Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Travel Photography Tips for Beginners

Traveling and photography are two closely related hobbies. They complement each other like rain to river and vice versa! If you’re already an enthusiastic traveler but a rookie in the field of digital photography this article is just the one you need to go through at this moment. I’ll be brushing you up with ways to be more stable, ready, comfortable and tuned up to your camera while traveling with these easy travel photography tips.

<00> Choosing the right camera has a significant role on your travel photography. If you’re yet to buy your first point and shoot (P&S) camera and contemplating on purchasing one then better give a read through my article on How to choose your first P&S camera. Why I’m telling you to take the extra labor is- 30% of travelers I come across in my trips struggle badly with their gears and 90% of them carry a DSLR. They’re either not accustomed to carry a weight around their neck or too indifferent to change settings/lens as per the requirement of the scene, thus missing good photographic opportunities! Here, the term ‘right camera’ doesn’t point to the camera best suitable for your destination and subject. It simple means a camera that suits your hand-eye-mind coordination the best. Am I making sense to you?

<01> Never risk taking your newly purchased camera unless it’s your one and only photographic gear. Either spend a week before the trip with your new photographic gadget or show some faith on your old camera for one last time. In my last trekking expedition I met an engineer who had turned up with an ‘out of the box’ camera and faced difficulty in finding proper options/settings/functions throughout the trek. Can you really enjoy traveling with half occupied mind?

<02> Inquire from locals about the time of the day when the crowd around a tourist attraction is minimum and target the place with your camera at those heavenly hours. You’ll have more angles and spaces to try your photography. Naturally your composition will be more subject-oriented and free from distractions. You’ll be free to try this only if you’re not in a package tour, otherwise trust on your luck.

<03> For sunrise and sunset shots try to find some steady support like wall, rock, wooden structure etc and then compose your frame keeping the camera over it ensuring that it’s stable enough not to topple down your gear with the knock of moderate wind. After you’re satisfied with the composition abandon the urge of pressing the shutter and let the ‘self timer’ mode do some work. All these efforts will give you crispier images in low light conditions and your friends may pamper with silly questions like “Are you using a DSLR man?”

<04> When you’re inside a moving vehicle avoid temptation of popping your camera out of the window and take shots, primary reason being your safety and not to ignore the harm dust particles can inflict to your camera lens/sensor! If at all you’ve to capture, do it from the level of the window or occupy the co-driver’s seat and exploit the wide windshield view.

<05> Look for ways to conserve your physical energy plus mental zeal for photography. Usually in a trip we end up exhausting ourselves by unplanned activities resulting from hyper-excitatory state of mind or while trying to curtail the budget. Sometimes we hike too fast, eat too much or travel a lot in a single day. We may forget to judge whether it’s value for money in an impulse to save money and opt for inferior transport or lodging. Later we end up like consumed batteries. In such circumstances we lose our enthusiasm for photography and even if we click there’ll be dozen of factors to deteriorate the image quality- shaky hands, loss of patience, creative apathy etc to name a few. Wise planning of itinerary is a huge deciding factor for this, so, better be insightful!

<06> Always carry extra memory cards. Presently storage media are quite cheap, so there can be no excusable logic behind running out of memory while traveling. Your memory card may get full in a location where you can’t buy one or no facility to transfer data to a DVD. When I was traveling to Kodaikanal, a co-traveler lady came up to me and asked, “I’ve clicked only a couple of hundred snaps but how come it’s showing memory full when I know my card can hold around 600-700 photos?” On inspection I found she had recorded too many video files in that trip which consumed the memory. Same thing can happen to you too. Today’s digital cameras usually come with the facility to capture HD video and you’ll be baffled by the space a HD clip occupies! To avoid being unarmed in the arena stay equipped.

<07> Spend liberally on a high quality camera pouch/bag. In my trip to Goa when I was enjoying the sea over a small boat, big waves came uninvited and stole dryness from everything over our boat. After I regained normalcy the first worry invading my mind was the state of my camera after the brine wash. I opened my wet camera bag to find a surprisingly dry interior! Yes, it’s your rough and tough, preferably branded camera bag that will take extreme natural harshness over it, saving the camera inside from slightest damage!

<08> Extra battery supply should always be ready in your camera bag. Can you easily swallow the pain of losing photographic moments due to dead batteries? If not, carry spare batteries. It’ll be economic for you to have a camera that runs on AA batteries but if it runs on lithium ion battery then also you should keep a charged one especially if you know you’re traveling to a rural or remote place. Unfortunately I had to rely on my mobile camera when my point and shoot camera batteries ran out of charge in the middle of a river cruise and there I had learnt the lesson!

<09> Store a small piece of bright white cloth or paper in your camera pouch and another soft fabric to wipe off dust/smudges from your lens in case of emergency. The white material will help you to adjust the ‘preset white balance’ mode in your camera to get better photos in complex lightings. Considering you’re a beginner, google out and read about preset white balance to widen your photographic horizon.

<10> Please stick to basic photography ethics. Be submissive, courteous and forgiving while trying to photograph people. Introduce yourself at first and then ask for their permission very politely and please don’t nag. Don’t take their denial as your insult. With positive mindset look out for another subject. Make a habit of keeping toffees/candies in your backpack for offering them to children and rest you know. Don’t take ‘No Photography’ boards as bloody challenges. One thing if I forget to mention, I’ll definitely slap my face later- Don’t ever pose facing opposite to idols, be it Buddha or Brahma, it is simply a sign of disrespect towards religious beliefs of a community. Respect the photography rules and regulations at a site. Always keep in mind- world is too big to miss anything out!

I sincerely wish few of travel-photography tips comes to your application. On the process you’ll gradually gain many more things to share back with me. If you’ve some more time give a quick read through my article on how to take good photographs with your point and shoot camera as it’ll stand true for your travel photography too. As you might know, wandering ones gather honey, so keep traveling and clicking!


  1. Quite handy tips for all photography enthusiasts alike I guess :-)

    1. Thanks for dropping by sharing in twitter!
      Please visit back Richa :-)

  2. Why do I think I've read this before but can't find my comment :/

    1. Because you had read it in the old blog. As I'm unable to post anything in that and as this article is directly related to photography I decided to pluck it from there and plant it right here :-)
      I wish I could import your old comment too... Sigh :-/

    2. At least I'm not getting old, imagining things as I first thought :D

    3. Definitely not!... Apologies for losing the comment and making you read the article again :-P

  3. Can I ask you some question? I am newbie photographer searching the best editing soft...I heared about HDR tools http://besthdrsoftwaremac.com/hdr-app-mac/ which can make photos beautiful. What can you say about it? Thanks

  4. Hi,
    Congratulations! Your blog post was featured in our Collective - 10 Ways To Perfect Your Digital Photography
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  5. i am professional candid photographer.. but with these tips i will try travel photography soon publish my pictures

    1. Sir, I'll be delighted to publish your pro-tips on my blog. Please consider helping beginners like us :-)


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