13
Apr-2017

Photo courtesy of Annie Spratt / Unsplash

Photo courtesy of Annie Spratt / Unsplash

ULTIMATE TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY RESOURCES LIST

 

From overrun tourist spots to hidden gems, as travellers, it’s only natural for us to want to document our journeys.

Photography is nothing new. Travel photography is nothing new.

But what IS new, compared to previous generations of travellers, is the volume of travel photography out there today. Anyone can start a travel blog, anyone armed with a smartphone can start a travel Instagram page.

But you don’t want to be just ANYONE. Do you?

We are constantly responding to questions about our photography and camera gear. Especially our underwater photography and snow photography.

We’ve learnt plenty of tricks along the journey from photography hobbyists to semi-professional, selling photos to tourism brands.

SO, we’ve put together this ULTIMATE list of travel photography resources, including every item and programme we use, as well as some basic tips to help turn a good photo into a GREAT photo.

 

The following guide is broken up into the following sections:

1.CAMERAS

2.UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY GEAR

3.ACCESSORIES

4.EDITING SOFTWARE, HARDWARE

5.THE 3 MUST-DOS OF TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY

 

Travel Photography resources

OUR GEAR

CAMERAS

 

Nikon DSLR 7200

We are Nikon users through and through. I’ve dabbled in Canon but always come back to Nikon. It’s like our native language – switching brands is akin to learning a new language.

The Nikon D7200 is our newest addition, after upgrading from the D3200. It’s considered an ‘enthusiast’ digital SLR – a bit more than an entry level camera, but not quite a semi-professional. It’s ideal for travel bloggers wanting to advance their photography skills beyond the basics and start selling their work.

I love how the D7200 has two SD card slots (perfect for travel when you’re shooting all the time), as well as an updated processor, built-in Wi-Fi and is great in low-light conditions.

Here’s one of the first low light photographs we took with it back in Fiji –  these colours were the result of a great sunset and long exposure, with the only light editing in Lightroom to crop, tone down the highlights and add a little vibrance.

Sunset at Wailoaloa Beach, Fiji

 

Tamron SF 70-300mm f/4-5.6

This zoom lens is my favourite because it’s fast, clear and has a great zoom. The Tamron zoom lens is a slightly cheaper lens than the Nikon alternative, but it’s perfect for the work we do.

It gives us a chance to get some great captures from a distance – like this shot of one of the Japanese macaques at the Jigokudani Snow Monkey National Park in Japan:

Travel photography resource list: a snow monkey taken with the Tamron 70-300mm lens

 

NIKON 55-70MM/NIKON 18-55

Confession time – we’ve been using a kit lens. The good ol Nikon 55-70mm kit lens. It served a purpose but we’ve also found it very limiting – therefore we’re upgrading to the Nikon 18-55m, to give us a bit more flexibility (and better quality photos).

IPHONE SE

It’s not always practical to lug around a full camera kit – which is why having a smartphone with a decent camera is so important to capture those unexpected moments.

The iPhone SE has the same rear camera as the iPhone 6 and 6s, but is in the body of the 5. It’s surprisingly good quality – although we’re looking forward to what the new iPhone 7 has to offer for photographers with a bit more flexibility.


GoPro Hero5

What travel blogger doesn’t have a GoPro these days? The new Hero 5 is great for both video and taking still photos. We use ours on the mountain, underwater and to get that wide-angle island view like this one on Beachcomber Island in Fiji.

Beachcomber Island

It’s not DSLR quality, but still captures incredible moments.


UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY GEAR

 

Olympus Tough TG 860

We use the Olympus Tough TG 860 (read our review here) for all our underwater photography. It’s an affordable option for getting started in underwater photography without having to spend thousands on housing for the digital SLR. The newest Olympus Tough cameras also shoot in RAW which offers more flexibility post-production, as well as shooting Ultra HD 4K video.

The camera has some cool art filters which are fun to play around with, as well as dedicated underwater settings to help capture the true colours underwater, which get lost the deeper you go. It’s also shockproof – so quite hardy and handles snowy climates well.

 

Olympus PT 057 Underwater Housing

The Olympus Tough by itself is waterproof to 10 metres, which is fine for snorkeling, but as scuba divers we need to go deeper. The PT 057 housing brings it down to 40m.

If you have the Tough TG-3 or Tg-4 you’l need the PT-056 housing instead. This actually offers more flexibility with your photography as you have the option to change lenses, which you can’t do with the PT-057.

Nudibranch

 

Olympus UFL3 Strobe

There’s only so much you can do with a built-in flash. An external strobe like the Olympus UFL 3 helps you get the most out of your shots by effectively positioning light to bring out the colour while reducing backscatter.

We use the Olympus Fibre Optic Connector to connect the strobe to the housing. Some of the newer models allow this connection to take place wirelessly.

 

Olympus Short Arm

The short arm and long arm positions the strobe in the right place, while staying attached to the underwater housing.

GoPRO Super Suit Underwater Housing

Like the Olympus Tough, the GoPro on its own is waterproof to a level. But it’s not waterproof enough to take with us diving. The Super Suit brings its waterproof rating down to 60m (196ft).

Having both the GoPro and the Olympus Tough allows us to have a camera each and capture both video and still photos.

Usually we use the Olympus for still photography as it brings out better colours, while the GoPro is our video camera. As you go deeper, colours fade, which is why a Red Filter is crucial for the GoPro Hero5 to retain the colours underwater.

 

ACCESSORIES

 

Tamron Lens Hood

The lens hood helps prevent light hitting the front of the lens, reducing glare. It also often means better contrast and richer colours. Don’t forget to get a lens cover to protect from scratches.

 

Tripod

A tripod is essential for any long or slow exposures to keep the camera steady so the rest of the photo is sharp. Ours has multiple adjustments on the legs to be able to position on unsteady or rocky land.

 

 

Dakine Snowboard Camera Backpack

If you’re planning on doing some ski photography or backcountry photoshoots, then a proper camera backpack is crucial for protecting your gear, while being comfortable on your back. We love the Dakine Mission Photo Backpack, with rear entry and padded compartments for not only all your camera gear, but extra pockets to hold anything else you might need. It also fits my 15inch Macbook Pro.

Our choice for a ski camera backpack: Dakine Mission Photo Pack

There are straps and clips on the outside which allow you to carry your snowboard as well if you’re hiking up the mountain.

We love the removable camera compartment.

 

GOPRO CHESTY + GOPRO THE HANDLER

These two little items help us when snowboarding, skiing, hiking, biking, scuba diving and simply wandering around.


EDITING SOFTWARE, HARDWARE & EDUCATION

 

Macbook Pro

When it comes to editing photos and video, Macbooks and Mac computers are the way to go. In our opinion, the clarity and visuals are far superior and these things are crucial if you want to take your photography serious.

Adobe Lightoom & Photoshop, Lightroom for Mobile

While it may take a while to get used to and figure out how to make edits, the Adobe Creative Suite is our number one choice for photo and video editing. The subscription also allows us to have Lightroom for Mobile – an app version of the full Lightroom which syncs back to my computer. Goodbye Instagram filters!

 

 

There’s a great photoshop tutorial on Urban Pixels which I use to help really make my photos pop before saving them for the web:

How To Resize Your Blog Photos And Keep Them Super Sharp

As for underwater video, there’s a great Lightroom tutorial over at Backscatter.

 

Sleeklens Lightroom Presets

I know some people feel that presets are a bit like cheating, but I find them helpful for getting started with inspiration. Presets are similar to a photo filter, but I tend to use them as a starting point for editing, then carry out my own editing afterwards. Sleeklens has a great selection of presets, from landscapes, HDR, sunsets, portrait, urban and many more, as well as some great resources and photography tutorials.

 

External Harddrive

How awful would it be to lose all your photos…And I’m afraid that is a reality, thanks to hideous things such as total computer failure and meltdowns, as well as theft.

Back them up to the cloud, to an external hard drive, to at least one other source. You MUST back up your photos. It’s not worth risking it.

I use two external hardrives and iCloud. Obsessive? Paranoid?

No. Just very, very careful.

My favourite is the Seagate BackUp Plus Slim 2TB Poratable External Harddrive. It’s a slim design and lightweight, perfect for travelling, while holding a whopping 2TB. And it’s pretty – always a bonus.

The second hard drive is the 1TB Passport for MacThis was the first external hard drive I ever purchased and works a charm, but if you’re taking lots of photos, go for the 2TB version.

We also back up to the cloud, just to be extra safe. In the event of a fire and all my belongings were burnt to a cinder, at least my iCloud storage would save me.

 

Books & Magazines

I do love a good tutorial magazine and book.

The main ones in my collection at home:

N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine

My FAVOURITE photography magazine. Brilliant tutorials, gear guides and new ideas specifically designed for Nikon users.

Practical Photography: 

The first ever photography magazines I ever started purchasing. Relevant for all camera users and another source of excellent tutorials and tips.

Photo Editing: Tips, Tricks & Fixes

BDM’s Creative Series offer tutorials, advices and techniques for Photoshop, including a very detailed everything-you-need-to-know-about-every-Photoshop-tool section. Lifesaver!

Underwater Photography Masterclass:

The bible of underwater photography! This book by Alex Mustard has a huge focus on lighting, and how to use light to create stunning underwater masterpieces, without spending a fortune on expensive equipment.

 

Phew! That’s a big travel photography resource list  – but now you know EXACTLY what we use. Everything listed has been personally tried and testing by us. There’s nothing on this page we haven’t used ourselves.

TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS

 

Have you ever wondered why your photos never do the scene justice? Or why two people can take a photo of exactly the same scene, yet the photos come out incredibly different?

There are a few tricks which you can apply to every time you press the shutter which will turn your average photos into great photos.

Let’s run through these 3 Must-Dos for every travel photographer.

 

COMPOSITION:

What are you trying to capture?

Composition is extremely important when capturing a scene. A boring or flat composition won’t get any attention, but an interesting perspective and well-thought out composition will stop people from scrolling on.

Pick out what the most interesting parts of the scene and focus on capturing those.

Taking a landscape photo? Consider where you want the viewer’s eye to be drawn to and frame your shot around that.

Portrait photo? Zoom in to crop out any distracting background.

Try using the rule of thirds – imagine the scene is divided into a grid of 9 sections. Line up the most important aspects of your scene within this grid, trying to keep the horizon in either the top or bottom third.

Travel Photograph Resources: Rule of Thirds

 

 

KEEP IT STRAIGHT: 

The most frustrating thing amateur photographers can do is mess up the horizon. There’s nothing more off-putting than a wonky horizon.

Travel Photography Tips

Travel Photography Tips

 

The horizon line should always be straight, unless you are deliberately tilting your camera for an angular shot. This really only works well for artsy and intriguing subjects.

There’s absolutely no excuse whatsoever to post a photo in Instagram that is wonky as a result of ignorance. Even if you don’t shoot it correctly the first time, you can use a straighten tool on any photo editing app or software to correct it.

 

BRIGHTEN UP:

Dull photos are exactly that – dull. Unless you’re deliberately trying to take a moody photo, chances are you’ll need to lighten up your photo. Increase the brightness and make your images pop. Be careful not to overexpose.

Bright Photo Example

Dull Snow Example

Usually, a photo can be dramatically improved in post-production by lowering the highlights and lightening the shadows.

There are many more tips and tricks to effective travel photography, but these are some of the basics to get you started. A good composition and effective lighting are crucial to getting a good shot.

Take time to get familiar with your camera and its settings – and keep practicing!

 


DISCUSS: What’s your number one challenge you face with travel photography? What are your favourite travel photography resources?

 

Travel photography resources, tips and tricks

 

 

This page may contain affiliate links. All opinions are 100% our own. 

0

 likes / 32 Comments
Share this post:
  • Zinara

    Very informative post! I use Nikon D3200 with a 18-55mm kit lens and there’s so much I could do with that! I’m keen to start underwater photography as well. I think I’d buy OLYMPUS TOUGH TG 860. Would you guys recommend it for a beginner?

    • Thanks heaps! The Nikon D3200 is a really great camera, especially with the Guide setting, although the D7200 is definitely a big step up and we have noticed the difference. Get out there and make the most of the 3200 though, you can take some stunning shots with that. As for underwater photography – yes, the Olympus Tough range is ideal for beginners because there are dedicated underwater settings which help capture the colours as best as possible, without having to be too technical. It’s really easy to use. Although we have the TG 860, I’d recommend you go for the newer model, like the TG 4 instead. It offers a bit more flexibility and shoots in RAW too. You can check out our beginner’s guide to underwater photography here if you like: http://www.snorkelstosnow.com/underwater-photography-olympus-tough/ Good luck and let us know what you decide!

  • Now that is a comprehensive list indeed! This guide will serve well those that are just starting out with travel photography. I have found that it is all about experimentation and learning along the way. You just get better with time and as you get more familiar with your gear too!

    • Cheers Abby, a lot of it is about experimentation and figuring out what works for you. I love Nikon but another person might prefer Canon or mirrorless cameras. But the more you practice the better you get!

  • Sonia Sahni

    I love photography, but carry so much is so cumbersome when travelling solo. Hence, I am in love with the Go Pro…its the best! I have also bought a drone recently,…its takes videos to a different level altogether!

    • Oh wow we haven’t invested in a drone yet but that’s the next piece of equipment! The GoPro is quite a new addition to our family, but mainly use it as an action cam underwater. Still can’t beat the quality of a DSLR! But you do have to have a good backpack or camera bag to make it feel less cumbersome.

  • Riely Mills

    This guide will assist me greatly in starting out with travel photography. I have been wanting to learn more and finally get an appropriate camera to learn to shoot! My iPhone won’t cut it for long. Thanks for the list and tips.

    • Thanks, hope it helps out! My advice – don’t buy the most expensive camera out there just because it’s what the professionals use. If you haven’t used proper cameras much before, then it will be a waste of money! You can get great photos from entry-level DSLRs or even mirrorless cameras. Just always remembering about lighting and composition first. Good luck!

  • Gareth Thompson

    As I’m trying to get my blog a little more established, I really am trying to up my photography game. Unfortunately though, I’m not sure I have any natural ability for the craft however, I am planning in investing in some decent gear in the open that this will counteract my lack of talent! Thanks for the tips!

    • Strong photography really helps attract readers to your blog! You don’t have to have natural ability – just need to start learning and researching techniques and there’s plenty of information. Don’t spend too much on a super flash expensive cameras if you don’t know how to use them! A good camera will help, but make sure you know how to use it. Photography is a lot of fun when you get started although it can also be frustrating trying to understand a camera at times! Just never publish images that are blurry, slanted or have poor lighting. Then you’re halfway there!

  • Excellent review of all your gear! I also have the Olympus tough and I’m totally in love with it. My go pro got scratched but the switch made me so happy! 🙂 Oh! your pics are stunning!

    • Thanks Sabrina! Glad you love the Olympus Tough – it’s such a great action camera for being able to take with you on any adventures – underwater, skiing/snowboarding etc, it’s very hardy. Gutted to hear about your scratched GoPro though!

  • Wow, your photography gear is impressive! I only travel with a digital camera, my phone camera, and recently, a cheap GoPro knockoff. I do think it’s important to use beautiful images in your blog posts, especially for travel blogs. I agree with your tips about brightening and straightening. I still have trouble with straightening sometimes!

    • Cheers Nadine, it’s a kit that is steadily growing every year! We don’t travel with this entire kit on every adventure, it often depends on what we think we will be doing and we’ll choose accordingly. Brightening up photos can really lift the image significantly.

  • What an awesome array of photography gear! I was one of those travel bloggers who DIDN’T have a GOPro – well, up until about 5 hours ago when I bought one to go with my new drone! I hadn’t realised that the GoPro was only waterproof to 10m though – I’ll definitely have to look into the super suit as I planned on using it for diving.

    • Cheers! We only added the GoPro to our kit at the end of last year, mainly to give us more flexibility when filming underwater and for some action shots on the mountain. If you plan on diving with it, you’ll definitely need to get the super suit to go deeper than 10m. It also helps protect it anyway. Saltwater damage is not nice!

  • Melody Pittman

    Great list of photography must haves. I absolutely love my Tamron lens. Thanks for throwing that in there. 😉 I wish I did some underwater sport so I could capture those amazing photos.

    • Thanks Melody – glad you love your Tamron lens too! I’m super happy with it. Underwater photography is heaps of fun, maybe do some snorkelling?

  • Corinne Vail

    This is a pretty in-depth photography guide, quite helpful for people heading out on the road. I just use my Go PRo for the little underwater photography that we do, but then we aren’t divers.

    • Thanks, I hope it helps budding photographers out there! GoPro is a pretty popular choice for underwater photography although I prefer using the Olympus for still photos underwater.

  • Gokul Raj

    That is like a lot of gear. Do you take everything mentioned here for every trip. I can’t do that. I had plans to buy a DSLR but went with a Gopro as it goes into my pocket.

    • No, not on every trip. We don’t need to take our underwater gear if we’re going skiing! But I have a big camera backpack that all the camera gear goes into and fits snugly into to keep it safe on our travels. I always take the DLSR & lenses and tripod everywhere though. Just in case there’s something exciting that needs to be captured!

  • Great tips! This could turn into a huge investment but your photos are gorgeous. Even though I have a better camera I usually just end up using my iphone and editing w/Snapseed.

    • Thanks, it sure is a big investment although we have built this up over time, rather than all at once! iPhone photography is good for certain moments but at the end of the day I love playing with the DLSR and trying new shots, and of course the quality is far superior, especially when it comes to publishing the images online.

  • I use the same Tamron lens and its awesome for the price. Great tips indeed. Love the GoPro but the problem with the GoPro is the battery life. I have to always carry two batteries for the GoPro. I am planning to move away from Canon to Nikon.

  • Wow, such an extensive list of tips, tricks and advice. With photography there is always so much to learn! Thanks for the great post guys!

  • I recently got a go pro and I just love it for my travels. I’d love to check out some underwater gear. Great list, thanks for sharing! Bookmarking.

  • Thanks! Which Nikon do you use? The best way to learn is to keep experimenting!

  • Great list for photography addicts. Im looking to upgrade my camera in the near future and that Nikon 7200 could be theone after reading your review. Bookmarked for reference

  • Pingback: A Guide To Visiting the Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park in Winter - Snorkels To Snow()

  • Milijana

    Such a great list of photography resources and tips. I am just about to buy a Go Pro. I believe a Nikon 7200 would be a great buy as well. I am pinning your post as the reminder!

  • Justine Jobelle M. Kimoden

    do you not find carrying those huge SLRs a pain in the butt? I used to when I travel but now I just use my iPhone for both photos and videos although I miss taking pics with my SLR. I also didn’t know that there was lightroom for phones! I’m going to download that now!

Archives

> <
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec