The ticket to your dream holiday destination is booked, you’ve armed yourself with Lonely Planet travel guides, you’ve booked a pretty sweet AirBnb room and you’re SO excited to have the experience of a lifetime. Places from all the images on you’ve pinned on your dedicated Pinterest boards will be right there before your eyes. You’ll be hiking the hills, strolling the park, visiting museums, making new friends, trying local delicacies, stumbling on off-beaten paths and of course shooting all those activities mentioned above. But before you hop on the plane (or bus or train) and start taking wonderful photos, here are five essential tips to prepare for your Photo Journey :

Check Your Photo Equipment

This is super simple but sometimes missed: Get your camera and lenses ready, format your memory cards, charge all your batteries. Don’t get in a situation when you’re in front of a breathtaking sunset and having to sit down deleting some images to make space. Pack extra batteries and memory cards. I carry four batteries, a USB powerbank and two 128mb SD cards when I travel, and when I’m back home I would transfer image files on to both my computer and an external hard drive to make sure I always have them saved and backed up in at least two places.

Note: Check the electrical plug socket type and voltage of the country you’ll be visiting, and bring converter if necessary. This website has the detailed information of every country’s socket type.

Research your subject

Learn about the customs and traditions of the new place you’ll visit. Every country is inhabited by people differing in manners and habits, language, religion, dress and by trying to understand them, you can stumble upon interesting subjects or events to shoot, or avoid misconception and problems.

Also for safety reasons, research the country you will be visiting for tips on how to best carry your belongings. In some countries it is not safe to walk around with your camera out. Avoid the obvious looking camera bag. Sometimes I just tuck my camera inside my shoulder bag, or when around somewhere safer, it hangs around my neck and wrapped up with a scarf.

Do Location Scouting

Good photos always require planning. Travel websites, Pinterest, Instagram, travel forums and guidebooks can give you valuable insight into your travel destination. Pin your locations on Google Map (or the city map) and follow travel photographers on Instagram for inspirations. My personal favorites are @doyoutravel, @stayandwander, @schenkka, @jasoncharleshill and @weare365

Once you’ve found a desirable location to shoot, try to do even more research. Which time of day has the best light? How will you get there and how long will it take to get there? What time does an attraction open? Also most importantly, check the weather condition. Being well prepared with research beforehand saves lots of time and effort so you’d enjoy your shooting time later.

Choose lodging with a great view

Everytime I book an AirBnb or hotel room, I always search for the photo of the room window view. It depends on your budget, but I advise you to get a room in a good location (example: located in the city centre or having outdoor terrace overlooking the beach on some coastal cities) because it can create a lot of great photo opportunities. I once booked a cozy 3 stars hotel in Oia, Santorini with the a terrace overlooking the same magnificent sunrise view as the neighbouring, higher starred hotels.

Pack Only What you Need

Back then when I still used a big bulky SLR, I would (over)pack three to four lenses with me, some filters, tripods and many more. It was proven inefficient, troublesome and not to mention, all of them were very heavy to carry. And to make it even regrettable, 99% of the times I only stick with one lens. Fortunately these days my gears are so much lighter and most importantly I know now how to plan for the type of trip I’m taking thus leaving anything unnecessary at home. Trust me, you’ll be happier snapping around without all those heavy gears to drag around.

Find more Photography Tips & Guides here. Happy Travels!

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Wonderful post, I can’t wait to get out this year and start photographing my travels!

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