Before, during and after you go on a trip, there are a few things to consider to improve your pictures as a photographer, no matter where the place is. Why do some people seem to get crappy shots, others seem to have loads of postcard shots while some people take off to the beaten path with creative shots? How can I get those iconic shots while still maintaining creative control on what you shoot? Without saying more, here are some ways to improve your travel photography.
12) Identify your main travel purpose
Are you on a photography travel? A business trip? A relaxing vacation with your spouse? A humanitarian trip? Although it might seem trivial and even stupid to answer, it is extremely important to know what your main travel purpose is and plan according to it. Don’t go on a 1 week vacation to Iceland with minimal gear and no tripod. Similarly, don’t ruin that honeymoon with the big L lenses and all your photo gear. Yes, those are extreme examples, but knowing why you are travelling is all about setting your expectations right.
11) Pack only what you need
Similarly to point 12) above, you have to choose what gear to bring according to your travel purpose. Unless it’s mainly a photography trip in some remote area where proper equipment is a must, usually, the lighter your gear is, the better it is. If you’re travelling to a city or urban location, compactness is a must. Although you might (and probably will) pack more, a one body, two lens or two body, two lens combo is usually good enough for travel photography.
10) Plan where you want to shoot
Save yourself some time while travelling by looking at some places where you might end up going. Google is your friend here : people often share their favorite shooting locations on forums and other websites, and knowing where and how to go to these places and make a real difference. For example, before I went to NYC, a quick search told me that one of the best places to get a shot of the skyline of the city is not in Manhattan, but actually in the Brooklyn piers. As a result, I got those MetroCards ready and saved myself a lot of time.