Travel Photography - Preparation Before You Rush Through the Door

Travel photography embraces almost the whole range of classic photographic themes: travelling photographers make portraits, landscapes, still life, and architectural pictures.

Most of us don't just get up in the morning and decide on a whim to go on holiday. So, before going away, there's a whole load of things that we need to do. The following points are invaluable.

  • Research: is the key word. Don't automatically book the package tour holiday because it's easy and good value.
  • Making an agenda: there are excellent travel guides available to almost anywhere on earth. Plan the holiday based on photographic potential, make a list of your criteria.
  • Camera: old or new? Never take a new camera on a trip without shooting at least for a couple of days as a test and a "get to know each other" sort of thing. Same thing apply to your old camera.
  • Money: Always make sure you have small bills of the local currency to tip cab drivers and service staff when you arrive.
  • Wife and kids: it's possible that they couldn't care the less about photography! So if you spotted a potential masterpiece and your family are with you, ask what's the names of this area, or take a compass reading and come later in the evening (better early in the morning), take the shot, then head back for a nice breakfast.

Now we get down to the big question: what equipment do I take? To answer this one I have to make 2 lists, one for point and shoot users, the other for DSLR users.

Here is the point-and-shoot list of equipment:

  • A 28mm fixed focal length compact - there are small and you can "get more in" because they have a wild angle lens.
  • A 35-100mm zoom compact or similar for the versatility and the telephoto facility.
  • A few throwaway, single-use compacts- just in case.

And here's the advanced DSLR list of equipments:

  • Two DSLR bodies.
  • A 28-70mm f2.8 zoom - a good all-round workhorse of a lens.
  • An 80-200mm f2.8 zoom - a great lens taking me from long focal length to tele.
  • An 18mm very-wide-angle lens for city panoramas or interiors.
  • A 50mm f1.4 - a lens with a very large aperture, which allows me to shoot in low light without flash.
  • A dedicated flashgun, which I use only in emergencies or for special effect.
  • A 28mm fixed focal length compact camera, which I will slip into my pocket for when I really can't be bothered to take all the other gear but would hate myself if I missed out on a good picture!

I hope you find this useful. Check my other article about landscape photography for more useful equipments and tips, happy shooting!