Traveling is a fantastic opportunity to look at the world through a whole new perspective.
Whether you’re traveling a few hours away or across the world, a change of scenery gives budding photographers a chance to get some great shots.
Tip 1: Travel light
Even if you’re only going a few hours away (and maybe especially then), you don’t need to pack your fifteen lenses, four flash diffusers, and seven tripods. One or two lenses are all you need; one renowned travel photographer doesn’t even travel with a camera bag or lens cap, just a strap around his neck.
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He feels that the seconds lost getting ready for a shot are seconds too precious to be wasted. You don’t want to be bogged down switching between lenses while you’re traveling; just pick one or two multipurpose lenses and go.
Tip 2: Research, research, research
Do all your homework before you go. Research where you’re going, how to use your camera, everythingbeforeyou go. If you aren’t comfortable with your equipment, your subjects will be able to tell, and they may not feel as comfortable with you.
If you can, connect with local photographers at your destination. They know the terrain better than you do, and they can direct you to local newspapers and sites to get you off the beaten path.
Tip 3: Trust your instincts
Establishing good relationships as soon as possible is vital to your safety. Particularly for female photographers, the key is to blend in. Women may want to wear a headscarf in certain destinations, and demure, nondescript clothing is best for everyone.
Avoid looking like the stereotypical photographer with baggy cargo pants or a vest stuffed with things; you’re traveling light anyway.
Tip 4: Remember it’s about the people
Unless you’re a purely landscape photographer, most of your shots will involve people. Gaining the trust of the people around you is crucial. Making friends with the leaders in whatever community you find yourself in will also help expand your horizons.
When you show that you trust and respect the community leaders, doors open all around you. Being friendly and open with the people around you will give you much better results, and you’ll have a much more genuine experience.
You’ll probably have a lot more fun too. Locals know the most interesting off-the-beaten-path places that you’d never find otherwise.
Tip 5: Don’t forget to experience the trip
Don’t get so caught up in taking pictures that you forget to look up from the lens and actually experience your trip.
The pictures will come, but looking around and taking in the whole experience will be a lot more meaningful than just peering through your viewfinder the whole time.
That genuineness will come across in your photos, and you’ll have a better trip. Win-win for everyone!
So do your homework before you leave and remember that relationships are vital. It doesn’t matter how far you’re going, if you keep these tips in mind, you’re sure to have a great trip, and get some great pictures.
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