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No matter if you are traveling to take photos or taking photos while you travel, we all like to have pictures to remember the places we’ve visited over the years. Because travel involves so many different aspects of life, travel photography is actually a combination of other genres. You could start your day shooting landscapes in the alps then end with street photography in an alpine village.
Broaden your Knowledge Base
Because travel photography is a compilation of different genres you will need to broaden your knowledge base with regard to those genres. I suggest you start with the following.
The great thing about most of these genres is that if you mind your lighting and composition you can come away with a decent image. Which, when it comes to travel photography, is usually good enough. The exception to that rule is wildlife photography, here you are at the mercy of your subject to some extent.
Take the Right Gear
Taking the right gear can help make your travel photography an enjoyable experience. For some that might mean a single 35 mm prime lens, for others that might mean a camera bag with two or three lenses. It really comes down to your personal preferences and the types of images you want to capture.
When it comes to cameras for travel photography most of us will simply take the one we already own. However, if you are looking for a travel camera I would suggest going with an APS-C sensor camera like the Fujifilm XT-5 or a point & shoot like the Sony RX100VII as these are both smaller in size and more portable.
With lenses it really comes down to personal preference. I’ve seen some people take only a 35mm prime so they have as little gear as possible. I’ve also seen photographers carrying around a host of prime lenses so they always have the right lens for the job. Personally, and I’m not alone, I favor zoom lenses. I used a 24-105mm f/4 lens while in Greece and I have to say it was an excellent lens for what I needed. With the 24 mm I was able to get nice wide shots and the 105mm really helped me to either punch in tight or reach out and get a better shot with regard to subjects that were further away.
Bag or a Camera Strap
You've got the camera and maybe the lens(es), now how are you going to lug it around? Sure you could carry it in your hand for the entire time if all that you have is a camera, but is that really practical? The way I see it you have two choices: a bag or a strap, unless of course you have a small point and shoot that fits in your pocket. I’ve used both during the same trip based on the situation. My suggestion is to try out both and find out which one works best for you. I've settled on the Shimoda Explorer V2.
Cameras require a lot of ancillary gear for you to get the best out of them. You can certainly take just your camera and a single lens, but it might not turn out as well. You might run out of battery or fill up your SD cards, either of which means no more photos. The short list of what I recommend you take is below.
Extra Memory Card(s)
A Way to Backup Your Photos
Document Your Trip
A major part of travel photography is documenting your trip, from the country you're in, the culture, the people you meet, the places you visit, the food you eat, and your interaction with them. All of these experiences combine together to form the overall story of your trip. It might help to think of yourself as less of a tourist, and more of a journalist working on a passion project.
Travel Photography Tips
There are some specific tips that will help you get the most out of your photography while traveling. I’ve learned these over a few trips all over the world and these are all things I have seen other photographers and travelers recommend too.
Do some location research ahead of time.
Hit up the touristy spots, but get off the beaten path too.
Go when the light is good. That usually means getting up early and staying out late.
Keep your camera at the ready. You never know when a shot will present itself.
Respect local laws and customs.
Backup your photos daily.
Make time for your photography.
Travel photography can be a rewarding experience. Yes, you might have a little more to learn in order to be able to do it well. In the end however you will walk away with a collection of photos to remember your travels for years to come. Something I did with my images from a recent trip was to make a photo book and I have to say it is an excellent keepsake and has allowed me to more easily share my photos with family and friends.