You guys: it’s Tom’s birthday. Cheers to another year around the sun, my love!
If you’re new here, or if you don’t know who Tom is, he’s my boyfriend, and he’s also a professional food/hospitality photographer. If you dare call him an “Instagram Husband,” I will cringe! He’s got a pretty impressive resume, has a few published cookbooks and has been going to NYFW way longer than I have. Basically, he’s a creative genius! So, in honor of Tom’s birthday, I teamed up with him to share some of his top travel photography tips. Shooting in a new, unfamiliar location doesn’t have to be hard! Whether you’re a fellow blogger, or if you just want to get a good travel photo for the ‘gram, here’s how we master the travel shot.
Research Shoot Locations in Advance
Since Tom is a professional photographer, his three favorite words are production, workflow, and leeway. We do a lot of our photography work in advance rather than just winging it when we get to a new location!
If I’m traveling somewhere new, I like to make a list of the most photogenic spots in town and plan my itinerary accordingly. For example, when we went to Paris, I knew that I wanted to shoot at Rue Cremieux (the super colorful street), and found out that the best place to get a shot of the Effiel Tower was the Trocadero. Make a list of places you want to shoot at ahead of time, and plan accordingly!
How do I find these places to shoot? To start, I like to search for the “Most Instagrammable Places in XYZ City” on Pinterest. I usually find a ton of articles by doing this! Side note: Pinterest is a fantastic search tool that’s great for answering any blog question you might have as well 🙂
Prepare a Shot List
We always have a shot list before we do any kind of photoshoot, but especially when we travel. Our shot lists vary from trip to trip, but it’s a way for us to ensure that we have enough photos to produce blog and social media posts!
How do you create a shot list? Start by gathering inspiration from traditional media outlets, blogs, and social media. Create a mood board for yourself and figure out what types of shots you like and want to produce.
For example, every time we visit a vineyard, we have a specific list of “safety shots” that we aim to capture (see examples above). Safety shots for us are photos that have a proven track record and have always performed well in the past. We try to always get a wine pouring shot, a shot in the vineyard, and a shot of the exterior of the winery. Once our “safety shots” are done, we’ll take a chance with more creative shots. If those don’t pan out, we at least have those safety shots we can rely on!
Wide Angle Lenses Are Your Friend
Our wide-angle lenses are a must when traveling. Good news is: you can buy lenses for both your camera AND your phone!
If you’re shooting with an iPhone, you can scoop up this set of wide-angle, macro and fisheye lenses for less than $15. Simply clip it on to your phone, and let the magic happen! With a wide-angle lens, you’re able to capture much more of the scenery, and you can really capture the essence of a location.
If you’re shooting with a DSLR and don’t already own a wide-angle lens, you can rent any lenses you need for trips. Lenses can get pricey, so renting vs. buying might be the best option for your budget! We rent our lenses at LensRentals.com, and our go-to wide-angle lens is the Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8.
Wake Up at Sunrise to Get The Shot
When I posted this photo on Instagram last year, people asked if I photoshopped out everyone else in the background. The answer is no: I just woke up at the crack of dawn to get the shot.
Trust me: Tom and I aren’t necessarily morning people. However, we will get ourselves out of bed to get the best photo. For starters, touristy spots are far less crowded in the morning. Second, the morning light is dreamy. If you try to shoot content in the middle of a sunny day, you’re going to get harsh light. Shooting right after sunrise will give you a beautiful, soft light that’s very flattering!
What are your travel photography tips?
Photos by Tom McGovern
Do you have any travel photography tips? Share in a comment below!