Traveling is the one thing everyone wishes they could do more of. So When you get to travel you want to make the experience last and a great way to do that is through photography. Having the ability to relive your travels through your photography can bring you joy years after you return home. You don't want to take the same boring vacation photos as everyone else. You're a creative and want to showcase your abilities so when you're showing off your vacation photos to family and friends they feel like they were right there with you. So here are my top tips to getting incredible travel photos with your DSLR.
1. Tell a story
A photograph will retain information better than our brains will so get as much info in each photo as possible. Get try to get at least 2 the 5 W's in each photo. Who What When Where Why. Most of the time the WHY being most important. Who you are with and Where is the easiest. Tell the When and the What if you're going to a festival. Combining multiple W's will always make your photos more interesting and compelling to look at for others.
2. Pack Light
When on vacation I often just bring one lens with me. More often than not its its a prime too. The flexibility of a zoom lens is great don't get me wrong but You still want to enjoy yourself and be in the moment. The weight of a zoom lens is just not worth it to me. It could be for you if you are going to a more scenic location or large event. I might pack one flash with me for getting creative shots but more often than not It gets left in the bag. My bag just has the camera, lens, spare memory cards, an extra battery, and a lens cloth. Most of that could fit in my pocket if I wanted it to. I ultimately want to enjoy as much of my vacation as possible and not have to worry about the excessive amount of gear I could bring.
3. Don't forget the details
What makes travel so great is seeing how different the rest of the world is. If everywhere was just like the town you live in than travel would now be that cool. So figure out what makes that place so unique. Is it the beautiful mountains, is it the incredible food, or is it just great friends? You are telling YOUR story so focus on what makes the place so great to you! You don't have to reinvent the wheel here. Go ahead and take a photo of the leaning tower of piza along with the million other people. But make it your own. Try a unique perspective.
4. Take some video!
"But Raymond this blog is about taking better travel PHOTOS" Ask yourself WHY are you taking photos? To relive an experience. Photos can be great for that but sometimes you can tell part of a story quicker with video. Thats why Youtube is the number 2 search engine in the world and Flickr is not. Every DSLR that has come out in the past 5 years has the ability to record great video. Just take a few seconds of every day life in this place. People walking, the cool shops, the locals. Keep your clips short. 10 seconds will be enough. But what are you going to be doing with all of these video clips?? Funny you should ask
5. Put it all together!
Here is your chance to tell the whole story and not just the bits and pieces with each photo. If you want the ultimate control bring all of your photos and videos into a program like Adobe Premiere or even Apples iMovie. While you will get the control and flexibility with both of those programs they will take up a good chunk of time to create the final video. Thats why I use Animoto for the majority of my videos. Their easy to use drag and drop interface and video themes makes creating incredible fusion slideshows simple and painless. The last night of your trip you can easily make a video of the whole vacation to share with family and friends back home on social media. I made this video below simply with iMovie as I wanted a bit of creative control with the music and the drone shots. This video contains more than just DSLR footage but you get the idea. It took about 5 hours to put together.
6. Back up your photos.
If the point of taking photos is to be able to relive your memories then backing up your digital photos so you don't lose them forever is essential. If you're able to travel with a laptop bring along a slim portable 1tb external drive to back your photos up to. If you're not able to travel with a laptop there are a lot of great wireless hard drives that let you back up memory cards to. My recommendation would be the WD My Passport. It has a ton of storage, a fast usb 3.0 connection, and is under $100. Score
Taking these photos so you can remember your trip later is the goal here. So don't get so wrapped up in taking every photo you can think of or perfecting your technicals that you don't actually make any memories of the trip yourself. Follow these tips and you will be sure to get great photos on your next adventure!