When you travel for pleasure, or for work, it’s hard to turn off your photographic eye. More to the point, it’s too much fun to ignore! Wherever you travel, there are bound to be opportunities to take a few photos here and there. Even if you only have an afternoon free between meetings, you can still get in a few ideal landscape photography locations before you fly home. Here are some key tips to follow for getting those great shots while you’re away from home.
Do Your Research
Before you set off on your trip, make sure that you do your research and know where all the major landscape scenes are around where you will be staying. You can do this in a variety of ways. Google Image searches will help you to discover scenic areas nearby, and you can use the information provided on the websites that host them to find out where each location is. You can also access photography forums where you can ask about great places nearby, or read existing discussions on the subject.
Another interesting way to find locations is to use Google’s Street View. As you “walk” along, you’ll find that these views are available even in areas where only a path exists, instead of simply along roads as it used to be. This means that you can explore walking trails and parks and find some exciting areas along the way that you might not expect.
Once you know where the top spots are that you would like to photograph, the next step in your research is figuring out how to get there. Make a file with detailed instructions on how to get to each of the locations from your hotel – and you can even make an itinerary which lists how to move between each of them if you will have time to go to them all in the same day.
Doing your research before you travel will mean that you’re ready to go as soon as you get the chance. You’ll know whether you have time to reach a certain location before sunset, or whether you need to arrange some transport. That takes a lot of time and stress out of the holiday, so you can enjoy yourself more while you’re away.
Check With Your Companions
If you’re traveling with your family, or for work, you might have travel companions who go with you or meet you when you arrive. What’s important is to make sure that everyone is aware of your plans ahead of time so that neither you nor they are disappointed.
A colleague might have set up a whole itinerary of leisure activities to help you enjoy your visit more. Your family might be hoping to go to local tourist attractions, or just spend time together by the pool. Even if you’re traveling with friends, you may each have a different impression of what the holiday is going to be like.
Explain what you want to go see, and why it’s important for you to go and photograph it. Consider how much time you will need to visit, and think about planning a certain day from your trip to get over there. With all the information shared ahead of time, no one will be disappointed when you head off with your camera gear. You might even find that they want to come with you to see it for themselves!
Lighten the Load
When you are packing to go abroad on a photography trip, you might end up packing all of your kit to take with you, just in case. But when you are going on a holiday and might just do a bit of photography on the side, things are different. You won’t want to bring everything you own – not only will it fill up your suitcase and take you over the weight limits, but you probably won’t even need all of it anyway.
If you’re just photographing for fun, you realistically only need one camera body and perhaps two lenses at maximum. You can bring a tripod if you think you will need it, but the rest should be down to the magic of the location. This will mean that you can pack your gear away into a much smaller space, and it won’t weigh as much either. This is also an important consideration for when you land and want to go exploring with your kit on your back!
If you’re anxious about not taking more kit with you, consider this. A truly great photographer can capture fantastic results with only the bare minimum of equipment. It’s not about what you have, it’s about how you use it. Perhaps it’s a good idea to get some practice in on that principle!
Traveling with camera equipment is always a bit of a risk, and you have to make sure that you are fully covered for any eventualities. Take out insurance which covers your camera gear if your luggage is lost, if it gets damaged during transit, or if it gets damaged while you are away.
Make sure to read the terms and conditions very closely. You may find clauses that are cause for concern. For example, when going on a beach holiday, you will want to make absolutely sure that your insurer does not stipulate that damage caused by sand is not covered!
Even if you are only taking a small part of your kit, it will still be expensive to replace. Don’t take the risk of having to pay for it yourself.
Remember that the point of your holiday is to get away and relax – or that the point of your work trip is to work. In other words, don’t let photography take center stage. You need to prioritize the things that you travel to do, instead of focusing on the brief times you have to take pictures and ignoring everything else. While it’s great to be able to record your visit somewhere and maybe get something amazing for your portfolio, it’s also very important to make good memories and live your life while it’s in front of you. Have fun, and don’t take the photography side of your trip too seriously!
It’s always possible to fit some landscape photography into your travels. Just be aware that you may need to be quick, you will need to be prepared ahead of time, and you will need to be mindful of yourself and the others with you. This is the key to ensuring that you not only get some great shots, but that you also have a good time!