I love to travel, but not all of my trips are “photography trips”. I travel with my family quite a bit. I also know a lot of photographers who travel for business with limited time to get out and make pictures. You can’t always concentrate on your photography as much as you would like when you’re on the road, but here are five tips to help you make the most of your next adventure.
- Travel light. It’s tempting to bring all of your photography gear with you to the family reunion, but I like to bring a small kit when I’m not traveling specifically to make photos. I generally carry one camera, one or two zoom lenses and a speedlight (or LED). I MIGHT bring a macro lens if I know I’m going somewhere I will use it, but usually it’s just a zoom or two. Not only is a small kit easy to carry, it also keeps me shooting more and changing lenses less.
- Do your research. It’s easier than ever to find good spots to shoot no matter where in the world you’re going. I used to read a lot of guide books, but now I just hit the Internet. Google images, G+ and Flickr are just a few places to look for great images from wherever you’re going. You usually have limited time when traveling for business or family, so it’s nice to be prepared when you do get a little time to shoot.
- Schedule shooting time. Rather than trying to squeeze in photography now and then, why not add a little photo time to your itinerary? Use outings with your family as “scouting trips” and make plans to visit good spots when you’ll have the best light. Chances are you’re out with your family in the middle of the day when the light is bad anyway. I find that my wife is much more understanding when I have a couple of hours set aside for shooting than if I’m holding up the family vacation so I can “get the shot”.
- Don’t forget the subjects you brought with you. I’m terribly guilty of forgetting this one. I get so wrapped up in shooting the landscape, architecture, local people, etc that I forget to make photos of my family. Look for great backgrounds for environmental portraits of your kids. Don’t forget to get yourself in a frame every now and then too! Those cheesy shots of your family in front of the Grand Canyon NP sign might end up being your favorite photos of the trip.
- Backup, but don’t miss out. We all like to download our images and see what we got, right? It’s also a good idea to download your images to a hard drive each day in case something happens to your memory cards. Just wait until everybody has gone to bed. Don’t miss out on time you could be spending enjoying a trip with your family to dork-out on the computer. Your photos will be there after bed time.
Traveling should be fun! Make photography something that adds to your experience AND the experience of your friends and family. It only takes a bit of planning to make it easy to travel with your camera and bring home some great shots.