In case you couldn’t tell, I love traveling and photography. They are two of my biggest passions in life. This unfortunately doesn’t mean that they are easy or even always fun. Travel photography is hard. It doesn’t matter where you are going or who you are traveling with, there will always be challenges when comes to getting gorgeous travel photos. But that doesn’t mean your trip has to be totally stressful. It is possible to have a mostly stress free travel photography experience.

6 Tips for Stress Free Travel Photography

I’ve learned a ton in my time as a photographer and wanderer, but there are so many things I wish I’d known sooner. Things that would have saved me a ton of time, money, energy. Things that would have made my trips easier or more enjoyable. And things that would have made my photography experience better or more fun. So, here are some tips to help get you on your way to a stress free travel photography experience.

Make a Plan

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Every good trip begins with a plan, even if that plan is literally to buy a plane ticket and nothing else. A good, stress free travel photography experience should be a little more in depth than that. Here are some things to do and consider when planning your next journey:

Research

My fiance, Cody, and I are notorious for doing about thirty minutes worth of research before buying a plane ticket to wherever. DON’T DO THIS. I have learned the hard way, over and over again, that if I don’t put effort into researching the place we are going, I will miss a ton of places I want to see and take pictures of. So, research your location and start making a list of things you want to see and shoot. From there you can whittle it down depending on how much time you have, and what your traveling companions want to do.

Keep in Mind the Time of Day

Lighting is a huge factor in capturing fantastic images. After all, photography is simply the capture of light, right? So consider shooting at sunrise and sunset. Will you be able to shoot every thing you want to capture at these times of day? Most likely not. But pick a few spots from your list that you want stellar images of and plan to be at them at sunset or sunrise. The great thing about showing up at these times of day is that fewer people will be there, especially at sunrise.

Be Willing to Change Plans

Sometimes, stuff just happens and great plans get messed up. Flights get delayed, or the weather doesn’t cooperate, or mistakes get made. On our first trip to Iceland, we forgot what day our car rental began (we’d been awake for 30 hours) and ended up spending a whole day trying to get a car. When things like this happen, you have to be able and willing to roll with it. It absolutely sucks when things go wrong or get screwed up, but that’s just the nature of the game. It is inevitable that something will not go completely according to plan while traveling. When this happens, it is a lot less stressful if you’re able to go with the flow.

Check Your Gear

camera gear for travel photographers

Your gear is super important to creating a fun, memorable and stress free travel photography experience. I’ve learned a lot over the years about what gear exactly I need to take, how to carry it and how to keep it safe. Here are some tips:

Keep it Light

You don’t need every piece of camera equipment in your arsenal while traveling. Loading your bag with every lens, filter, multiple camera bodies (if you have them), and everything else will make your bag heavy and you stressed out. Limit your gear to the versatile items you use the most and know the best. That fancy prime lens that you’ve used twice since you bought it? Leave it at home.

Keep it Organized

A good, comfortable camera bag is super important to making sure you have a memorable and stress free travel photography experience. Choose a bag that is comfortable to wear for long periods of time, easy for you to access while walking around or hiking, and spacious enough for the gear you decide to bring. Once you’ve done this, give each piece of gear a spot and make sure it’s always in its spot when not in use. This will help you stay organized and be able to access your gear quickly and easily.

Keep it Safe

Keeping your gear safe is vital to having a good photo experience. Many things like weather, stolen cameras, and accidental drops can destroy your equipment and ruin your trip. Choose a bag with weather resistance and access points that are difficult for thieves to get in. While shooting, especially not on a tripod, a sturdy neck strap can help keep your camera close to you and prevent it from falling.

Take a Break Every Now and Then

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For many of us, especially in the United States, traveling is something we don’t get to do very often. A lot of us only get two weeks off per year to explore the world. That two weeks may be our only time to rest, relax and recharge. So it’s okay to treat your trip like a vacation because for many of us it is. You do not have to be shooting constantly while on your adventure. Doing so may lead you to feeling like you’re actually working when you should be enjoying yourself.

Photography is a major passion in life for me and a huge reason for why I travel. I learned early on however, that as much as I want to, I can’t make my trips purely about photography. It’s okay to put the camera away every now and then. Schedule blocks of time to just explore and be a tourist and bond with your travel companions and have fun. And leave the camera at the hotel for a while.

Shoot at Less Visited Sites

Major tourist attractions are major tourist attractions for a reason. They are often gorgeous, unique or interesting sites and because of this, they attract tons of people. The major tourist attractions oftentimes make for stunning photos, and most of us travel photographers can’t resist stunning photos. However, these locations can also be super stressful to shoot in. Learning to shoot in these kinds of environments is vital to documenting journey, but for a more stress free travel photography experience look for sites that are less visited.

Many destinations have tons of attractions that just don’t get many visitors. Maybe the tour buses don’t go to them, or they’re just plain harder to get to. As a travel photographer, these sites are great. You’ll be able to take gorgeous photos without having to contend with too many people. You’ll also be able to take your time setting up your shots and just enjoying the view.

Enjoy the Ride

Traveling can be unpredictable. At any moment anything can happen and your plans can get derailed. The key to a stress free travel photography experience is to keep this in mind and just enjoy the ride. If you find yourself getting overwhelmed or stressed or you’re just not enjoying it, take a step back and put the camera down for a minute. Maybe refocus on or reevaluate what you’re hoping to get out of your adventure. Then take a deep breath and carry on. And remember to enjoy the experience.

6 Tips to Stress Free Travel Photography Conclusion

Travel photography is often a challenging and stressful experience. However, it doesn’t always have to be that way. These tips are things I have learned throughout the years to make my trips less stressful and more enjoyable. And to get better photos while on the road.

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Author

Hey there! My name is Leah and I'm a photographer, blogger and wanderer from north Texas. I've been doing photography for nearly a decade now and absolutely love it. My day job is real estate photographer and in my free time you can often find me at a park taking pictures of leaves and flowers. Outside of that my fiance and I love to travel. We spent nine months backpacking through Europe and now spend our free time attempting to plan and going on shorter trips both in the States and abroad.

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