Take a camera with you when you travel – it’s not every day that you get to witness a new culture, try an authentic international cuisine, and meet new friends. So how exactly do you take the most incredible pictures when you’re out in a city or country you’ve never been to? Here are 7 helpful travel photography tips for your next adventure:

  1. Do Your Research 

Know about the place before you even get there. Research the best places to take photographs, especially off the beaten paths that rarely get any public attention.

You should also establish relationships before you hop on the plane. Hire a local guide or fixer in advance and get to know that person before you get there. If you’re planning on taking photos of a tribe or group, it’s best that you hire a local from the same area or culture you are photographing. This approach makes it easier for your subjects to develop a sense of trust and respect for you.

  1. Get Up Early

Sleep can wait – you won’t want to be sleeping while you’re traveling to a new country or city. Get up early and take the most beautiful sunrise, while enjoying the early morning lifestyles and cultures of the place you’re visiting.

  1. Travel Slow

Take a car, bus or train instead of an airplane when going from one place to another in a different country. It will give you more opportunities to discover unexpected locations, views, and even people.

Walking instead of taking a cab is also another way to travel slow – which allows you to capture undoubtedly candid and authentic day to day moments.

  1. Immerse Yourself in the Culture

Enjoy local street food, join the festivities, hear local music, and shop at local markets. Immerse yourself in the rich histories, culture, and lifestyles of the people that live in the place you’re visiting and only then will you capture the real essence of travel.

When you meet locals, show your genuine care and respect. When tourists visit tribes or see locals in national garb, they’d often take turns taking snaps and leave. Don’t treat your subjects like tourist attractions. Smile and say hello, introduce yourself and talk to them. How can they respect you and your equipment if you don’t show them any value in the first place?

  1. Enjoy Your Holiday

Taking travel photographs shouldn’t be the only reason you visit a particular place or people. Yes, while these photos may look fantastic on your social media page or for your family’s private photos, traveling isn’t about showing off. It’s about learning the culture and values of other nations or cities, exposing yourself to different lifestyles, opening your mind to the world outside of your comfort zone, and spending quality time with people you love.

It’s good to leave the camera behind for a while and truly be at the moment when you witness something majestic in a foreign land or view an incredible sunset over a vast horizon. Enjoy your holiday and let the photographs speak for your memories.

  1. Be Prepared

Make Your Camera Look Like a Piece of Junk – Put packaging tape all over your camera as if it’s falling apart and remove expensive lenses or flashes. This move will help to protect you and your equipment from possible theft. If your camera looks like it’s a worn out piece of junk, then potential thieves will feel it’s not worth the risk of getting caught.

Take a Pic of Your Business Card on Both Your Camera and the Lock Screen of Your Phone – In case you lose any of your devices, then you’ll be easier to contact or locate when the people who find your stuff know who it belongs.  Hopefully, that is.

Pack Light – Traveling with a heavy bag is no way to take photographs while on vacation. If possible, bring two lenses only: one for zoom purposes and one primary lens; bring an extra battery; and one small tripod.

Bring a Sling – Always have a sling ready and attach it to your camera in case you need to climb some steps and have your camera hanging by your hands. You can also use this sling to hang your tripod and take amazing photographs from over a bridge or even through the window of a moving vehicle.

  1. Back it Up

So you’ve taken enough photos and are done for the day. What do you do? You must backup your photos. The photography equipment is replaceable, but pictures aren’t, so be extra careful and backup your data. Use the 3-2-1 rule: make 3 copies of your photos on 2 platforms such as on a PC and a hard drive, and then keep one copy in a separate location, such as a memory card maybe, or a USB.

Finally, don’t travel for the sake of taking pictures. Travel to enjoy what the world has to offer and to open your horizons to new experiences and new relationships.