Travel and photography are closely connected to each other for me. As a photographer, I am always on a hunt for fresh subjects and new inspirations. Having been to over 20 different countries around the world, I think I am at a place to discern a thing or two about travel photography. Admittedly, over the years, I have committed a lot of mistakes: I’ve lost and destroyed equipment or parts of it, dropped bits and pieces in the water and even left gear in my hotel room. So here are some tips collected after all the travel adventures and misadventures I’ve participated in.
Santa Rita Fiesta, Pampanga, Philippines
I’m certain you can get carried away with the lens choice but you have to resist the “Maybe-I-need-this” mentality. Just choose the most practical. My choice of lens is a 24-105mm, a fast 50mm and 135mm. If I had to I could leave the 135mm home, if I had to. When it comes to body, I always travel with two, if one breaks then I’d take steps far back from technological advancement and go back to “drawing” what I see. I am more particular when it comes to light because it is the essence of photography. This is what makes a great shot. So I would suggest 2 speedlights and a way to trigger them off camera and finally, a monopod that has legs.
Chang Mai, Thailand
Plan of Action
Unless you plan on photographing aimlessly during travel, you need to create a plan of action. First you have to know exactly where you’re going and determine when the sun is going to be serving its purpose on your desired location. Always have a plan B, you have to be ready to deal with mishaps or situations that are potentially problematic: rain, threats of trespassing, political unrest, etc . Then you can browse on images of the travel destination that have already been taken (Through Google, Flickr, etc.). Next, you have to assess your limitations and feasibilities. Examples of questions you may want to ask yourself, “Do I want to get up at 5 a.m. to catch the sunrise?”, “How much am I willing to risk to capture the image?”, “Is it okay for me to break the law and if so, did I prepare bail money?”, etc.
Plaza Mayor, Madrid, Spain
Hire Local Help
A tour guide, who can interpret and drive, is the best one to hire. Never follow the tour package as they’re not there to please one person. You might be missing out on a lot of subjects that are not included in the tour package itinerary.
I hope that these ideas will be useful on your planned trips. Remember, bring the essentials, always have a back up plan and hire a local if you need to. For me travel photography is like flowing water, I just take the path of least resistance. Most importantly, you’re not only there to capture the sites but to savor them so don’t forget to have fun, your on vacation!
Written & Photos by Ashton Boni