Travel with your eyes. Not your camera.

June 30, 2022

A few travel photography tips from someone who isn’t a travel photographer, for people who aren’t photographers.

If you’re looking for some simple photography tips when traveling you’re in the right place. If you want something more specialized, the internet is already filled with thousands of informative articles that do exactly that. But for most people, travel is more about being there and documenting things for your personal memory. We aren’t exactly making art here—which leads me to my first tip.

Support the pros.
Let’s be real, nobody cares about your vacation photos. If you want to look at good images, support a professional and buy their coffee table book on the area. Famous locations filled with hundreds of people taking selfies are something nobody wants to see. Will you get some cool shots while on the road? Sure you will. But for most of us, it’s just part of the adventure, not why you’re there.

Chill out.
Easy there, big shooter. Put the camera back in its holster. If you walk around with the camera in front of your face you aren’t really seeing things. There is the argument that you need to always be ready, but unless you’re there specifically to take photos or being paid to do so, wait for the right time. The right time is obviously subjective and relative to many things including light, people, and location to name a few. Listen to your gut when the time feels right and relax for the rest—remember you’re on vacation. Nobody likes the awkward dude walking around taking pointless photos of everything in sight.

Tell Instagram to suck it.
Don’t let the pointless pressure of social media ruin your time away. People aren’t going to lose sleep over you not posting a photo of the doughnut you had for breakfast. Sure, post here and there, but don’t live through your likes.

Be patient.
Sometimes the people are the magic and sometimes it’s the location. Finding an interesting scene and waiting it out can produce some good images. Like people-watching at a market for example. If the setting is right sometimes all it takes is a subject wandering through your frame to make the shot. And I don’t mean wait with a camera in front of your face—just relax and enjoy the ride.

Talk to strangers—sorry mom.
If you’re anything like me, people are the most interesting thing to photograph. Talking with locals will not only inform you about the area and what it has to offer, but you might just make a portrait or a new friend in the process.

Hello there, do you know of any good restaurants in the area?

Have fun.
I feel like people who are interested in photos have pressure on them when they travel to make something cool. Possibly because of IG culture. Fuck it. Pay no mind to that pointless rat race. Do your thing and have fun. If it stops being fun then you know something’s off. In the wise words of Joe Dirt, “life’s a garden, dig it.”