Taking a camera on your travels is a great way to record all those wonderful things you’ll see & experience along the way. I’ve compiled some tips to (hopefully!) help you get more out of your travel photography & capture images that you’ll treasure for a lifetime.

1: Do your research!

Jump online & do a bit of reading. Having some knowledge of a place’s culture & history really does go a long way. You’ll have a deeper understanding of the people, the customs & what’s expected from yourself as a visitor. Not only will this enrich your travel experience in general, but it will add depth to your travel your photography

Riding back into town at sunset, Vang Vieng, Laos

2: Get up early (& stay up late)

Ok, you’re on holiday, but that doesn’t mean always sleeping in! The best time to photograph a place can often be early in the morning. The soft morning light will be ideal & you’ll witness a whole new aspect of a place. You’ll experience a much quieter rhythm, before the hustle & bustle of the day can begin. The same goes for staying up late. Wandering a sleeping town is an experience in itself, & in some cultures the nigh-time festivities won’t kick-off until after your usual bed-time.


Early morning over Lake Wanaka, NZ

3: Introduce yourself

There is often a temptation whilst traveling to shoot subjects with a long lens & from a distance. Whilst this may seem unobtrusive, it’s really just plain rude. Be friendly & introduce yourself to the locals, swap the telephoto lens for a standard or wide-angle. Don’t be afraid to engage with would-be subjects & do your best to before taking someone’s photograph. This shows respect, it can also be a great way to break the ice & make new friends.


Breakfast in a Northern Thai Village

4: Learn the language

If your travels take you somewhere with a different language, embrace it! Grab a phrase book, or use an App on your smart-phone. Simply learning a few basic greetings & sentences will go a very long way. In many cultures, the locals will also speak some English, but they will always appreciate any effort to learn their language. You will be less of an outsider & your photos might in turn move beyond what a passing tourist would capture.


Sunrise at Mission Beach, Tropical North Queensland

5: Get a bit lost

Don’t be afraid to wander a bit off the beaten track. Whilst exploring a new town or city, don’t feel you have to always stick to the obvious route. Getting away from all the other tourist traffic will open up a whole new aspect of a place. Of course, try not to get really lost & always stay safe.


Early Morning in a Northern Thai Village

6: Be patient & observe

If you want to capture lasting images, don’t be tempted to rush. Try seeking out interesting scenes & compositions, then settle in & wait. It might take some time, but allowing ample time to observe elements like shadows & reflections can really be worth the wait.


Crossing a wooden suspension bridge spanning the Mae Kok River, Northern Thailand

7: Know when to put the camera away

Sometimes photographing is just not appropriate. Try to remain aware that your presence taking photos could at times be considered rude, threatening or simply illegal. Respect others wishs not to be photographed, not picture is worth compomising your safety. Likewise a camera will always be a target for theft & a symbol for wealth.

8: Experiment with Viewpoint

Shooting at eye-level is logical, but it can be a trap. Get down low & shoot from ground level, point the camera straight up. Likewise get up high & shoot down on a scene. Not only will your images develop variety, but you’ll see things that others may have missed.


Bamboo Nest, Northern Thailand

9: Batteries & Backups

Traveling with a camera is quite easy, but keeping your batteries charged & images secure can be a hassle. For portable charging there are great off-grid solutions available from companies like Power Traveller. Likewise, backing up your images during a longer trip is important. When travelling, I like to download images to two portable hard drives, but carrying a bulky laptop can be a pain. Most countries will have WiFi access, which opens up cloud storage options like Drop-box & Flickr. Don’t trust all your great photographic memories to once location, backups are worth it!

10: Share your images, but be selective

Don’t be afraid to show your work with others, it’s a great way to share the experience & get valuable feedback. However try to keep in mind, if there’s one thing that will always sour an audience, it’s image overload. Be ruthless in your image selection, more is always less when it comes to travel photos. No-one wants to see 27 different shots of the same temple. Narrow down to a short-list then cull that until you’re left with only the strongest images.

For more check out Lachlan’s Website: lachlangardiner.com  &  Instagram: instagram.com/lachlan_gardiner/


Locals at sunrise, Koh Samui, Thailand


About The Author

Lachlan Gardiner

Lachlan works as a freelance photographer, writer and videographer. He loves spending time in the outdoors whenever possible - be it hiking, mountaineering, climbing, or just being on the road - He'll take any excuse to get into the mountains! He also works in our Paddy Pallin store in Fortitude valley, Brisbane. Drop in and say hi!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.