Improve Your Vacation Photography
Improve Your Vacation Photography
Plan and prepare
Good vacation photography does not happen by accident. You need to carefully plan and prepare every aspect of your trip as well as the equipment that you will need for you vacation photography as far in advance as possible. Without careful planning, you may be on the trip of your lifetime on a safari in Africa and find that you filled the only flash card you brought on the first day of a 2 week safari!
To improve your vacation photography, you should learn about the destination to plan to visit and make a list of what you will want to photograph. Then evaluate when is the best time to be at the location to get the images you desire. For example, if you are going to a beach and really want photographs of the sunset then plan the trip to be at the location at sunset.
The app called the Photographer’s Ephemeris is a map-centric sun and moon calculator to show you how the light will fall on the land for any location on earth. Therefore, you will know when the sunrise and sunset will be in a specific location and where physically you need to be at the location to get the best shots.
Make certain you have the appropriate equipment. If you want to photograph the lights of the Eiffel tower be certain to bring a tripod. Find out about the location before hand. For example, did you know that they turn off the lights on the Eiffel tower at midnight? I found out the hard way- I only got about 25 shots and they turned off the lights!
Make a list of all equipment you will need and check it off your list as you pack it so you do not forget anything. It is suggested that you pack all of your equipment for a test run and then take the equipment with you to another location. Unpack it, use it as you plan to on your vacation and then evaluate if you need additional equipment or can do with less.
Make certain you bring lots of flash cards, batteries and a hard drive (especially if you plan to take a LOT of photographs). It is not unusual for me to take 35-40,000 images on a ten day vacation.
I personally like to take zoom lenses on vacation because they are multipurpose. One of my favorite to take on vacation is a 28-200. It gives me the ability to photograph things close up (a single tulip in Holland) or a landscape (an entire field of tulips in Holland). Therefore, instead of bringing 3 lenses I need only bring the one zoom lens. I also take into consideration the weight of everything that I bring on vacation. Twenty pounds of camera equipment gets really heavy after walking for five miles to see the sights in Paris. I only pack the equipment I need for the day.
Look at guidebooks and travel books to get inspired about some of the best places to photograph on your trip. I personally like the DK Eye Witness travel books. They are clear, concise and easy to read. They are relatively small in size but are packed full of the information you will need. I never travel without the appropriate DK Eye Witness Travel book for the area I am visiting.
Consider the weather of where you will be traveling. The weather can greatly inhibit your ability to take photographs outside. If you are considering a winter trip in the Northern hemisphere be prepared that it will get dark early thereby reduce the available light for outdoor vacation photography. When is the rainy season? Will the temperature be excessively high at that time of year?
Learn how to use your camera.
Read you instruction manual and learn how to use our camera well in advance of your vacation. The main complaint people have with vacation photography is they were unable to take the photographs they wanted because they did not understand enough about their camera. Practice for months in advance with your camera so you will be prepared to take the vacation photographs that you will treasure for a lifetime.
I hope that I have provide some suggestions that you will find helpful. Of course this is certainly not meant to be an exhaustive list of everything that can be done to improve your vacation photography. For additional information, I have attached a very informative video by David Cardinal a National Geographic Photographer.
Listed below are some samples of the DK Eye Witness travel books that I referenced in the article. DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Germany