After you’ve booked flights and reserved a hotel room in that city you’ve always wanted to explore, the next thing you need to consider is vacation souvenirs. How will you choose to remember these special moments spent with family and friends? Instead of packing an extra suitcase for trinkets you’ll probably forget about in a few years, why not focus on the photography? Create a travel gallery on a wall in your home, scrapbook, send extra photos to family members – the possibilities are endless when you bring your camera.
For those of you planning your next big adventure, enjoy these 10 travel photography tips:
1. Always format your memory card before a trip. Repeat after me: Erasing the old photographs on your memory card by hitting that button on your computer isn’t enough. You need to choose the “format memory card” option on your DLSR while the memory card is still inside. I learned this important tip in a photography class and suddenly the world made sense.
Apparently when you only erase files off of your memory card, it still isn’t a clean slate and the performance of the card is greatly diminished. And then you’ll be taking amazing photographs of Dunnottar castle in Scotland and suddenly your memory card will become corrupt. And you’ll lose all of those pictures because your laptop won’t be able to read the memory card. Ever. Yes, indeed… I have experience with this.
If you need to format your memory card by using your computer, buy an external card reader (they’re cheap and plug into your USB port) and choose the “format” option. Again, this is totally different from just hitting “erase” after you’ve transferred photos to your computer. Format, format, format.
Important tip: Before formatting your memory cards, remember to save these photos! Formatting will erase everything and you won’t be able to get anything back. Scary, no?
2. Pack extra memory cards.
I tend to take a shit ton of photos on vacation, so I bring extra memory cards. And like I said above, sometimes your memory card will choose to go rogue and you’ll need a new one. This tip is self explanatory.
3. Invest in a travel tripod.
Brandon and I love setting up our travel tripod to take photos of ourselves in front of landmarks since it’s always awkward asking a stranger to handle our expensive equipment. Plus, we use our tripod when the lighting is bad or when we want to take cool time-lapse photos in the dark. We have one of these tiny dudes and it fits right in our camera bag, and we have a bigger Sunpak Ultra 7000 2-in-1 Tripod/Monopod that isn’t too heavy to carry. It’s also very sturdy so I don’t feel like my camera will fall to the ground and shatter — very important!
Another tip: When leaving your camera on a tripod, watch everyone closely. Don’t allow someone to steal your stuff!
4. Bring little extras that will make your photos stand out. Red and green filters, circle polarizers, reflectors, and an external flash are all items you can pack right in your camera bag. They’re small but pack a punch.
5. Cloudy days are great for photography. Well, usually. The light tends to be flat but there are no shadows so that’s good. Use your best judgement.
6. When the sun is the strongest (usually around 11-3pm), reserve this part of the day for museums. Usually harsh light means lots of shadows and ugly photographs. Unless it’s cloudy, enjoy museums and other indoor activities around this time, and take photos of the city earlier and later in the day.
7. Get to know the light. Remember that early mornings = soft light, and early evenings = warm light. The light can drastically change the look of a photograph, so try both if you want! I love photography because it’s fun to experiment.
8. If you’re visiting a well-known landmark, take photos from a different point of view. We’re all familiar with the usual photos of the Eiffel Tower, Tower Bridge, Statue of Liberty, and other popular landmarks, so get creative with your shots. Get down on the ground, take the shot through tree branches — do whatever you think will look cool and different.
9. Understand your camera. When you know what you’re doing, you’ll take better photographs. I talk about tips and tricks to improve your photography in this post, and understanding aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and exposure in this post. Figure out what you’re doing before you go on vacation.
10. Keep an eye (and hand) on your equipment. Uncomfortable with the thought of traveling with all of your expensive photography gear? Read my post about tips for traveling with an expensive camera.
Anything else you would add?
Filed Under: Photography, Travel