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We recently returned from 2 weeks in Europe. It was wonderful and a photographer’s dream! Travel photography is not my thing but I did learn several things along the way. All the images below were taken with my Tamron 24-70mm.
1. Talk with the people you are traveling with.
If you plan on photographing most of the trip make to sure share that with those on the trip. I told my husband on the plane that I would be taking a fair share of images but I also said I did not want to experience Europe through my view finder. I know I wanted to capture our time but more importantly I wanted to live it. More on that later. He knew ahead of time that I would be getting my camera out and asking him to wait while I captured certain things. A bonus for me was that we left our kids with my parents. So I had the luxury of taking my time with certain things.
2. Show the movement.
If you are visiting a busy city, then you know that it is probably constantly moving. Don’t shy away from capturing this. This photo was taken while siting at a street side cafe in Paris. People were constantly walking by us and I wanted to remember this moment. I slowed down my shutter speed, set my camera on the table and took a few images.
3. Think outside the box.
You obviously need a photo of the Eiffel tower if you are in Paris. But you don’t have to take the same photo as everyone. Capture just a portion of it, walk around, or try it at night. The key is to keep your eye out for different opportunities to capture what you have seen a million times in photos and figure out a way to make it yours.
Or if you are in Rome and the Colosseum is being worked on, you can still capture a fun image.
4. Pack light.
I wrote a whole post on this including what gear I brought with links and everything. Be sure to check it out – Travel photography – What to Pack.
5. Get in front of the camera.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times. My husband does not know how to use my camera. That does not stop me from asking him to take my photo. Even if it is just a snap shot, get in front of the camera. You were there too, have proof!
6. Walk around the tourist attraction.
If you go to Paris, of course you need a photo of you in front of the Eiffel tower. You don’t need to take the photo in the same place that everyone else is taking the photo. Walk around the tourist attraction and see if you can find a less crowded area. We found this awesome park that was right beside the Eiffel tower which was really empty. These two photos were taken about 10 minutes apart in two different areas.
A better location:
7. Capture the chaos.
I found it really fun to capture the tourist as well as the things we wanted to see. It is fun to remember what it really looked like. Yes, you can get up front and take a photo of the Mona Lisa but honestly, this one I like better.
8. Light is still your best friend.
Even if you are in a museum, you can still take advantage of the natural light you have available. I walked around the Venus statue to get the light to fall on her like I wanted. Think about the light around you whether you are in indoors or outdoors.
9. Slow down and capture real life.
One of the evenings in Paris, we decided to spend a few hours in the Luxembourg Gardens. It was great to slow down and enjoy Paris as the Parians do. While sitting on the bench and watching people walk by I noticed life happening around me. Picnics, reading, and gatherings with friends and family. Capture these moments to. This is truly part of the city your are visiting. Traveling isn’t only about capturing the sights but the heart of the people as well.
10. Go out at night.
I’ll be honest, cities aren’t my thing. I’m slightly terrified from watching one too many Law & Orders. However, we decided to take a boat tour one evening and I’m so glad we did. I loved seeing the city at night and capturing the Eiffel Tower with the lights.
*After I shared this one of our kind readers informed me that images of the Eiffel Tower at night are under copyright. So, I won’t be sharing my night time images. But just imagine pure beauty ;) You can read more HERE.
Who knew? Good to know! Love our community.
11. Don’t forget your aperture.
If you want a lot of your image in focus, you need to make sure you have a large aperture number or stop down. Not only are you shooting in direct sun most of the time so increasing your aperture helps with your exposure but it also helps to have more of your image in focus.
Settings: f/16 | SS 1/160 | ISO 100
12. Show up early or stay late.
We spent the day at the Vatican (this Catholic girl was in Heaven). When we first walked into St. Peter’s Basilica, it’s was crowded. We stayed for several hours since I wanted to attend mass. While waiting, we noticed they closed off a certain area towards the end of the day which made it perfect for photos. If there is some place that you really want to photograph make a plan to show up early or stay to the end.
I have another tutorial I’ll post later on why I think you should hire a photographer abroad. Also, I may do a post with some of my favorite travel photography images. Stay tuned!