Travel photography on a budget
If you love taking photos during your trips or holidays, than what better place to start than with travel photography as, even with a tight budget, you can still produce impressive and creative images. And you don’t have to have the resources to travel extensively; simply beginning in the village, town or city where you live can bring about some stunning shots.
As with everything, starting your travel photography on a smaller scale sounds more achievable as it will allow you to make the inevitable mistakes around your local town (therefore cheap) while you build up the experience and strategy that will pay off during your travels.
Think about choosing 2-3 places that people would take an interest in visiting and arrange a trip there with your camera. This will enable you and others to see your hometown in a new light, and for your work to gain exposure and feedback directly from locals. So, whether you start locally or have the ability to head further afield, make a plan right now to get your travel photography project started. Not only can you use the results personally but if others love them, you may even be able to sell one or two!
Here are a few tips to get you started. Work through them one at a time and have fun whilst you do so:
- Carrying your camera – you might have quite a few things to take with you, depending upon how far you decide to travel so do you need a special bag for your precious camera? The answer is a definite no; why not put your camera in the same bag as your other essential items? I carry my DSLR camera in a pouch that can be put into any bag, along with other essential items. But if you wanted to spend money on a camera bag, look for brands that combine women’s handbags or unisex backpacks with camera inserts. Tucking it away in a standard bag will not attract the attention of would-be camera thieves.
- Set the alarm – if nature and landscapes are your thing, make the effort to rise and shine bright and early for some magical shots, even if you are not an early-morning person. No matter where you travel to, seeing the location in the early morning before the crowds arrive and with that very special light enables you to blend into the landscape, capturing some one-of-a-kind moments. Even mundane places can look magical as the sun rises.
- Make plans before you leave – if you are more of a city explorer and like to connect with people, then you will want get out of the habit of taking a shot without planning, editing it later. Far better to think about what it is that you want to achieve, and plan your equipment (and schedule) around it. If you just go with the flow, your photos will reflect that randomness and undermine your travel photography project. Speak to local bars or restaurants and see if they would be interested for you to provide them with some photography of their food or events. Attend street festivals or public gatherings (openings) and ask local newspapers if they would be willing to use (or feature) your photos. This would give your photo trip a purpose, and get yourself out a “snap as you go’ mentality.
- Think like an artist – while good technical ability goes a long way, you also need to bring some artistic merit into play. Thinking out-of-the-box and viewing skylines, natural elements or architecture in an artistic way can create shots that are perfectly individual, expressing your personality and forming something likely never seen before. Experimentation should be your best friend, don’t be afraid to come up with something different. Make sure that whatever your camera focuses on, it includes some feature of that particular landscape, so that it can be identified (sense of place).
Travel photography on a budget is more than possible – you can take shots like a pro if you put some of these ideas into action and use your budget wisely. You don’t have to travel miles and miles to get a good photograph. Travel photography is a lot about moving outside of the comfort zone, and I don’t only mean physically. You need to train your eyes to see the extraordinary in everyday places and this take some conscious efforts and planning. Take good photos of things that are right on your doorstep to challenge yourself (and your photography) and to get the results you are after, without breaking the bank.