What are the Best Tips for Travel Photography?

Mancunian

Good travel photography is more difficult than it appears; it is easy to take a picture of a well known landmark, but not so easy to capture it in a unique or unusual way. A good travel photo doesn’t need to be technically perfect, but it should be a lasting reminder of a memorable or unique trip.

Historic ruins, like those of Medieval castles, are great subjects for travel photography.
Historic ruins, like those of Medieval castles, are great subjects for travel photography.

Try to photograph well-known landmarks in an unusual way – perhaps reflected in a window or water, or taken from an unusual angle. A photograph of the Eiffel Tower taken from beneath and looking straight up is a lot more unusual and striking than most pictures of the famous landmark. For a different look, consider black and white photography; it can be equally effective with a cityscape or a natural landscape, as the great photographer Ansel Adams has shown.

A cityscape can make a great travel photo.
A cityscape can make a great travel photo.

Travel photography should use weather conditions and the different times of day in an effective way. The Grand Canyon looks much different when photographed in bright sunlight, in the mist, during a thunderstorm, during early morning or at sunset. Cities and buildings too, can appear differently during different weather conditions; arguably a photograph of St. Mark’s Square in Venice is more effective and atmospheric when taken on a misty morning, than on a summer's day.

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Having a portable camera is important when taking pictures while traveling.
Having a portable camera is important when taking pictures while traveling.

Good travel photography also makes use of details. While photographing an outdoor market, take some close-up photos of the different colors and textures of the food. Old buildings can have fascinating details such as window treatments, chimneys, door frames and even the texture of brick or wood, or lettering. While taking photographs in city streets, look up to the rooftops for a different point of view.

Shifting weather conditions can cause the appearance of the Grand Canyon to dramatically change.
Shifting weather conditions can cause the appearance of the Grand Canyon to dramatically change.

People are important when it comes to memorable travel photography; not just scenes of crowds, but close-ups of people, especially if they are representative of the place that is being photographed. A photograph of a policeman or a palace guard sums up London just as much as any picture of the city or its landmarks. People also lend perspective to things, since without a person in the foreground it can be difficult to appreciate just how large or high a natural feature is.

Taking unusual photos of famous sights is one method of travel photography.
Taking unusual photos of famous sights is one method of travel photography.

While enjoying travel, keep in mind that certain cultures, countries or individuals don’t encourage photography or allow themselves to be photographed. Some government buildings, military bases, airports, museums and art galleries may discourage or prohibit the use of photography. If in doubt, always ask.

Locations often look much different when photographed at sunset than they do at high noon.
Locations often look much different when photographed at sunset than they do at high noon.

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