Getting the Most From Your Travel Photography on Holiday

There is always a delicate balance between getting the most from your holiday in terms of relaxation and getting the most from your holiday if you are a keen photographer. However, there are a few things you could consider before leaving on holiday, that might help you win that balancing act.

Researching your holiday destination is a good starting point. You would need to look for any special events or celebrations that could be taking place while you are there. Ready-made organised events provide very interesting backdrops, colourful scenery and will give you photographic content on demand. However, do not restrict yourself to daytime activities; look for evening and night events particularly if you are keen to explore your flash and low light photography.

Look for the opportunities to get interesting points of views of the local scenery and places to visit that are off the beaten track. Check tour guides and reviews for places of outstanding beauty and character. And finally, check typical weather conditions for clues to what type of equipment to include in your camera bag e.g. range of filters.

You will need to think about how big an element photography will play as part of your holiday, and how much equipment you will be willing to carry, particularly if you are considering taking a camcorder as well! Now, if you are using a digital SLR consider taking an additional compact film camera to act as a back up to your SLR, but more importantly you will also have the flexibility of using film. Black and White film can still give some outstanding results for documentary photography and consider slide film for printing really true to life colours. If you are into landscape photograph and do not want to carry too heavy a camera bag consider using a compact film or digital camera. There is a lot made about digital vs film photography, but telling your story is important whatever you use.

Single focal length lenses will always give better results than zooms, however, for convenience a conventional zoom maybe your best options. Remember you can use standard 35mm single focal length lenses e.g. 50mm, 135mm, 200mm and a wide angle 28mm on your digital SLR of the same make. These lenses use a factor of 1.6 x film focal length = digital equivalent.

The following filters could be considered as a standard set:
Skylight filter - protect the front element of your lens
Polariser - depends blue skies, increases colour saturation and cuts reflections in water
Neutral density filters - reduce light intensity - particularly bright skies
A range of warm up and sunset filters
Optional creative filters - e.g. starburst

Be sure to include a stiff brush for cleaning the camera body and lens barrels, a soft blower brush to remove dust from filters and lens elements and a micro fibre cloth for removing fingerprints from filters and lenses. In addition you could consider taking a lens hood, spare memory card and batteries, polythene bags, notebook and a first aid kit.

To help your creativity in composition consider taking new angles of famous buildings, photograph local people - but ask first, think about your point of view and try and avoid the popular viewpoints.

Once you have done your photographic planning you can now integrate that into your holiday itinerary and hope your friends and family sympathise with you when you disappear off to get that long awaited sunset.