paul. If you’ve any comments or feel there’s something you’d like to see in the next edition, please just email me. And if anyone else has comments on the book, let’s hear them…

    @Dennis: Congratulations on your first comment! Whether or not to “tip” people for taking their photograph is always a tricky question that I talk about in my book. Personally, I always tip people whose living is “performing”, whether street buskers or “ethnic” characters and the like. But I do think it’s important to take the local economic conditions into account.

    BTW, a lot of you having been checking out the photos on Travel Signposts, but you should remember that the site is basically designed for travel planning purposes, rather than a showcase for my images. My wife says I should have a sort of portfolio site for people who are more interested in the photo side, so I’ll see about setting one up soon.

  • Sheri Seybold

    It is so good to read a realistic approach to travel photography. I am often on a tour or in a place for the day and do not have the luxury of the “right” light. So, advice that can help me get good shots in adverse conditions is so very welcome. Thank you, I’m off to get a polarized filter.

Some Older Comments

  • Tony Page October 11, 2010 04:23 pm

    @Erin: You make a very good point about changing settings (in fact, I recommend usually leaving your white balance on auto unless it's easy to change and you have a good memory!). Some manufacturers seem to have lost the plot when it comes to making settings easy to find and change. I myself have been known to forget I set exposure compensation when shooting in a hurry!

    @toml: Yes, the old sunglasses trick can be a lifesaver, also to cut down the exposure when you haven't got a neutral density filter with you.

    @pj: You don't have to travel abroad to be a guerrilla photographer, it's a photographic approach that's relevant to everyday photography as well, as you have discovered!

    @paul collins: Glad you're finding the book useful, Paul. If you've any comments or feel there's something you'd like to see in the next edition, please just email me. And if anyone else has comments on the book, let's hear them...

    @Dennis: Congratulations on your first comment! Whether or not to "tip" people for taking their photograph is always a tricky question that I talk about in my book. Personally, I always tip people whose living is "performing", whether street buskers or "ethnic" characters and the like. But I do think it's important to take the local economic conditions into account.

    BTW, a lot of you having been checking out the photos on Travel Signposts, but you should remember that the site is basically designed for travel planning purposes, rather than a showcase for my images. My wife says I should have a sort of portfolio site for people who are more interested in the photo side, so I'll see about setting one up soon.

  • Dennis October 10, 2010 01:54 am

    Killer This is my first time to replay to this foum, even though I've been reading it forever.
    I guess the reason is as I read this it was as though you were reading my mind. One other thing I have always done is shoot from the hip. When auto focus came along, it really helped. Digital of course, makes it all that much better.
    In lots of places photography can be questionable. Like in the Mexico, the native people want to be rewarded for taking their picture, so usually I buy something like a cheap trinket they are selling to get them to give me a shot or shoot first and buy later..10 years later they are keep sakes. In some situations a monopod is good, but with the newer digitals and higher ISOs that is questionable. Longer lens help too.
    You are right about the light. It is just not possible to choose your lighting when travelling most times. So learn to use it to your advantage and use filters.
    Thanks for the tips.

  • Paul Collins October 9, 2010 11:32 pm

    Just bought the E-Book , and loving it

  • PJ October 9, 2010 11:07 pm

    Excellent post. Very informative. Although I don't expect to be traveling abroad, my husband and I do travel and I can totally relate to the comment you made about family members, etc., not be quite as enthusiastic. I too have become a " guerilla photographer" Great subject! Can't wait to read part #2.

  • TomL October 9, 2010 03:36 am

    When I was in India with just a point and shoot I used the "sunglasses in front of the lens" trick for polarising the super bright sun. I had just read about it before leaving on the trip. Worked great.

  • Robin Oberg October 8, 2010 06:14 pm

    It feels like lots of memory cards are really helpful when you're shooting shutter priority.

  • Erin October 8, 2010 04:59 pm

    Thank you Tony, for writing about what most of us probably face every time we get our cameras out in some exotic destination - the light/timing/weather etc are never always going to be perfect, and we don't have the time/money/patience to stick around in the same spot for days to get the perfect shot. I also occasionally find that I have just taken some (potentially great) shots, only to realise that we have gone and changed some setting yesterday (trying to be tricky)!! Very frustrating, but a reality none-the-less, particularly for those of us who are familiar with our cameras, but there are still those tricky few settings it takes a while to find, let alone change.
    Although I use manual quite a lot (only because I am a control freak, not because I am sensible!!) I also find that sometimes it is useful to use the program setting.
    One thing that I do when I am travelling in the middle of the day (because yes, I am restricted by time) I take a lot of detail photos that aren't affected as much by the harsh midday light, and just use landscapes etc as reference photos.
    Happy travels
    Erin

  • Ronaldo Santiago October 8, 2010 03:05 pm

    Like a shot gun, aperture or time priority is semi-automatic. You have to choose an f-top or a shutterspeed manually.

  • Kristen Sassella October 8, 2010 01:19 pm

    Thank you for this article!!! It contained alot of useful information!!! I always look forward to the day you send out the weekly email.

    :-)

  • Tony Page October 8, 2010 01:29 am

    Just a note, if you want to check out the photo albums on my travel planning site, Travel Signposts, please use this direct link as there is some work being done on the home page and directory at the moment:

    http://www.travelsignposts.com/Destination/main.php

  • jonathan neri October 8, 2010 12:19 am

    hello everyone... i want to try guerilla photography. i think this is cool..

  • Tony Page October 7, 2010 10:38 pm

    @fon: Lucky you with blue skies in Beijing at that time, I was fortunate to get good weather in the UK this August-September - even in Scotland! - but it sure rained a lot with grey skies when I was travelling around Germany...

    Tony

  • fon October 7, 2010 08:02 pm

    Thank you for your travel tip. I normally like travel idependently, so I get to choose the time to see a place. Recent trip to China in August on a 3 week guided tour does have limit shooting the panorama or some little creative photos. Though unexpected blue sky in Beijing even in Shanghai briefly! The Yangtze river cruise, Guilin, Xian weather was really the challenge. Plus as an amateur, mistakes made gorgetting to change shooting modes from A to shutter speed...I will definitetly buy Tony eBook. Love reading your posts, they are great.

  • Charles Nestle October 7, 2010 01:37 pm

    Great post. In my experience, traveling with others who want to keep moving at all times, getting a shot is a matter of always running from place to place, or from the car, shooting, and then back to the car. The photo linked below, shot by my girlfriend in Bhutan, shows me in action hurrying to get back to the car. I shoot in aperture preference mode, raw, auto white balance, and frame slightly larger than ideal to give me room to crop later. [eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/7302149@N04/5059091162/' title='Bhutan 2009' url='http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4149/5059091162_175a4932a1_z.jpg']

  • Hrefna October 7, 2010 08:58 am

    Thank you for finaly writing an article that doesn´t say only shoot at the golden hour. It´s litteraly impossible when you are travelling unless you have a looooooot of time.

  • Patrik October 7, 2010 08:02 am

    Thank you for a travel article that doesn't tell us to bring a tripod halfway around the globe! You don't really need that. I you really need a panorma or a night shoot you just have to be a little creative.

  • Dave Hodgkinson October 6, 2010 07:18 pm

    And exposure lock! YES! I've even got the custom button on the S90 set to this function. Coupled with live histogram view it's a lifesaver!

  • Dave Hodgkinson October 6, 2010 07:17 pm

    Tony, it's a great site and I've now liked it on Facebook. But! I'd strongly recommend you get a blog running underneath it. It buys you an RSS feed which the search engines love and it lets people keep coming back for new stuff.

    That said, your Alexa ranking isn't too shabby so you must be doing something right :)

    You should also probably get Google analytics on the site. Saves faffing with log files.

  • dogwatcher October 6, 2010 04:20 pm

    Ups... I meant "So Mr. Page, write a book.." of course.

    And as I've read now, he will publish an eBook. Fine!

  • dogwatcher October 6, 2010 04:15 pm

    FINALLY!

    Somebody with a grip on reality.

    Ideal situation (... as a lot of book authors seem to think as "normal"):

    You're waiting for the perfect light, the perfect moment. You revisit the place so often until
    you get the right shot. With a tripod of course. No one disturbs you.

    Real situation:

    You've got kids around, a dog and a wife. Neither of them is especially fond of waiting forever
    (more than 30 seceonds, that is) to get the photo right. The kid/dog is pulling on your arm, forcing you to shorten your shutter time to get at least a decent sharpness at all.

    I'm happy if I can change lenses in time...

    I often that most of the books must have been written by singles and/or childless photographers.... with plenty of time on their hands.

    Or it's just me and I'm not organizing my time right... ;)

    So, Mr. Rowse: Write a book: "Guerilla Travel Photography 101" or something like this.

  • Tony Page October 6, 2010 02:21 pm

    Thanks for the comments, guys, keep them coming!

    @David Hodgkinson: you get it. Use the right technique and gear to get the result that fits your purpose in taking the shot. For example, "Travel Signposts" is not a photographic but a travel planning site. My users want to see what places are really like, in bad weather or good. Consequently the site contains primarily record shots, although obviously we try to make them look good wherever possible (it also needs drastic editing, but that's another story!).

    @highly-educated redneck: "There’s nothing macho and/or “real” about using manual mode" - yep, exactly my point, use the technique that suits you and the purpose for which you're taking the photo. However, I can't agree with you about metering on current DSLRs.

    @Leo Mangubat: the best lens to use is the one on your camera when the shot appears! Seriously, there is no one "best lens", it depends on personal style and preference. FYI, I have been using my 18-200 VR nikkor as my basic lens recently, although as I'm waiting for a Scarlet this will no doubt change!

    @david: great info on your experiences, very valuable, many thanks for sharing, this kind of practical info is worth it's weight in gold.

    @diana mikaels: I make it a rule NEVER to mess with Vikings! A while ago I spent a fortnight over Christmas sailing up the coast of Norway into the Arctic Circle to Kirkenes, so I know about "The Land of the Midday Darkness". Small bean bags are great, especially useful when shooting out of cramped vehicles in Africa or elsewhere.

  • Rooby1 October 6, 2010 12:41 pm

    What Rebecca said.

    I really feel like referring every "instructor" to this article who, when asked how to travel somewhere to shoot sports with my ultrazoom, would say to every question about how to solve a particular problem "Get a DSLR".

    Also, DerekL, thank you for those tips. :)

  • Diana Mikaels October 6, 2010 07:52 am

    "Guerrilla" Travel Photographer... you say... :)
    Well, have you ever heard about the VIKING Travel Photographer... ???? I'm one of those ! (I'm in Iceland)
    A Viking Travel Photographer has to cope, not with harsh light, but often with lack of light. Therefore, a VIKING Travel Photographer takes *** A BEAN BAG *** along (or actually a cushion filled with those tiny white balls, just like some teddy bears have inside, if u know what I mean...) INSTEAD OF A TRIPOD.
    ****** Now that was a good tip... I know...
    The very good thing about it is that it serves as a cushion when travelling - and that's just what it is - and as a bean bag / tripod when you need one.
    It has saved a number of shots believe me - and my head has rested on it too.

  • david October 6, 2010 06:12 am

    Hey thanks for saying what some of us believe, but it does depend a bit on what camera you are using.

    So far I haven't found a perfect digital travel camera (in my film camera days it was an Olympus AF10 that fitted in my brief case and was small and wasn't too heavy either - no zoom but...).

    Here's a few I have used in the last few years:

    Canon Powershot S5IS

    Nikon D40 kit lens + 55-200VR and later a wide angle Tokina 11-66mm f2.8 (manual focus not hard on the D40 at this focal length)

    Lumix TZ10 (actually my wife's), stunning results minor tendency to blow high-lit areas a little, superb zoom range only time it was really out shot by my D90 was in fading light but nevertheless its was sufficient when you can't tote a D90

    Nikon D90 - hates mad Englishman time of day when you will have to adjust exposure and consider a white balance fix. Good in low light but still some concerns over its jpeg vs raw conversion. Can be used with best Nikon lenses including non-motorised 50mm f1.8 but frankly I never get around to changing lenses much or at all, the kit 18-105mm has almost a perfect range for most travel photography though is too good at drawing attention to itself - you'll often be taken as a serious photographer! MEANS you'll be asked to use everybody else's point and shoots to take their group pictures for them! Often I can hardly see any thing on their rear screens but they check and go away happy!

    Most useful devices on a travel camera

    a tilt folding screen (e.g. like the Canon S5 has)

    AVI movie mode with stereo sound (Again Canon S5) everything else is over the top except the stereo sound which is perfect for things like trains and cars roaring past. Only other thing would be a smell catcher!

    Ability to steal a Still from movie in camera - Lumix TZ10

    Good midday handling Canon S5, Lumix TZ10, Nikon D40

    Good evening low light performance Nikon D90

    Size - this really is a cruncher for me I think I want something as light as a Nikon F65 film camera & its plastic kit lens but not as small as the TZ10 but as competent and the zoom range should be at least 18-105mm or in 35mm terms 26 or 28 to 150mm, more is occasionally useful but not really necessary.

    Viewfinder & live view, none of the above have the perfect combination (the evf on the Canon was one reason why I moved on and the live view on the D90 is clunky and no folding screen etc). Viewfinder is useful in strong light when I prefer to shoot (I don't do going out before the sun's truly up - as a rule!)

    Pixels: 8 is enough, give us more quality, lower light performance, i.e. top resolution and less noise across the range.

    Most Useless things:

    GPS e.g. Lumix TZ10 it's consistently gets it wrong, often with great amusement, i.e. on Platform 1 of Sydney Terminal Station (also known as Central) it plotted the position as Christ Church St. Lawrence which is 100 metres away and a lot smaller than Central which has 25 platforms!

    As to shooting mode:

    F11, ISO 400 can work if you have VR or watch shutter speed doesn't drop too low. On most cameras I use Auto, auto no flash, program or aperture modes depending on the camera. In fact the only camera that needs more than a flick from auto or auto no flash to something else is the D90 and program on the D40 is great but an over complex wizard on the D90 which simply annoys me. Canons customised setting I found useful on the S5.

    Look forward to the next 4 tips.......

  • Leo Mangubat October 6, 2010 05:30 am

    @ Dave - Yes you are right - guerilla shooting. Maybe I am one of those who don't understand guerilla shooting because whenever I go out with my family or friends, I just can't leave my tripod. I am so used to bringing it with me. It really looks awkward and I know it. Let me try leaving my tripod this time and enjoy the holidays!!!!
    Thanks for reminding. I hope I gotcha right!

    @ Tony - I love this tips! I'll have to print these and pin them on the wall to remind me always. Can you also include to discuss what the best lens to use? I always have to change lens while on the trip and most of the time I miss the opportunity because of this.

    Thanks

  • Dave Hodgkinson October 6, 2010 12:24 am

    Now I'm really chuckling. "Manual" and "Tripod" make "guerilla". Riiiight.

    We have competition for the "not getting it" award!

  • Highly Educated Redneck October 5, 2010 10:04 pm

    I don't know about "real" and/or "macho" photographers, but, 80% of times I use manual metering in my photography. 19.999% of the times I use aperture priority metering mode. The rest of the times, I am probably not doing any serious photography, so I don't even care to see what mode my camera is in.

    So, get your facts right! There's nothing macho and/or "real" about using manual mode. Given the fact that most DSLR meters are messed up (they are messed up compared to film SLR meters), manual is your best option to take great photographs.

    Finally, don't forget to take a good tripod on your trips. Enjoy!

  • Dave Hodgkinson October 5, 2010 09:26 pm

    That was a supersonic boom as this article went over @Mattes head.

    This isn't about being Steve McCurry and being commissioned to go somewhere for a couple of week and wait Ansel Adams-like for the decisive moment.

    This is guerilla. We are there for vacation, to enjoy the moment, to eat, to be with friends and family. It's about taking the best shot you can while on the hoof, moving from one place to the next with as little faffing as possible. No tripod. From the hip.

    And agreed with the P&S! I shoot 90% with the Canon S90 now :)

  • Tony Page October 5, 2010 08:53 pm

    Well, I posted this earlier, but it seems to have vanished, so I'll repost it!

    Hi everyone, this is Tony Page, the author of this post. I'm in Singapore at the moment, and it's 30C, quite a difference from the 13C in Germany where I've just flown from!

    Thanks for all your comments, much appreciated. Here's just a few responses.

    @wayfaring wanderer: I usually have the histograms displaying on my LCD, as like you I find it very difficult to accurately judge the shot in bright or dim light. I used a Hoodman to shade the screen but found it too cumbersome after a while. Don't forget to check sharpness at 100%, too.

    @photoshopprincess: good call travelling to Spain in autumn, the sun does not get so high in the sky and the quality of light is not so harsh (for the most
    part) as in summer. Some great colours in the north too.

    @matt: as you say, controlling DOF is very important, especially when shooting closer subjects with a long lens, but I usually find when travelling that motion of the subject or myself can be more of a problem when getting those grab shots. Maybe my hands not as steady as yours, too!

    @dave hodgkinson, @anna patrick: I used to spend ages waiting for all the tourists to clear out of my shots, then realised that they were an integral part of the subject; now I am quite aggressive in building them into my interpretation, and often incorporate someone photographing their friend etc. You need a spread of subjects, but people shots are a must, and interacting with your subjects (don't be shy!) can be very rewarding and give you some of your best memories.

    @rich d: you're absolutely right about shooting details. I like food shots, especially when the dish is tied in to a particular place - we photographed quite a few sausages in Germany, for example!

    @earthboundmisfit: reflections in vehicle windows can be a real pain, and they're not so easy to remove in Photoshop either. If you're on a coach tour, you can often use one of those coach curtains as a "hide", in the same way old time photographers used a black cloth over their heads when looking at the ground glass screens on their cameras. In general, I find getting really close to the glass and using my hand as a shade/support against the window is the best approach. A longer focal length helps, too.

    BTW, I hope you noticed that I chose some shots made with point and shoots for this article, you don't need a Hasselblad for everything!

  • Mattes October 5, 2010 08:45 pm

    Oh well.

    I though this article was about taking photos, not snapshots.

    Every image shown above is poor, witout any real reason. Changes to the better could have been made in seconds by any experiences photographer who cares a little bit about what he's doing.

    For snapshooters only trying to capture some memories, this might be helpful - but photography is something different.

    Regards

    Mattes

  • domagojs October 5, 2010 08:06 pm

    great article. it's so true that the pros write advices from their perspective, being on a commissioned assignment to photograph those places, while we usually go there as tourists and take photos out hobby.

    I'd also advise if your photographing people at noon try to find some "open shade" as they call it. It can do wonders for shadows and colors...

  • Tony Page October 5, 2010 06:49 pm

    Oops! Sorry, I mistyped the website address in that last reply, should be guerrillatravelphotography.com.

  • earthboundmisfit,i October 5, 2010 03:37 pm

    oh I love this post :) I spent a month in Africa recently and spent almost the whole thing in a truck or bus so almost every shot is from said moving vehicles. Even aside from being a noob with a newish camera, taking photos from a truck doing 120 down a bumpy round often surrounded by smog and dust not to mention window reflections - not the greatest shots but it's all part of it and this has reminded me not to feel so bad and compare my shots so much to those who have the time and money, and expertise to set up and plan each one. My camera was generally on manual but pretty much the same settings the whole time. Definitely can't adjust while driving!
    Can't wait for the next part

    Luckily though I managed to capture plenty of serenity too :)

  • Tony Page October 5, 2010 02:26 pm

    Hi everyone, this is Tony Page, the author of this post. I'm in Singapore at the moment, and it's 30C, quite a difference from the 13C in Germany where I've just flown from!

    Thanks for all your comments, much appreciated. Here's just a few responses.

    @wayfaring wanderer: I usually have the histograms displaying on my LCD, as like you I find it very difficult to accurately judge the shot in bright or dim light. I used a Hoodman to shade the screen but found it too cumbersome after a while. Don't forget to check sharpness at 100%, too.

    @photoshopprincess: good call travelling to Spain in autumn, the sun does not get so high in the sky and the quality of light is not so harsh (for the most part) as in summer. Some great colours in the north too.

    @matt: as you say, controlling DOF is very important, especially when shooting closer subjects with a long lens, but I usually find when travelling that motion of the subject or myself can be more of a problem when getting those grab shots. Maybe my hands not as steady as yours, too!

    @dave hodgkinson, @anna patrick: I used to spend ages waiting for all the tourists to clear out of my shots, then realised that they were an integral part of the subject; now I am quite aggressive in building them into my interpretation, and often incorporate someone photographing their friend etc.
    You need a spread of subjects, but people shots are a must, and interacting with your subjects (don't be shy!) can be very rewarding and give you some of your best memories.

    @rich d: you're absolutely right about shooting details. I like food shots, especially when the dish is tied in to a particular place - we photographed quite a few sausages in Germany, for example!

    BTW, I hope you noticed that I chose some shots made with point and shoots for this article, you don't need a Hasselblad for everything!

  • Rich D., Wedding Photographer October 5, 2010 12:53 pm

    I always look for the details. The wide angle photographs of important places/monuments are mostly for my own memories. It's the details that show a sense of place and customs - like the fish market photo in the article.

    They are also much more marketable in travel stock than the wide angle scenics that are tough to pull off in an original way.

  • Nancie October 5, 2010 12:26 pm

    Thanks for the great down to earth advice. I research before I travel, but once I'm there I have to take the photo....ideal conditions or not. I can wait until the lighting is perfect or the sky is blue.

  • Anna Patrick October 5, 2010 07:56 am

    Travel photography is one so generous in subjects, but you have to adapt to the sometimes "rough" conditions of lightning and location. I would've love to read more about capturing the people figures in the travel shots. These tips will sure help getting the best from our travel photos!

  • Bjorn October 5, 2010 05:05 am

    Much of my travel photography revolves around road trips (either by car or motorcycle). and you are absolutely correct, you have to shoot when you're there.

    Period :)

    Good tips.

  • Dave Hodgkinson October 5, 2010 04:36 am

    I get to travel a fair bit and take lots of photos. But I REALLY want to step up my travel photography and yes, maybe get published.

    The one thing I want to do is get more *people* in photos. Architecture is all well and good but you can't beat people doing interesting stuff!

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/davehodg/3397084569/

    Great tips though :)

  • Matt October 5, 2010 03:43 am

    I spend 90% of my time in aperture priority mode. I can control DOF that way, get what I'm looking for, and switch to shutter priority when controlling motion blur. It's perfect.

  • DerekL October 5, 2010 03:13 am

    I find that Flickr's photomaps and Panoramio photos in Google Earth are excellent tools for scouting locations before a trip.

  • rebecca October 5, 2010 02:44 am

    I LOVE the honesty in this post. I agree so much and feel vindicated for all the times I didn't follow the correct 'procedure' in each photo situation. And really, when you are on vacation with others it is hard to shoot during the golden hours.

    I also found checking online images of the locations we were traveling helped highlight what I would expect to be seeing and help fuel creativity for the shots.

  • Carmen A. October 5, 2010 02:43 am

    Finally...someone addresses those facts!!! Most of the time you're on a tour that starts very early (in a bus) and gets to the destination right smack in the middle of the day and then just when the light is getting perfect it's time to go back in a moving bus.Loved the article and can't wait for pt.2.

  • Scott October 5, 2010 02:05 am

    Great article, nice tips, and glad to see it. This is reality, as much as we enjoy photography traveling is usually about just that - traveling, and you have to move on. The light is seldom ideal, make the most if it, do the best you can, critique yourself later...hesitate and you'll miss what opportunity you have.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lendog64/4720200521/

  • Ellie October 5, 2010 01:12 am

    Hi guys - I am a guerilla photographer and proud of it. Thanks for the tips. I am learning lots and my photos are showing the difference. I must try the sunglasses trick though. Most of my photos are in bright, bright sunlight in the desert and white out of colours is always a problem.

    Can't wait for the next tip. :-D

  • BCOT October 5, 2010 01:07 am

    Thanks for this post. As a frequent traveler, I've often found myself in that space where you have to take the photo now, this is especially true on cruise vacations.

  • PhotoshopPrincess October 5, 2010 01:00 am

    ughh... i was eating a banana before i got to that fish pic... =/
    xD

    hehe... im an early riser, and my whole family is not... so before they wake up... ima gonna make myself some pics :DDD... in the "golden hours"

    its a good thing we travel to spain in autumn... the weather is less severe and i guess the sun rise will be a bit later than it is in the summer... :)

  • Wayfaring Wanderer October 5, 2010 12:58 am

    I absolutely L O V E this post, especially since, more often than not, I find myself in not-so-ideal shooting situations. Mainly, mid-day sun in most cases, but I've learned how to get good shots nonetheless. As far as golden hours are concerned, I'm not that dedicated....usually!

    One trick that helps me quite a bit when shooting in the bright sun is reading my HISTOGRAM to make sure that my photos are properly exposed. It's really difficult to see the shot clearly on the LCD screen when it's uber bright out, so the histogram helps since it can be decipher at a glance.

    Looking forward to Part 2! Thanks for sharing :D

    ~WW
    http://www.wayfaringwanderer.com/2010/10/fun-things-to-do-in-fall-north-carolina.html

  • Diane October 5, 2010 12:51 am

    Love the article Tony - those are great tips!

Join Our Email Newsletter

Thanks for subscribing!


DPS offers a free weekly newsletter with: 
1. new photography tutorials and tips
2. latest photography assignments
3. photo competitions and prizes

Enter your email below to subscribe.
Email:
 
 
Get DAILY free tips, news and reviews via our RSS feed