Before you go on your holiday, wherever it is, make sure you read these 79 essential travel photography tips, with crucial advice on everything from packing to the best camera settings for your destination. Images and words by Tom Mackie
With the holiday season upon us, there's no time like the present to hone your photographic skills to enable you to capture glorious travel photography fit for a gallery wall - or at least pride-of-place in your living room!
But the variation of subject matter and lighting conditions you'll be greeted with while overseas can be daunting to capture successfully, especially if you're juggling quality time with your family against quality time with your digital camera!
That's why we've put together no less than 79 tried-and-tested travel photography tips to guide you through the best ways to tackle photography while on the road - all from personal experience!
We start with crucial travel photography tips for planning and preparing for your trip. Then there are essential camera skills, from aperture choice to metering; clever photographic techniques, from composition (read our 10 rules of photo composition - and why they work) to using filters, as well as creative techniques to master, from stunning silhouettes at sunset to picturesque panoramics.
Plus there are tons of quick photography tips to help you while on vacation, including what lenses to consider, how to shoot better candid portraits and what to photograph when it's raining.
Travel Photography Tips: Packing and Preparation
Tip 1: Pack just what you need
Only take kit you'll need for your chosen location. For example, it's pointless taking mosquito repellent to a desert. With more weight restrictions on airlines, pack only the clothes you will wear - then take half of them out as you will survive without them! On one trip, I'd missed the check-in time so I couldn't check my bag, so I quickly stuffed my clothes down the sleeves of my coat and wore the rest on the plane.
Tip 2: Research the location
Find out as much as you can about your destination by reading up on practical guidebooks, such as Lonely Planet or Rough Guides. The internet is also invaluable, with many specialist websites giving in-depth information about even the most off-the-beaten-track locations. Read forums for other people's first-hand experiences, especially on how to access difficult areas for photography and what time of year is best to go.
Essentials to pack
Tip 3: Don't forget battery chargers for your camera and mobile phone - and a travel adaptor.
Tip 4: A laptop is great for backing up images, keeping in contact via Skype or email, as well as rudimentary image editing.
Tip 5: A portable hard drive is essential for making a secondary backup, in case the laptop gets stolen.
Tip 6: A Gortex zip-out, fleece-lined jacket is especially useful - even in summer. It has loads of pockets for survival essentials such as a torch, waterproof trousers, and a Gerber multi-tool.
Tip 7: My Flight Logistics sunrise/sunset calculator tells me exactly where the sun will rise or set, anywhere, at any time of year.
Tip 8: Beat the rush
While most tourists are still asleep, I'm out making the most of the great morning light - and because most people are still in bed you won't have coach-loads of people getting in your photos and spoiling your shots! Photographing villages, towns and cities at this time of day makes the photographic experience more enjoyable.
Late afternoon and on - until after the sun sets below the horizon - is another ideal time to take pictures. In the so-called 'magic hour' - when the sun is just above the horizon, either in the morning or evening - scenes are illuminated with a wonderful warm, golden glow.