Part 1 – Research and Planning
One of the most important aspects of travel photography is to do a decent amount of research before a trip. It really does pay to know as much about a location as possible. Try to put together a daily plan of shoot locations/ideas and also make sure that you leave some time free in case you need to swap anything around, there’s nothing worse than running out of time and not getting the shots you wanted!
Weather is something that we can’t control and can be a nightmare for a photographer, however, if you do a bit of research you can plan your trip to visit during periods of good weather. Most guidebooks can tell you when the better seasons are and if you have a look on some weather websites you can even see the weather for previous years so you can get a pretty good idea as to what the weather should be like. However, even with the best of plans you can’t always get it right and sometimes you will just have to run and take cover. It’s always a good idea to have some form of waterproofing, whether it’s a fully waterproofed camera bag or just a plain old plastic bag.
Festivals and events are definitely something to try and look out for, especially if you like portraiture. You can get some really interesting shots at a lot of festivals and they generally show the local traditions and customs to great effect, which after all is one of the key points to travel photography.
One other thing to plan for is having to get up at stupid o’clock in the morning to shoot sunrise, although you can cleverly avoid this if you stick to the winter months! You need to be aware that a travel photographer generally has very long working hours, usually from sunrise to sunset, and that doesn’t even include the time taken afterwards to download your shots and process them. Unfortunately it’s not just one long holiday!
Make sure that you take your time; whether you’re travelling for one week or one year, don’t rush your shots. If the weather isn’t great or the light isn’t quite right then just take your time – maybe you can come back the following day or maybe if you wait another hour or so you’ll be able to get the shot that you want. There’s no point travelling all that way to just come out with a mediocre shot, the whole point is to try and produce something better or more unique than what’s already out there.
Don’t forget that if you’re going on a trip for an extended period of time you should keep your gear to a minimum. You don’t want to be carrying around more than you might need; I personally travel with a single camera body, 2 lenses, compact carbon fibre tripod, 3 batteries and my laptop.
Unfortunately though, you can do as much planning and research as you want before finally turning up to that perfect location only to find that the amazing building you wanted to shoot is now covered in scaffolding!
Described by past clients as professional, unique, exceptional and inspiring, UK based award winning photographer Kimberley Coole is available for assignment or commission both locally and internationally, specialising in travel photography.
Kimberley is also a member of X-Rite’s prestigious Coloratti group, a guest blogger for Manfrotto Imagine More, a Manfrotto Ambassador, and a multi-image finalist for the prestigious Travel Photographer of the Year Award 2012 plus a category winner for the Eyes on Asia Awards 2013.