Last updated on October 21st, 2018

Travel photography produces the most epic and rewarding photos. There’s a variety of subjects on this planet that can all be photographed differently: landscapes, street art, and foreign dishes, to wildlife, plants, and people. Read the below travel photography tips to getting that ultimate photo.

Travel Photography Tips

1. Travel Light

Pack as little as possible with photography and non-photography gear. You don’t want a heavy load to make it feel like a workout, especially when you’re trekking.

travel light camera gear

Don’t bring everything.

You’ll also need to keep in mind that many airlines charge for checked baggage. If you can travel with your photography gear, laptop, phone, clothes, and hygienic products as carry-on, then you’ll save a bit of money. In addition, you reduce the risk of losing your belongings during flights.

2. Tripod

Bring a tripod. Yes, it will increase the weight and take up more space but you’ll need it for photographing the twilight hours and stars. Photographing sunrises and sunsets is a must for travellers.

Find a travel tripod that is compact and lightweight. An alternative is to use a bag or a rock as a tripod.

Keep in mind not all countries allow airports and passengers to bring tripods as carry-on.

3. Be Weather Ready

Make sure your camera and lens are weatherproof. Rain, snow, and sand storms are always a possibility.

Countries closer to the poles are more susceptible to snow and tropical climates usually have wet seasons. A photographer can easily incur $1000 of camera equipment damage due to an hour of harsh weather – gear up accordingly.

4. Protect Your Equipment

Use a dedicated camera backpack to protect your camera from bumps and bruises. Furthermore, most camera backpacks are water resistant or come with a rain cover for added shelter. They also help with better organizing your gear and personal belongings resulting in saved space.

Most camera backpacks come in carry-on size and many have extra space for a small laptop or tripod.

5. Understand Camera Basics

It’s nice to take a selfie or landscape photo with an iPhone without the need of adjusting its camera settings. But to get the best out of your camera and travel photography, you’ll need to under how aperture, ISO, and shutter speed work.

6. Dress Safe

Don’t wear flashy colors in countries with high risk of theft. It attracts the wrong attention. Leave jewellery and anything expensive that isn’t required back at home, or at least in your hotel or hostel.

Besides, your photography equipment is expensive enough. You’ll want to return home with all your belongings.

7. Use Cloud Storage

The reality is some travellers end up losing their beloved photos due to hard drive or memory card failure, or even theft. The best insurance for securing your travel photos is to back them up to the cloud.

Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, and Sync provide great automatic cloud storage. Usually an entry-level amount of cloud storage is free.

8. Go RAW

Shoot in RAW format or at least the high-resolution JPEG available in the camera. These two formats will provide you high-quality images. If you take your images into Lightroom or Photoshop, RAW or a high-resolution JPEG will provide you the best pixel data for precision editing.

Canon image size settings

RAW and JPEG image settings on a Canon camera.

9. Don’t Use Automatic Mode

Unless you’re taking a photo of your passport, never shoot with the Green Box of Death: automatic mode. Also avoid using one of the pre-defined modes such as landscape, portrait, etc. Be in charge of your camera and use manual or aperture priority (my favourite) mode.

10. Fire Away

Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst, as once said by Henri Cartier-Bresson. Take as many photos as you can. Some of the best photos come from unexpected photographs.

11. Photograph Naturally

Photograph people in their natural state. Don’t ask them for permission, unless it’s culturally unacceptable, if they are children, or you might get hurt. You can always show people your photo after and ask them if they’re okay with it. Just feel out every situation.

12. Zoom Away

There’s nothing worse than seeing a beautiful bird in the trees or a puma up in the mountains and not being able to photograph them due to the distance. Make sure to bring a telephotos lens if you’re planning to photograph wildlife or if your subjects are at a distance.

13. Get an Action Cam

For underwater photography, use a GoPro or get an underwater housing for your camera.

Did I miss any other travel photography tips? Help me add to the list.