Traveling is one of the most unique experiences one can have. Whether you’re headed to a beach in Southeast Asia or a mountain range in Latin America, one thing you’ll definitely want to do is document your trip. Through photos, you can immortalize your memories and convey the personality of a country to others. But if you want to take truly stunning photographs, it's not as simple as showing up to your destination and snapping away.
To take great travel photos, here are some tips.
Wake up early and time your shoots
In photography, the early bird isn’t the only one that gets the worm. Arriving ahead or staying after the crowds have passed lets you capture your destination with less people. Aside from that, sunrise and sunset are also great times to catch amazing light and colors. There's a reason why different points in the day are called "golden hours" and "blue hours." You can definitely expect to capture a specific mood when you shoot during these windows — that is, right before sunset.
Interact with the local community
Taking photos of locals can be pretty tough. For one thing, travel photographer Lucy Laucht explains that it's not enough to just ask for permission. You should be ready to foster a connection before asking if you can take a photo. This can make your ask feel less invasive. You can also try to learn some local customs and basic phrases, especially if there's a language barrier. Even then, don't expect everyone to be okay with it. Some cultures consider taking photos rude, especially with children and elders and in religious settings. Above everything, just be respectful and never pushy.
Pack the proper gear
Having a reliable camera can spell the difference between mediocre shots and beautiful photographs you’ll appreciate. Depending on how serious you are with your craft, the array of options on Adorama show how there are cameras for every kind of photographer. If you’re minimalist and prefer lightweight gear, the Olympus Tough TG-6 is a compact camera that’s built for travel but still gives high-quality images. Meanwhile, if you want something more professional-grade, the Nikon D3500 produces vibrant photos and videos in all lighting conditions. If you plan to do some landscape photography, Wire Cutter suggests travel tripods like the Manfrotto Element Traveler Big — so you can get those shots while avoiding blurs.
Know the rule of thirds
For those who are new to photography, the rule of thirds is the most basic and classic photography tip. It essentially helps you create balanced compositions. The Spruce Crafts gives some pointers, such as knowing which point or line you should place your subject on. For example, if your subject is a person looking to the left, put them on the right side of the frame to avoid the appearance of them just looking off into space. All in all, it's worth getting familiar with it before your trip.
While taking photos of your destination is definitely exciting, keep in mind that we’re still in the middle of a pandemic. For tips on how to stay safe and healthy while traveling, check out our article by former intern, Vinh Tran.