10 Things Travel Taught Me About Photography

August 04, 2016
TEN PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS FOR BLOGGERS & TRAVELLERS

TEN PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS FOR BLOGGERS & TRAVELLERS
*also, how sweet is my analogue camera collection?

There are three sounds that define me as a person - one: the sound of my own snoring waking me up (my shattered reveries somehow always take place in the spa, in taxis, or on short-haul flights), two: the 8-bit music of the battle theme from Pokemon Yellow (which was essentially my soundtrack from ages 12 - 15), and three: the ever present click-click-click of the camera shutter. My photography journey began way before Posh, Broke, & Bored was a thing - it started with 'digicams' in high school (oh nostalgia), then in my DeviantArt years (retro!)  I taught myself conceptual photography using a bridge camera, with the rest of my gamut running the length of Micro 4/3 cameras to old-school Polaroid cameras (and their clever innovators, the Fujifilm Instax series) to DSLRS (both crop sensor and finally, full frame). In my decade-long practise it's safe to say that most of my practical photography knowledge has been gleaned from my travels, specifically the illustrious archive of photos I've produced for my travel blog posts.

For this month's travel blogger linkup me and my tired fingers present: 
10 TIPS TO UP YOUR TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY GAME

If you're having trouble viewing this post on mobile, read my blog on desktop instead. 
1/ START WITH A MICRO 4/3
If you're new to photography, you may want to ease yourself into the waters with a Micro 4/3 camera. Jargon aside, its a 'same but different' step up from a compact camera and capable of producing results to rival professional photography. I started with the Lumix GF6 (with handy flip-out 'selfie screen) then added that blogger's favourite, the Olympus Pen E-PL7 to my repertoire. Both are nifty little machines that will cover all your photography needs (especially if you upgrade to a better lens ie. a M.Zuiko lens) until you're ready for the big guns. 
2/ ...THEN UPGRADE 
TO FULL FRAME DLSR 
Once you go full-frame, you don't go back. Literally - no more taking thousands of steps backward ie. the bane of shooting with crop sensor DSLRs, which restricts your composition from 1.6 - 1.3 times that of a full-frame sensor. I upgraded from the 650D to the Canon 6D and I've never looked back. 
3/ YOU DON'T NEED A MARK III
That said, there's no need to splash out on a Canon 5D Mark III...yet. While it's indisputably the Lamborghini of DSLRs, what's the point of a fast car (unless you're Tracy Chapman) without the skills behind the wheels? Save it for later, you speed fiend. 
4/ ...OR A ZOOM LENS
As tempting as it is to level up to a 24-70mm 2.8, fact is unless you're a photojournalist in a warzone, shooting lions on safari, or snapping at socialites on the sly - basically, capturing anything dangerous - a zoom lens is just an expensive piece of plastic and glass. Prime lenses (lenses with a fixed aperture) lighter, faster (as they've less parts), and less expensive. Wherever I travel I only need two lenses - the 50mm 1.4 and the 24mm 2.8 which covers everything from wide-angle (landscapes and interiors) to close ups (street scenes, portraits, and flat lays). Read about my comparisons between and preferences for prime lenses over zoom lenses here. 
5/ f8 IS FOR STREET PHOTOGRAPHY
...is the advice I received from Paul Hames at his photography workshop. He insists that it's the best way to be sure that every single detail is in focus for photos of busy scenes. If you've got the light for it, why not? Read about the correlation between aperture and light, here. Personally, I only shoot at f8 and up if it's blindingly bright and I have to up my f-stop to prevent overexposure. I prefer a soft depth of field and bokeh in my photos, but of course that is an aesthetic preference. 
6/ WALK SOFTLY, 
CARRY NO SELFIE STICK
The selfie stick is a fantastic way to make yourself public enemy number 1. I don't care if you're #foreveralone or want to immortalise your #squad - the selfie stick is slowly being banned, and for good reason. Need to cram your mug(s) into the selfie? Just use a wide-angle lens and flip the camera round - the old-fashioned way. Or use a tilt screen camera like the Lumix GF6 or the Olympus Pen E-PL7. 
7/ WIFI ENABLED CAMERA
This is the social media addict's ultimate secret - a camera with built in wifi. Save yourself having to take the same photo again for social media - just send the photo from your camera straight to your phone with apps like Canon Camera Connect or Olympus Image Share. My internet-savvy snapper of choice is the Canon 6DNo wifi camera? No problem. Get a wifi SD card - they work just the same as wifi cameras and are simple enough to set up. 
8/ GET AN ANALOGUE CAMERA
No self-respecting photographer's collection is complete without at least one film camera. Aside from the novelty of owning something so retro and seemingly tedious to use, it takes serious skill to master film photography (I 'cheated' on my film photography homework by using my DSLR for test shots, then copying the settings on my film cameras, haha). They also make excellent props, as the flat lay above of my collection of film cameras and video cameras illustrates. Then there's the magic of transforming an ephemeral moment into a physical object, a quality in danger of extinction in this digital age of Snapchats.' I adore my Fujifilm Instax Mini 75 for its Polaroid-style credit card-sized instant photos - perfect for scrapbooking and decorating with. 
9/ ...DON'T FORGET A
WATERPROOF CAMERA
Do you want to risk a) dropping your camera into the sea b) smashing your iPhone, protective waterproof case and all against a coral bed c) have your lens freeze in the snow? 'Nuff said. If you're a fan of beach holiday or adventurous destinations, get a shock-proof, water-proof, accident-proof camera like the Olympus Tough - it comes with built-in wifi, too! 
10/ WHAT CAMERA BAG?
Ladies, leave the hideously utilitarian bags that come with your cameras. Instead, use my simple hack for turning your existing handbag into a camera bag. Who says you can't have style and substance? Besides, when I'm travelling I find strapping my camera across my shoulder makes it easier for spontaneous shooting - rather than rummage for it in the bottom of my bag.
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ALL THE PHOTOGRAPHY ESSENTIALS YOU NEED (AND THEN SOME):





FOR MORE PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS, CHECK OUT MY BLOG & SHOOT POSTS.
What little pearls of wisdom have you picked up from your travels?
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