Travelling is fun but there are ways to enhance the joy that you will get from your travels. Imagine you're travelling with a large suitcase and two cameras on your neck! That'd be a huge problem! In order to increase the pleasure you'll get from you travels, here are 10 tips for travel photographers:
1- Choose your equipment wisely!
Depending on the duration of your travel, it'd be a crazy idea to bring all your equipment to your journey. Of course I am not assuming you have 5 camera bodies, 36 lenses, 5 tripods but again, 5 lenses with one camera can be a mistake too if you're not planing to shoot something specific. Ideally 1 body with two lenses will be more than enough. Try to pick the lens you're most comfortable with and the one that is more suitable for your travel. Imagine you're visiting a Historic Central European city with tiny medieval streets and shooting with a 135mm lens. That'd suck! So one your favorite lens + another prime that fits to the design of the city or a zoom lens will be enough! About the tripod: If you're not a late night shooter or a long exposure shooter you won't need one but if you enjoy long exposed shots, then I recommend something compact and light. Slik Compact II is what I use, but I'm sure that there are more advanced or tiny models out there in the market.
2- Create your route before
Especially if you're travelling for a short period of time, you really need to work on your daily routes so that you can avoid from spending too much time on uninteresting places. I am not saying that you can get nothing from those kind of places, but Its more likely that you need more time to spent there. For instance the photo above is a great example for this. I was just walking in an empty and dull street and suddenly run into those surreal looking couple. There is a but here, I spent almost one hour till I run across into those two and after spent at least 15 minutes to reach a more pleasant looking area. Before creating your route, try to spot the touristic and local areas. Last but not least, if it takes too much time to arrive to your next point -depending on the country/city- then try to use public transportation or just rent a bike.
3- Interact with people
Interaction is really important especially for documentary and travel photography. Weather you're in a rich area or a slumdog, social hierarchy is everywhere. Communicating with the right person can open all the doors for you. With the approval of the worthy, you can easily photograph the rest of the society. Communication is the key to make others accept your presence.
4- Find locals for guidance
It's important to meet with locals with similar tastes because they can show you places that there is no way a tourist can discover. This way you can get deeper and find more interesting scenes. Even if they won't show you around, they can give you some interesting tips about the city. exactly.me is an app built for this exact purpose.
exactly.me is an app matching people with similar tastes. Instead of swiping people, you're swiping content for finding your buddy. That can be a great app for photographers what want to meet other photographers. And why not using it for your travels and finding local photographers? The only drawback is it's only available for iOS but hopefully the Android version will be out soon.
5- Choose the right clothes
You have to decide what clothes you carry by taking into consideration the climate and the cultural structure. This way you won't get affected by the weather conditions and get into the crowd more easily. By wearing the local clothes, no one will consider you as a foreigner. Even if they understand that you're a foreigner, because of the clothes, you'll be easily accepted by the community. The right clothes can open the doors of a deeper story in your travels.
6- Read before you go
If you want to feel the place that you want to visit, then i recommend you to read a novel that took place in your destination. This will create an instinct about the place. Reading a book will connect you to the place with a story/a deeper meaning.
7- Travel light
Especially if you travel for photography, it's better to avoid carrying heavy weights. Of course the amount of clothes you carry will depend on the duration of your trip, there are some tricks for you to decrease the weight to a more tolerable level. For example pieces like t-shirts, underwear and socks can be washed and dried easily. So, instead of bringing 30 t-shirts for one month trip you can bring 10 and reuse them after washing. Especially if you travel during the winter, its better to get a thermal underwear.
8- Wake up early
Morning light is the best when it comes to photography. Most of the places are quiet in the mornings, only people who woke up early to go to work or the ones like to wake up early are around. Combining those two facts, it's more likely you get a better shot in the mornings. Important monuments are less crowded, giving the chance to photograph them in a better way.
9- Be patient
When you saw a great scene but something is missing from it, maybe the right character to fill that stage. And you patiently wait for him/her to get inside your frame. Click and you get the beautiful shot that you designed in your mind. That's the reason patience is important, it gives your shots a deeper meaning. If you see a nice scene just work on it, try to dive deeper. If the human element is missing, wait for the right person to enter your frame. It will wort it!
10- Just enjoy it
Sometimes obsession of taking good pictures makes us stressed. By pushing ourselves to get better frames makes us blind in one aspect. The thing that I realise after I got into photography is, when I enjoy taking pictures and being positive, I got better reactions from other people and get better shots. Sometimes its better to put the camera down and enjoying your surrounding. It will sure makes us look in the scenes with a different perspective and improve the quality of our pictures.