Follow your wanderlust.
Whether your interests lie in landscape photography, wildlife photography, or street photography, if you travel for the shoot, it counts as travel photography. Like documentary photography, travel photography expresses some truth about the particular scene it captures. “For me, it’s just one way to share my perspective on the world,” says professional travel photographer Tiffany Nguyen. “I travel to different places, see the world through my lens, and tell stories through photography.”
Start where you are.
You don’t need to quit your day job and sell all your possessions to make travel photography. “I would just start in your own backyard,” Nguyen says. “I started small, doing short, weekend trips, then when I got more comfortable traveling and better at photography, I wanted to take it to the next level and do more international locations.” Begin with a list of places nearby that might be interesting to shoot. Find locations you can get to in an afternoon.
Research the location.
You can save yourself time and effort, and get better pictures, if you plan ahead. “Having the right inspiration before you get there is really key,” says travel photographer Forrest Smith. “Before I go, I like to build a moodboard to try to find the exact shot that I want.”
Nguyen does a lot of internet research, looking at blogs, Google Earth, and Google images. She scouts Instagram for different angles and perspectives. “I also find that social media is a huge resource, especially using hashtags on Instagram,” she says. “They’re really helpful for finding live conditions at a certain location. For example, if I go to a waterfall, I don’t really want to waste my time if the waterfall is dry. So I’ll search the hashtag of the waterfall name to get an idea of the water level.”
In addition to weather conditions, your internet research can tell you how popular the location is, how to get there, and what times might be the least crowded. “I’m looking for the length of the hike, the elevation gain, any obstacles or challenges that are going to come my way,” says Nguyen.