If you’re an aspiring travel photographer, there are probably some inherent mistakes that you’re going to fall victim to. Don’t worry about it – take everything thrown your way as a learning experience and a spring board to better skills and more amassed know-how. That being said, though, there are certain mistakes which you can avoid: that’s why today’s post brings you the travel photography location shoot checklist. Make sure you skim, scan or actually take the time to read through it, then start packing. Each voyage to a new location to photograph is an experience worth enjoying through and through.
No one expects you to know everything about your chosen destination, since most things related to local customs, for instance, you will learn about on site. However, there are plenty of great guidebooks out there, that will paint an informative picture for you in broad strokes, which will prepare you for your travel photography location shoot. Some of the best ones include Lonely Planet, as well as the Rough Guides Series. It’s also a good idea to check out tips for lesser known locations, for instance, on online forums.
It’s easy to get carried away when packing for your first travel photography location shoot – and it also happens to more experienced artists. However, try to tone it down, especially since weight restrictions on most lines are getting stricter these days. Here are the essentials, which you are absolutely going to need, no matter where you’re headed to:
- Battery chargers for your camera and phone (and a travel adaptor, depending on where you’re headed to);
- A laptop, both for storing and editing your photos on location, but also for keeping in touch with your family and contacts;
- A removable HDD for secondary backups. Remember, you’ll be on the road quite a lot for your travel photography location shoot, so you don’t want to risk losing your work to theft or destruction;
- A sunrise/sunset calculator, which will keep you up to speed on light changes, in accordance with local sunset and sunrise times.
Explore the magic hour
Traditionally, the magic hour for photographers, also referred to as ‘the golden hour’ is that time of the day late in the afternoon, when the sky is dappled in the most amazing colors, just before the sun sets below the line of the horizon. This time of the day is likely to help you produce some amazing shots in all natural lighting. However, there’s also another magic hour, which happens very early in the morning. The light is almost just as great, and there’s another perk to working before everyone else is awake. You don’t have to deal with the morning rush of tourists.
Check your travel photography location shoot kit
Check it twice, thrice, four times if you need to, before leaving for your travel photography location shoot. There are few experiences more frustrating for a photographer than arriving at an amazing location, only to discover they’ve left their most adequate lens at home. Here’s a rough guide for what to pack and take along:
- A DSLR body;
- A good, lightweight tripod;
- A wide angle zoom (10-24mm, or 16-35mm);
- A mid-range zoom (24-70mm, for instance);
- A telephoto zoom (70-200mm);
- A cable release;
- A polarizing filter – as well as some ND grad filters, if you havethem or use them;
- Optionally, take along a 1.4x tele-extender and a macro-lens – you never know when the mood might strike you for some good macro shots on location.
Your gear should always travel along with you, as cabin luggage. If it’s too heavy, stuff some lenses inside your pockets, but never-ever leave it elsewhere, as you may risk having it damaged or stolen.