Focus on…Travel!

by | Sep 21, 2020 | Blog, Travel | 1 comment

Have Camera, Will Travel!

My favorite aspect of being a photographer is being able to travel with my camera in hand. I’ll go anywhere! A day trip down the coast, or a flight overseas and I’m in the zone! I’m much happier and make better images when I’ve done my homework by researching the location of my shoot and I’ve packed the right equipment.

12 Photography Tips for Local Travel:

Before you leave:

1. Search the web for area photos: Start by researching the Chamber of Commerce or Tourism Board of the area you’ll visit. Also, check websites by making a search that’s as easy as “where to take pictures in… (enter city/area). The search engine Yelp will give you many locations that include pictures, maps, addresses, reviews, and websites of a point of interest.

2. Check the weather forecast for the duration of your stay. It’s a good idea to check the weather report so that you pack accordingly. Remember to bring rain gear for both you and your camera.

3. Check apps for the moon schedule and night photography. You may want to check the app. MoonCalendar to see if you may have a full moon, or if you have nights without a moon that would be good for night photography. I also use the free app. PhotoPills to calculate the location of the Milky Way for night shots.

4. Confirm hotel reservations. Print out your email confirmation from the hotel. Do you need to ask for an early check in?

5. Gas up and program your GPS or find an area map. Have addresses and contact info ready. Do you need money for highway tolls or do you have an electronic pass in your car?

6. Carry business cards – People may stop you to ask questions or express an interest in your photos and you could generate some business by handing them your card.

7. Photo Release Forms – If you take pictures of people, then bring a pad of release forms or download Photo Contract Companion ($.99). I try to downplay the contract and use it only if I think I have a fantastic image. Most folks may be nervous about signing a “contract” and will have lots of questions. My approach is to show them the photo, use a complement such as “You have such a great look, or little Jimmy is so cute!) and assure them that you won’t post the pic on Facebook, or Twitter, etc. Promise that you’ll email the photo to them and smile a lot, it helps!

8. Keep a “Ready Box” in the back of the car that contains: water for you to drink or for cleaning situations, fruit, granola bars, or trail mix, to stave off hunger so you can keep shooting, boots and a trash bag for dirty boots, a towel and a lightweight mat (great to use at the beach to keep tripod bushings clean – a large trash bag or a raincoat works really well, a roll of paper towels for coffee spills in the car or other needs, a blower (for emergency cleaning situations like dropping a lens at a beach – I did this once!), a raincoat, and an umbrella. I also add a strong flashlight, bug spray, sunscreen and a hat. When not in useI remove my “go box” from the car and store it in a certain place in my garage so it’s always handy.

9. Plan for the light! I’ll leave at 3.00AM if it means that I can catch a gorgeous sunrise. Download apps for sunrise and sunset times such as TPE (The Photographer’s Ephemeris). This 5 star rated app has a great map that can pin-point exactly where the sun will rise and set, as well as the moon rise and set times based on your location and it has topographic maps including elevation, celestial events and a light pollution overlay.

9. Travel Light! I use a small backpack that will hold a camera and up to
two lenses and that has pockets for batteries, memory cards, my wallet, and car keys. I leave a larger bag in the card covered with an old towel.

10. Always bring your camera’s manual! Always, always, always! It’s really easy to download the app for your manual so you will have it on your cell, tablet and/or computer.

11. Scout your location the day before if possible! The simple act of finding your way to the place of your planned shoot can help you save time the next day. You’ll be confidant that you know how to reach your destination, will have seen your subject and therefore can begin visualizing the images you’d like to make, and can take test photos to look at that evening. Did you capture the right angle? Can you improve on the light or direction of the shot?

12. Make Images with a Strong Sense of Place! – Think about how to  make your images stand out so that when you look back on them several years later you instantly know where you took them. Remember those achingly boring slide shows of your uncle’s travel pictures? What is the visual signature of the area? Is it urban or rural, seascape or landscape, densely or sparsely populated? How can you express this in your photos?

Now Hit the Road!

1 Comment

  1. Liz Myers

    Great tips! Hadn’t thought of the “go box” – but makes perfect sense.


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