A Guide to Travel Photography – Part 1 [Gear, locations, things to keep in mind]

(upbeat rock music) – What’s going on, guys, my name is Chris Hau, and on today’s episode we’re gonna be talking about my favorite thing, travel photography. And what we’re gonna be chatting about specifically is anything from gear to my philosophy while traveling and what I hope that you get out of it by the end of this tutorial is not only better photos and a better travel experience but that the photo that you look back on once the trip is done will actually like ignite some memories, bring back some nostalgia, versus just another pretty landscape photo. So let’s dive a little bit into this tutorial. And one of my favorite things about travel photography specifically is that it covers almost every single genre of photography, from landscape, portrait and people, street photography, food photography, architecture, and so on and so forth.

So ultimately travel photography is one of the best ways to hone in on your craft and your skill set. You will get better by traveling and taking photos. So this is an important note. These are not universal truths, the tips that I’m gonna be talking about next, it’s just things that I found has made my travel experience better, and hopefully will improve your photos on your next trip. Number one, before we get into the meat of this tutorial, you have to set expectations with the group that you’re traveling with. Not everybody is a photographer. If you’re traveling with other photographers, that’s an amazing experience, but not everybody wants to make photos the priority of their trip. So set expectations that it is a priority for you so that hopefully they’ll want to jump on board, or that you have the free time to go and shoot those photos.

All right, let’s quickly chat about gear. It obviously varies from person to person. We’re just gonna be chatting about my kit, specifically. Camera body. I bring the Sony a7R3. It’s 42 megapixels. That means I can actually blow those pictures up and print them down the line. I also can like crop them if there’s like a moose in it, and I just wanna, boom, get the moose. The moose is a recurring theme on this channel. All right, let’s chat about lenses. The first lens, the 16 to 35 f/2.8G master lens. This is great for landscape and portraits. Next lens is I usually bring a prime. Now, it varies from trip to trip. I go anywhere from like a 35 mil or a 50 millimeter or an 85 millimeter, depending on what I think the location will have. So I’ll always bring at least one prime. Now, for a telephoto lens, I personally bring a 100 to 400. I’ve noticed that this is my favorite telephoto lens to bring.

I just like having the extra distance. Let’s say I’m shooting a moose and I want to make sure that I actually get that moose in frame. I like having a long lens so I can have some distance. I also like getting details in the landscaping, actually getting close up to it rather than getting the full picture. In that case, let’s say we’re shooting mountains. I love getting the peaks of it. So having a 100 to 400 millimeter is super useful in this situation. I also bring a drone on most of my trips depending what the drone laws are in that country. Let’s say for example if we’re in Banff, Alberta, and we’re in a national park, you can’t bring a drone there. So we usually don’t bring a drone to those locations because it’s just extra weight. But let’s say you’re in a country that you can bring a drone, I love having an aerial and having the chance to actually get a different perspective while traveling. So a drone is usually a must if it’s allowed.

Bring a nice light travel tripod. You can find some pretty cheap ones on Amazon and there’s also carbon fiber ones that are made my different brands. But in this case what’s really useful about having a tripod is that yes, you can shoot landscapes with it, but also if you use a wireless trigger or your phone with like the Sony app, you can actually take photos of yourself and do things like advanced selfies. Here’s some examples of what Lizzie took when we she was at Peyto Lake in Alberta. She did a better job than I would have, so she shot those herself, which is like very useful in that case. So bring a tripod along. Ultimately, not everybody wants to bring a DSLR with them, and a phone is just fine. There are certain lenses that you can attach to a phone. Moment makes some great ones there. But if you don’t want to buy those, just bring your phone and just remember it’s all about lighting and composition.

This is the best camera because it’s the one that’s on you all the time. And my last thing is make notes during your trip. So maybe bring some field notes, a little notepad and little pen to make some notes, or on your phone if you have it with you. Just make a few notes about your experience while traveling because it’s great to not only attach those to Instagram posts down the line, but just to remember what was happening when you were taking that photo, or in that experience. Little pro tip is always have your camera ready while you’re traveling. So if you just have a camera strap, you can just like sling it around you, just have it by your side all the time. That’s generally what I like to do. Or you can get one of those capture clips that Peak Design makes, so you can just like lock it right in and then you have your camera right here and then you can by like, “Bah, the moose.”

An old pagoda and a sea of cherry blossoms frame the beautiful and timeless shape of Mt. Fuji in Japan.

All right, so the big subcategory that we’re gonna be talking about right now is locations and how to find great locations to go and photograph. Now, obviously you can go onto Google and search all these things, or go to like the bookstore, but my favorite way to find locations is just using modern technology. I browse so much on Instagram. I literally look up the location and start looking through. And the best part about this is that you get the high-ranking photos of like the banger locations all the way down to locals just taking photos at their favorite coffee spot. What I love about this experience while browsing through on Instagram is that you can find the things that resonate with you.

So if you want to go and shoot food or you want architecture photos or you want like a little bit of an off-the-beaten-path experience, you can find those locations just by browsing Instagram. Additionally, if you see a location that you love and the geo tag is not there, DM that person, be like, “Hey, I’m heading to your country. “This looks like an awesome coffee shop. “Where is that?” And in most cases, those people will DM you back and give you that location, and maybe you might even have the chance to meet up with a local and go and shoot with them. So remember that Instagram is your best friend while you’re traveling. The next part in finding good locations is that think back to anybody that you might know that might have family in those locations. So when we went to Scotland a few years ago, I had a friend that had an uncle that lived there, and I was like, “Hey, maybe your uncle “can give a few suggestions of what he loves “around Glasgow, Scotland.” And then she was actually like, “He would love to take you around Glasgow, Scotland “in his old vintage black taxi cab.

“That’s just a thing he likes to do on the side, “is just pick up friends in an old black taxi cab “and drive them around.” So when we went to Scotland, we had a one-on-one experience with a local who drove us around to his favorite locations, and we got to see things from a local’s perspective, which is just like game-changing. Here’s a few photos from that experience. (heavy rock music) This is a little pro tip that’s used by a lot of travelers, but if you want to find good locations, the moment you land in a new country at an airport, go to the convenience store or the local convenience store nearby and check the postcard rack and see the locations that you like and then you can grab them and you can ask where they are. Additionally, once you’re checking out at the convenience store, ask somebody, “How do I get to these locations, “and additionally, are there any locations “that you really love as a local here?” And most of the time you can get all the places that you want to go to just by going to the convenience store.

And my absolute favorite thing to do while traveling is to just straight up get lost. Drive down like different random roads that you’re just like, oh, that road speaks to me. I will follow that road and maybe there will be some moose down that road. So I want to bring up a story about getting lost. We were in Madeira, which is and island off the coast of Portugal, and while we were driving around to some different locations that I found on Instagram, I just saw this one road and I was like, “This road looks really cool. “I’m gonna drive down it.” Lizzie’s like, “What are you doing?” I was like, “I just want to go down this road. “Let’s see what’s at the end of it.” Because it kind of looked cool from an aerial view on Google Maps. Once we drove down that road, we found this like really special spot for lunch where we had like really cheap hamburgers and some like drinks by the water. The location was really beautiful.

We went for a swim. This was one of our favorite parts about that trip, because we didn’t plan it at all and we just randomly found it. So like, drive down random roads, get lost in certain cities, because that’s the best way to actually find great photo locations and also have a great travel experience. So yeah. Don’t over plan. Leave a lot of room to just like have fun and get lost. Just remember that you are a guest in someone else’s country so respect their land and their property and that location. Be a respectful traveler. The next point. Don’t follow the crowds. Now my friend, Marc Webster, who is from Alberta, is gonna touch on this point. Marc, take it away. – What’s up guys, my name is Marc. I’m a travel photographer and filmmaker, and we’re here at the beautiful Peyto Lake in Alberta. My one tip is that if you’re going to a new location, do your research, check out the signs, and try and find an ulterior route. This spot has no one here, and a spot just down there is full of crowds.

So we got epic shots, and we have it all to ourselves. – The next point, don’t just shoot landscapes. It’s very easy while you’re traveling to want to just go to the pretty locations and just be like, “Look at, it’s so beautiful.” Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. But your travel experience is so much more than that. So remember to shoot other things while you’re traveling. A great example of this is that when we went to the Azores for the first time, which is a group of islands off the coast of Portugal, really like islands off of Portugal. You’ll see this is another theme. Moose. Azores. Portugal. One of my favorite things that we are doing while we were traveling that time is I literally shot everything, from the people that we met to animals to off-the-beaten-path to landscapes to food to coffee experiences. I captured everything, and when I look back on that trip, I was like, “Wow, that was a really fun trip. “It wasn’t just a landscape shot.” So remember, don’t just shoot landscapes.

Additionally, go and spend some time with the locals. One of my favorite pro tips and the things that I like to do while we’re traveling is I like to carry some like pocket change of like the local currency. For example, on our last trip to the Azores, we saw this older woman who was actually building a fence, and she just had this like amazing look. So I walked up to her, I had five Euros in my pocket, I said, “Do you mind if I just take “a couple of photos of you? “Here’s five Euros.” And she was like, “Yep, no problem.” And we shot these amazing portraits of this woman while she was like in her hometown, in this really aesthetic location with fog, and they’re some of my favorite photos I’ve ever taken of a local in that place, and it only cost me five Euros. Hi, friends. This is editor Chris jumping in real quick for a second. So I’m currently working on this video, and it’s around 25 minutes long, which is just way too long for YouTube.

So I’m gonna break it up into two parts so you guys just finished watching part one of the travel photography tutorial. Part two is gonna be coming up next. So if you guys want to be notified for that video, the bell is right down there. Ding-a-ling, boom, hit it. And you guys will be notified for part two. Also, a big shout-out to the sponsor of this series, DUER. If you guys want to check out some of the best adventure pants in the game, links are below. There’s also a promo code down there so you can save yourself a little extra cheddar. Thank you guys so much for watching. Like, subscribe, and hit the bell. But don’t hit it again, because I already told you to hit the bell, which would then turn it off, and then you won’t be notified for part two. So you want to be notified for part two because that’s gonna be like really juicy as well. So, so, so, so, so, so, just, it’s coming up soon. Thanks for watching, bye. (mellow rock music)

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