Travel photography has been a core part of why I love blogging. It's been a journey of learning, taking risks and finding a groove. Take a look at my top travel photography tips:
1. Choose a camera that will challenge you
One lesson I learned early on was the importance of picking a camera that you can grow into. When I first began to pursue travel photography, I was hesitant to invest too much into my gear. Underestimating how quickly I’d progress, I decided on an entry-level DSLR. I outgrew the first camera I bought in a matter of months. Trying to get as much out of my initial investment as I could, I endured many more frustration-filled months on the road—of hindered progress and the inability to capture the types of images I knew I was capable of—before finally deciding to make a major upgrade.
My advice: Choose a camera that will challenge you and support your growth for a meaningful length of time. If you’re dedicated, you’ll make your way through the learning curve much faster than you think.
2. Shoot what you love
Whether you love sunsets, landscapes, portraits, or interior design, focusing your photography on a subject matter you love is essential. You can’t become a great photographer if you aren’t drawn and inspired by what you shoot.
True creative passion for your subject fuels your growth as a photographer. For example, one of my passions while traveling is coffee shops. Whenever a new cafe opens up in the city I’m in, I jump at the opportunity to go shoot it. My excitement for the subject is what compels me to grab my camera and head across town and take those extra photos. Those serendipitous, passion-led shoots, are both creatively satisfying and add up to hundreds more photos worth of experience — experience that helps me more comfortably and confidently shoot what I love while I’m traveling.
3. Shoot the same shot, over and over again
Another key part of my process is shooting the same images at different times of day. In the morning the light may be softer, in the afternoon there could be a beautiful glow, or clouds could have drifted in to create unique beams and hues. These shifts in light can dramatically alter the feeling of a shot taken in the exact same spot.
Whenever I travel, I love to shoot where I am a few different times as it gives the chance to capture a scene in different moods and gives me the ever-coveted chance for more practice. Often, I’ll sit in the same spot for a half hour or more watching as the sunlight shifts. Some of the most moving moments appear and vanish in a matter of seconds. Being patient, persistent, and present will increase your odds of capturing those one-of-a-kind moments.
4. Create a post-shoot process
Creating a process for how I store and edit photos is crucial for keeping my photography life organized. To help craft my process, I use Adobe Lightroom, and love it. Lightroom provides clear steps to help you manage your images throughout the entire process—from importing, to organizing and editing, to finally exporting them for sharing—making it easy to create a strong and efficient workflow.
5. Shoot (and edit) in RAW
Shooting in RAW provides a multitude of benefits. One of the key advantages is that it affords you far more flexibility to adjust the exposure and balance of your photos during post-production. I edit my photos in Lightroom because it doesn’t actually make changes to the original file. The key editing tools I use the most in Lightroom are color treatment, adjusting the whites and blacks to get the right color tones. I also slide the exposure to make the photo brighter, and add in contrast to get more definition.
One of my favorite Lightroom edits I use is the Adjustment Brush. In this photo, I set it to the “soften skin” effect which allows details like the hands in this photo be given a more polished, natural look.
Whether it’s curating or editing, I often say most of the work in photography comes after I've taken the photo. Shooting in RAW gives you the most flexibility after the shutter snaps.
6. Presets, presets, presets (in Lightroom)
Every photographer has his or her own unique editing style. As I’ve developed my own personal style, one of the best aspects of editing in Lightroom is the ability to create and save custom presets. For example, I have a few go-to presets saved that allow me to maintain a consistent style (e.g. color tones, exposure, balance) across multiple locations and shoots. Additionally, if I’m editing a large batch of photos, I can apply my presets to the entire set with a single click, saving tons of time.
To set up a preset, download the photo you would like to have as your base image. From there go to “Develop” and adjust all of the effects as you would be editing normally, from the exposure to color tones. You can also add in more detailed edits like lens corrections and calibrating for your camera type. When you have your final edits, go to “Develop” in the menu bar and select “New Preset.” Opt for select all, and then you can name your preset to your liking, and it will be saved under User Presets. The images shown are the before and after selecting my personal preset centered on being bright and defined.
7. Shoot with friends
One of the most pleasurable aspects of photography for me is getting to do it with other people who are passionate about it too! You can learn so much shooting with others, as everyone has their unique way of shooting and seeing the world. It never ceases to amaze me how many different ways people will shoot the exact same scene.
I love collaborating with friends because it expands our creativity and provides us opportunities to teach each other new things.
I can’t encourage you enough: Seek out and create community around your photography. It makes photography so much more meaningful and fun.
*This post was created through sponsored partnership with Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Tools, Lightroom and Photoshop.