Travel Photo Guide  

Photo: Preparations in the making.

Preparation
 Planning  A trip begins already back home and preferably with some foresight so you can plan your photography at the destination carefully. The better preparations, the better chances to get those shots you want. 

Search for photos of your destination on the internet and instagram to see what it has to offer and get inspired by what photos you can expect. It's of course hard not to shoot those typical tourist images of specific landmarks but an angle that differs from the standard shot really stands out in the album.


Photo: Local bus in retro style photographed in El Salvador while on transportation by car.

Shooting during transportation
 Photography   To get the most out of your photography and not to miss authentic local scenes you must always be prepared and have the camera easily accesible. A lot of photo opportunitites arise during transportation, always try to get a seat in the front or the very rear when going by bus. Shooting through glass is sometimes hard but it works fine when shooting straight forward or straight rearwards. In this way you are able to get rid of unwanted motion blur or decrease the risk for unsharp images compared to be shooting sidewards through the windows. 

Photo: Window view of the Öresund bridge linking Sweden and Denmark.

Window seat
 Photography   Always ask for a window seat when flying and make sure to make some research of how the airport is located and in what directions the airplanes land and take off. It's of course weather dependant but most of the time prevailing weather conditions exist at many airports. Many landmarks and beautiful views can be seen both on approach or during climbout so the camera should be ready all the time.

Photo: The Svartifoss Waterfall in Iceland with motion blur of the water.

Filter photography
 Photography  To get those beautiful shots of waterfalls without freezing the water especially during daylight you have to use grey filters. These filters make it possible to use longer shutterspeeds for reaching the motion blur of the water. There is a lot of different apps out there helping you getting correct settings for shutter speeds and exposures. 

I mainly use the following app:

NDTimer

Photo: Closeup of the Public Market Center sign  in Seattle at blue hour..

Closeups
 Photography   To get the best out of your presentation the travel photos must include a wide variety to create attention. I think it's important to present the photos in a nice mix of different angles and objectives, it gets quite boring browsing through photos only composed of side on shots of for examples buildings.

Even though many cities offer a great number of interesting buildings that you want to display, it may not be neccessary to display them in all in it's full context and in the same way.
A closeup of an element of the building may be the variety and mix you need. Most of the time it even makes the photo far more interesting than a side on shot. Another advantages of shooting closeup are that you can get rid of disturbing elements in the photo and be more creative.


Photo: Universal Time Coordinated almost corresponds to the GMT if you have problems finding it as time zone in your camera settings.

UTC - Universal Time Coordinated
 Editing  Travelling different time zones and continuously updating your time setting in the camera will probably be forgotten somewhere during the trip. Back home when importing the photos into your editing program you will certainly have a real mismatch if you want the photo sorted chronologically.

My advice is to have your camera set for UTC time all the time. If you for some reason need the exact hour you just add/subtract the hours needed to get back in the real time zone. You don't have to calculate for summer or winter time either.

Photo: Christ Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro facing the sun during the early morning hours.

The best of light
 Planning  A great way to know how the sunlight will be at different locations is to use the Photographer's Ephemeris tool. Here you will find out how the light will be at a landmark at any specfic time and date.

Take this into consideration while planning the day so you won't end up disappointed with bad light conditions when arriving at your photo spot. In the same time it saves time which you can spend shooting somewhere else. 

Get the app here:
http://photoephemeris.com




Photo: The rape seed blossoming in the county of Skåne, south of Sweden, only last for some few weeks in May.

Season variations
 Planning  When is the best season for your destination to be visited to get out the most of the photography?

Some destinations is dependant on the season especially if you want to photograph typical scenes or objectives only available during short periods of time during the year. For example the tulip flowering in the Netherlands only last for some weeks during the spring between april-may and the animal migration in Serengeti National depends on the rain from year to year. 

Photo: Empire State Building and Manhattan as seen from Rockafeller Center, New York.

Tallest not always the best
 Photography   In a tourist perspective getting up in those high buildings of the world is a must do but in the perspective of a travel photographer it's the other way around. Try to find another high building where you are able to shoot that high building from a similar level and create a great composition of the skyline. I guess you will save a lot of time and queing, while not getting up in those worst tourist attractions. A great example is of course Empire State Building which can be nicely framed from Rockefeller Center.

Photo: St Peters Basilica in Vatican City shot with the camera low with the cobblestones adding that extra effect to the composition.

Standing low
 Photography   Talking about the variety and different kind of photos that  represents travel photography, I find it hard not to shoot those ordinary shots from eye level of tourist attractions. These kind of photos may not be the most interesting shots and quite insipid photographically. If you want to change that just try putting the camera low or even laying down on the ground while shooting. From down there you will get a completely different view and by far a more interesting composition of the object.

The effect is quite useful when there is people in front of the main objective since they almost seems to dissappear while the foregound stays in focus. The main objective is still there in frame but in a completely new angle of incidence.   

Photo: The guidebook library back home is quite extensive, here is a selection of the Top 10 guidebooks by DK Eyewitness Travel. 

Guide book
 Planning  The perfect help for your preparation is of course an informative guide book. Read about the destination and try to get a picture of it and how you want to explore it. I really like to explore by foot as you will see so much more of the destination and opportunities to get more unique photos.

The guidebooks are great in all kind of ways and often includes maps, history and photos of the destination. I mainly use the guidebooks of the following publishers; DK, Insight Guides and Lonely Planet.

Photo: Avenida 9 de Julio in Buenos Aires as seen from a hotel rooftop bar.

Rooftop view
 Photography   The best view of a city is  probably from above and rooftop views are well worth some research. There seems to be a growing trend of rooftop bars in the world and they can of course offer excellent views. It may be some problem arranging a tripod and start shooting long exposure shots in a crowded bar, if allowed at all. In special circumstances rooftop areas are only allowed for those staying at the hotel, the photo above cost me an additional night stay just to be able to shoot this specific view in Buenos Aires. As mentioned, it could be well worth giving your hotel stays a bit of research too.    

Photo: Pomegranates at Carmel Market in Tel Aviv during day time.

Prioritize objectives
 Planning  The time spent at the destination is often limited and it's hard to be able to both see and photograph everything especially if you want high quality shots. Priority is of great importance and a good tip is to wake up early and go to the main tourist attractions before everyone has awaken, it's worth everything when you get those clean shots of the landmarks without interfering people in the image and the light is at its best as well. When the sun is standing high why not take the opportunity to shoot inside the local market and such places where you want the flow and action of people and goods.

Photo: Japanese fried Tonkatsu, Tokyo.

Food & Drinks
 Photography   Eating local dishes and drinking beer and wine from the region when travelling is in my opinion just as important as sightseeing. In many cases the dishes are great looking objects and well worth to be framed. Shooting food is quite hard and totally different compared to other travel photography genres.  The poor light in restaurant especially during dinner add some more difficulties to this kind of photography.

Anyhow the angle is very important but I find it hard from time to time to get that depth in the photos with a nice appropriate background. If that's the case it may be a good idea to shoot a modern looking still life shot from above to get rid of disturbing object in the background.

Photo: Old Maasai woman, Tanzania.

Portrait
 Photography   A gallery of a country is not complete without having a nice portrait of a native person or in someway related to the country. It feels like many photographers find it hard to ask for permission to take photos of a person and the same goes for me. But I guess a "no" is probably the worst you can get. 

The meeting of new people and cultures are probably some of the reasons you love to travel so don't let the barrier for not asking stop you taking portraits.