Quick tips to plan your Photography Trip – Part 3
Welcome to Part 3 of my mini series “Quick tips to plan your photography trips”.
In Part 1 of Quick tips to plan your photography trips we’ve seen what are your planning tools, what to consider when starting with your planning, how to make a list of photos and do your research of locations to visit and photograph.
In Part 2 we focused on creating your own map with Google MyMaps and how to plot the list of locations on your custom map and work with layers. We then learned how to add info to a location, how to highlight directions, and share the map with your friends.
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Here you can find Part 1 of Quick tips to plan your photography trips
Here you can find Part 2 of Quick tips to plan your photography trips
Plan your photo trip with Instagram
In Part 1 we briefly discussed about useful websites and app. I think that we need to talk about Instagram separately and how to use it to plan your trip. In the past people would use guidebooks, which by no mean are a thing of the past. But nowadays, Instagram is one of the first tools we have always in our hands, not only to explore, but to share our travel locations. Posts and stories are the place where people share their epic travel images and we can take advantage of this to plan our trip based on the beautiful and photogenic things that make it into our story feed or post feed.
If you don’t know how to use the Instagram story feed, I wrote an article about it. Here you can find my article Stories are the new Instagram Feed.
Instagram allows to use geotags in images. Geotags are very useful because by clicking on a geotag or typing the geotag name on the Instagram search, we can see all the photos people posted at that location. I also use this feature to know what to order at a restaurant haha, I just see photos of a meal posted by people and I go for that. But this is so true for your landscape photos too. Instagrammers will post epic images of the location they visit and this will give you a real hand in deciding what location you want to visit and refine your list, but it gives you also an idea of what are the vantage points to take photos from in that area.
Furthermore, you can use hashtags. Even though sometimes hashtags are used in a spammy way by Instagrammers to get noticed, I think they’re still relevant and reliable and you can use it too to plan your trip. Type the hashtag on the Instagram search bar or click on it when you see it on a post and same as geotags you’ll be directed to a view with all the posts using that hashtag.
Plan your photo trip with Pinterest
Pinterest provides unlimited inspiration, allowing you to create boards and collect travel images and useful information. You can organize your boards however you’d like, ‘pinning’ photos you find on travel websites or anywhere on the Internet or uploading images of your own.
Pinning from a website or blog though will allow you to maintain the link to the source. This way when you click on a pin it will direct you to the source of the image. You can literally use it to bookmark your favorite images related to the location you’re planning to visit. You can also build up a lost of travel guides, tips, photos and follow people with similar interests and see what they share.
If you browse Pinterest, you will find it very useful to do your research directly in it. Since every image or pin is linked probably to a blog article or website, you’ll find a lot of interesting travel blogs through it.
Create several pin boards on Pinterest to keep a list of the locations you’re going to visit. It’s a really awesome visual way of listing things. You can also use it to pin helpful articles of activities and restaurants you want to visit. At the end of the day you want your photo trip to also be enjoyable.
Other photography websites for planning your trip
They are a bit less known by non-photographers but still really good source of inspiration for your photo trip.
500px is an online photography community that photographers used to use to gain global exposure in the pre Instagram days.
With 15 million users, I think that 500px is still a relevant platform despite being less popular and used these days. You’ll find a great number of quality images from photographers all around the world. Beautiful landscapes geolocated so that you can click and see all the photographs from a destination and search for it. 500px allows you to share images on your Pinterest and grow your collection that you can go back to and to you map like explained in Part 2.
Another ‘Old’ but to me still relevant platform where you can find tons of photos from beautiful places around the world is Flickr.
Flickr used to be THE platform for photographers. On Flickr too you can easily share your best inspirations on Pinterest.
Don’t forget Guidebooks
I think guidebooks are coming back. With an overwhelming overload of information coming to us through our social media channels, the old standard guidebook is finding its way back to our list of resources for planning a trip.
In reality they’ve never gone anywhere. Social media and Internet represented a decline in sales for a few years, but with the struggle of finding the right information in the ocean of today’s Internet, guidebooks give just enough info on that beautiful destination you’ve always want to visit.
Travel Guidebooks you will definitely like
Plan for golden hour shots
During my road trip in New Zealand I planned so that I was getting to a location in the late afternoon and leave the day after before lunch. What this meant is that I could plan my driving hours around my shooting hours and get to a new location before sunset and leave after sunrise. The golden hour in photography is the period of time before sunset and shortly after sunrise. It’s the hour of the day when the light is softer and diffuse. The sun is near the horizon and the atmosphere acts as a huge diffuser, making the light less intense. The light also appear more reddish since the light has to travel through more atmosphere.
Technicalities apart, during the golden hour you’ll have longer shadows, which will help you make your photo look more 3D. Foreground, middleground and background will be more defined and this gives more depth to the image. To shoot epic photos you need to become an expert of manipulating light, and during golden hour you will get the best light possible to play with in your compositions.
There’s a few things to know about the golden hour. Unless you are in certain areas of the world, the golden hour is very short. Even if it’s an hour long, that is not enough time if you need to scout the area, think of your composition and so forth. I also wrote an post on how to improve your sunrise shoots.
I think the secret when you’re travelling is to plan your trip around the golden hour. Know when it starts by using the website photoephemeris.com . Then you will know roughly at what time you want to leave every place to get to the new location. A good thing to do is to arrive well before, scout the location and the come back for the sunset. After the sunset, if it’s not too late and you’re not too tired you can go and scout out the sunrise location so that the day after you’ll know where to go and more or less what composition you’d like to create. This will save you a lot of time and will allow you to pick the best vantage points.
Plan your trip around the golden hour!
In one of my blog posts you will find useful tips to shoot amazing photos during the golden hours. find the article at this link:
Five photography tips for shooting stunning sunrises
After you have a map and a list of beautiful images of locations you’d want to visit for your photo trip, it’s time to do these things:
Decide how you’re going to move around and learn about the transportation. On my trip to New Zealand I decided to move around with a Campervan as New Zealand is a destination famous for this, where you want to go from a place to another and stop for the night on the shore of a lake and be ready with my camera for a sunrise shoot.
Rent a car. For my trip to Japan in 2019 I’m going to move by train a lot, but there are areas I can reach easily unless I drive. It’s worth renting a car for at least part of your trip sometimes, but don’t wait until you get to destination. Plan in advance and call the car rental company or you can end up not finding a vehicle or getting charged for more money a s they will always try to upsell and you will buy something you don’t really need. On the phone you’ll be more relaxed and have more time to decide since you’re not in a rush. Do things properly.
Tell your bank if you’re going overseas. When I was in Bali, my Bank didn’t know I was there and noticed several payments from my card. They thought those were suspect and temporarily froze my bank account. So when I was at a restaurant and tried to pay with my card it was declined. Disaster. Luckily I was able to call immediately and after a few hours everything was solved, but trust me you don’t want to end up in that situation. Call your bank and let them know your going overseas so that they will know it’s you spending your own money.
What are my tips for planning your photo trips
Thank you for getting it to the end of this 3 Parts mini guide on planning your photography trip.
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These is a summary of the tips we’ve seen:
Quick tips to plan your Photography Trip – Part 1
- Your planning tools
- Who is your travel partner
- Is it more of a relaxed vacation or you’re looking for an adventure?
- Consider travelling in low season
- Do your research
- Your photos list
- Your locations list
- Ask your friends
- List of websites and apps you can use
- Use google maps
- How to create your own map with google
- How to find locations with MyMaps
- Add markers to MyMaps
- Use Layers in MyMaps
- Add directions to the map
- Transportation modes on MyMaps
- Type of maps
- Share your map and collaborate with your travel buddies
- Plan your photo trip with Instagram
- Plan your photo trip with Pinterest
- Other photography websites for planning your trip
- Don’t forget Guidebooks
- Plan for golden hour shots
- Decide how you’re going to move around and learn about the transportation
- Rent a car
- Tell your bank if you’re going overseas