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5 Essential Travel Photography Tips

by Samantha Lee (follow)
Blog (395)      Articles (166)     

We wanted to share 5 simple tips for aspiring travel photographers to consider before they leave home:

1. Learn to shoot panoramas

Travelling often exposes you to views that are so vast, it's hard to imagine it ever fitting into a little rectangular box. When this happens, it's best to try to capture it through a panorama.

The way panoramas work is that several different photographs are combined to form one wide photograph. Most smartphone have a built in camera feature that works pretty intuitively, but when using a DSLR, I usually use the Photomerge feature of Photoshop to stitch my images together.

There are a few things to keep in mind when shooting photographs you will stitch together later:

a) The images should overlap by at least 40 percent. This gives Photoshop enough room to work with to be able to align your images. I usually like to turn the grid on in my camera to help me determine this.

b) Remember to shoot in manual mode so that your images look consistent. Shooting in auto mode may cause the color balance or exposure to change, which will give your photograph a different look from each other.

c) Shoot using JPEGs. Since you are already putting several photographs together, your final photograph file will be bigger in size and slower to process if you shoot in RAW.

2. Practice night photography

Different cities have different urban designs, which makes for interesting night photographs even when you’re just using your smartphone. But if you’re using a DSLR, always use a tripod to avoid camera shake and blurry photographs. Remember to keep the ISO as low as possible, open up the aperture, and lower the shutter speed to get the best results.

I always love shooting under street lamps and store displays and I never turn on my flash. If I have an extra pair of hands, I usually ask a friend to turn on the torch feature of their smartphone to add extra lighting.

3. Use flash in moderation

There are some places or situations where using your flash is completely unacceptable. Different countries have different cultures and traditions, so it would be worth checking if you are allowed to use your flash before shooting. Churches and temples, for example, are still places of worship. Even if you are allowed to use flash, do it in moderation.

To get the best “natural” effect when shooting with flash in churches and temples, I like using a higher ISO and wider aperture. It would also be helpful to find something to bounce the flash off, like a blank wall, instead of pointing it directly at the subject.

4. Don't forget the practical things

I often travel with three different types of cameras. A DSLR (which doubles as a quality video camera), my iPhone and a film camera, just to keep things interesting (plus I always have another camera in case one breaks). It’s always a good idea to invest in an extra battery pack, powerbank for your mobile phone, plenty of memory cards, and extra rolls of film if you shoot film. You don’t want to miss out on moments over something as simple as a camera that ran out of battery, especially if you’re using your smartphone to take photos. Most airports and train stations have vending machines that sell power banks that can charge your smartphones on the go. I invested in one that can fully charge my iphone twice, just to be safe.

5. Backup your photos
A lot of things can go wrong while you’re travelling, but one of the most painful experiences would have to be losing your photos. You can’t prevent theft, your memory card getting corrupted, or your camera falling into the ocean, but one thing that you can do is backup your files remotely at the end of each day. Most hotels have wifi access so you can do this. You can also use Facebook as a way to upload albums, update your friends on your adventures and backup your files in the process. However, Facebook doesn’t upload your files in high definition or RAW format, so it’s still safer to upload bigger files remotely.

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