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10 top tips for travel photographers

10 invaluable travel photography tips, like how to get the best shots, what equipment to use, and more.

Memories of your travels will last a lifetime, but great photos are far easier to share with your friends and family. Yet taking great photos requires a little preparation.

Packing the right equipment is essential – if nothing else, taking a spare battery could save a lot of frustration if you run out of juice while out in the wild. A few early starts might be in order if you want to snap the very best pictures. Here are our top tips for the travelling photographer.

1. Choose a photo-friendly destination

Some places are just more photo-genic than others. Skyscanner and Google Images are your best friends here. Browse to find affordable destinations then use Google Images for that destination to see what photo opportunities exist.

Read more: 10 of the world’s most beautiful places: in pictures

Terraced rice field in Vietnam

2. Befriend a local (and learn a little lingo)

A good photographer can get great shots even in a location that, at first, appears to lack any shutter candy. You will produce better photos if you get to know the local area and the local people. They can often help you out with great photo opportunities, show you things you would never otherwise see, and often make for great photo subjects themselves. Learn some of the local lingo – great phrases to learn include “May I?”, “Please”, “Excuse me” and “Sorry”. Learn them and previously unavailable photo opportunities will open up.

Read more: 7 secrets to learning a language fast

A Bedouin guide in the White Desert national park, Egypt © Nachosuch/iStock Editorial

3. Time it right

The levels of light vary greatly according to the time of day (and the weather) and this will affect how and what you capture. Many photographers like the ‘golden’ hour’ (early in the morning or as dusk approaches), so choose your timing wisely. Consider buying postcards of local hotspots and look at the shadows to see when the photos were taken for best results.

Petra in Jordan at sunset

4. Don’t rush, give yourself extra time

Allow yourself plenty of extra time to find the perfect position for the photo. You might need to walk around a tourist attraction or climb a hill to get the perfect vantage point. Consider rising before dawn and being at your destination for first light if you want to get a clear shot at a popular attraction.

Sunrise at Angkor Wat in Cambodia

5. Pack spare gear

Check and double check your bag – you may not be able to buy the right battery/lens/memory card where you’re going. A good lightweight bag is essential to protect your gear and carry your accessories.

Photographer's bag

6. Take a tripod

Essential for night shots but also important for timer or remote-control based shots so you can be in the photo. Gorilla tripods can grip onto practically anything and will fit in your bag easily.

A gorilla tripod. Photo: bark, CC BY 2.0

7. Travel light

Choose good footwear too as you will need to walk a lot to get the best angle for your photos. Don’t be shy and wear a hat if you’re out in the sun all day.

Read more: 15 of the best ever packing tips

Don't forget your hat!

8. Get cloud storage

You never know when your gear might get lost, damaged, or stolen so choose a cloud storage platform and upload your photos regularly. That way, you’ll at least have your shots if something goes wrong. Alternatively, a second external hard disk kept in a separate location to everything else will do the job.

Cloud storage applications © ngkaki/iStock Editorial

9. Start a photo blog

Set up tour own travel photo blog to show off your work, build up your portfolio as you go and give focus to your travels. Next stop: National Geographic!

Read more: 21 Instagram accounts to follow in 2015

10. Choose a good bag

The best camera bags carry your camera, a couple of lenses, batteries, your phone, memory cards, your laptop and your tablet with space left over for food and water. If travelling in more risky parts of the world, it helps if your bag doesn’t advertise that you’re carrying expensive SLR gear. Choose wisely and enjoy your travels.

Camera bag and laptop

This article was written by David Hilditch from Camera Handbags.

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