1. What to take.
Before you even get on the plane consider what you want to take with you. For those of you content to use a compact camera this will be easy, but if you are traveling with your DSLR you may want to think carefully about your kit. A multi-purpose zoom lens such as an 18-270mm will be great for most of your needs, as it provides a good width for landscapes as well as a decent zoom for subjects which are further away. Packing a small macro lens such as the Nikon 40mm is always a good idea as they can be used as both a macro and a general prime lens with a wide-open aperture. If you think you will be shooting a lot of interiors you should consider a wide lens, such as the Sigma 10-20mm, in order to get everything in the shot.
For more information on different types lenses take a look at our article HERE.
Don’t forget to pack your charger, a power adapter for whichever country you are visiting, a spare battery and a spare memory card. It is recommended that you get two smaller memory cards rather than one larger one just in case one goes missing or becomes corrupted; better to lose some photos than all of them! Also a good microfiber cleaning cloth is handy to keep on you at all times, in case of any accidents.
A small laptop or tablet is a great way to back up your pictures. Try to back them up on the computer and also onto a cloud server, so that if all goes missing you can still access your shots. It is very highly recommended that you take your camera gear as carry-on luggage purely for security reasons.
2. Research your destination.
Just as you would when looking for things to do on your trip, check as many guide books websites and testimonials for great locations to shoot. Try to find when the best time is to go (to avoid crowds or to get the best light) and how to get there; this can help you find locations you may not have even thought of otherwise. You can also check out Google Earth for nearby locations. One great tip is to rise early to try and beat crowds to some of the best locations; the early-morning light is amazing and you’re more likely to get the shot you desire.
3. Know your camera settings.
As we have said before in various blogs, if you get to know your camera it will reward you with some brilliant shots. Using Aperture Priority mode can be really handy of you don’t have the time or confidence to use your camera on Manual; for landscapes you can set the aperture to achieve maximum depth of field, and for a portrait you can set for a shallow depth of field to get a nice blurry background. If you would like more tips for shooting landscapes check out this lens article.
4. Don’t be put off by rain, rivers and oceans.
Yes, it sucks when it’s raining on your holiday but it’s not the end of the world; on the contrary it can provide brilliant opportunity! If you have a camera which is weather sealed (such as the Canon 60D, the Nikon D7000, the Olympus OM-D, or even the Adventure Waterproof Cameras) you can get some terrific and unique shots in the rain, just make sure the lens you are using is also weather sealed. If you don’t have a weather sealed camera there are rain jackets and underwater cases available here. Rain is brilliant if you are near any woodlands or gardens, as it makes colour and foliage really pop and shine. The overcast sky also creates some brilliant lighting, as the clouds diffuse the light and stop it being too harsh for the scene. Of course, there is always interesting things to find at indoor locations if you want to dry off, and on your way there you can get some marvellous streetscapes of lights reflecting off the wet road.
5. Try Shooting at Night
Paris isn’t the only place that looks amazing at night; there are some locations which look amazing once the sun goes down. Try playing around with some long exposure (find some tips here) to really get the most of your location. Churches and cathedrals take on a whole new demeanour lit up at night, as do city streets and beaches. Try combining this tip with the last one to get some astonishing reflected light shots.