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Seven Tricks and Tips for Photographing on the Go

Updated on June 25, 2019
Victor Moolman profile image

10+ years of professional photography and several cameras later, I can safely give advice on this.

There are many things that you need to know when traveling. One of the most anticipated and often overlooked things is technique, which can vary from casually taking pics of things along the way to setting up a full camera tripod setup to take hour long time-lapses.

So, here’s the seven tricks you should know to take pictures when you travel through your own country, around the world, or maybe just down the road. Note: all of these will assume that you already have a good camera on your phone or a DSLR camera with several useful functions.

1. Phone lenses that clip on

These can be the cheap ones that you always see in airports or the more expensive ones you find at tech stores. Lenses like these will transform your phone camera from limited to multi-functional, assuming you only have one lens. What makes these great is that you can carry them around with you to several places without them taking up too much space. Which is perfect if you are traveling with limited space.

However, new phones like the iPhone X and Samsung Galaxy S10 have multiple lenses with them. Which means that having switchable lenses may not be so convenient. Still I recommend having a small set of these with you wherever you go. Mostly because you never know when you need a macro photo.

2. Small tripods for places that need stability

These are golden, simply because they take almost no space and give you the chance to easily take great time-lapse videos or long exposure pics of some great sights. Every photographer that goes out to specifically take pictures will have a proper tripod; however, if you’re traveling for business or just backpacking across a country, then you need these.

I’ve used these for anything from GoPro videos to time-lapse photography done with my phone. They provide just the right amount of stability to take pics of almost anything. Then there’s the space-saving, lightweight nature of these tripods. Unlike traditional tripods, these do not weigh a ton, do not take up an entire bag on their own and can actually be thrown around and not be bent by baggage handlers.

3. The best backpack you have (and get a lining)

Look, we all try to take good care of our equipment, we all want our cameras to last a lifetime. But, if you are traveling then you are not always in control of who handles your bags, in fact 80% of the time you aren’t even sure where your bag is.

Having a good thick lined bag, with all your equipment in it, is perfectly fine for your checked luggage. However, the camera that you keep with you when going somewhere or just getting on and off the plane will have to share space with many other things. Therefore I recommend getting a lining from a camera shop that can fit into the bottom of your backpack that will give it a nice soft spot to be stored in.

This will keep your daily camera safe from being shaken about in the plane, on your back and most importantly, when you forget it’s at your feet and you suddenly stand up.

4. Get your mobile phone a hard-core case

This is something that you should have anyway, so I won’t go into too many specifics. However, you should be ready to splurge just a little bit on a case for your phone that can handle just a bit more than the day-to-day knocking about of office use.

Trust me, nothing gives you a larger heart attack like seeing your phone fall from your hands all the way underneath the wheel of the nearest tuck-tuck.

5. The cloud really is all around us

Do you remember when you took some pictures of your cousin's wedding? You went home, and the next week when you finally started editing everything, you found yourself missing several important pictures. Well, when you travel and you’re taking pictures of everything day in and out, you will find yourself losing entire days if you don’t have a good backup plan.

Now, depending on where you are and how much you want to spend on the trip you might not have access to OneDrive, iCloud Storage, DropBox or Google Drive. However, you should still upload as much as you can whenever you get the chance, even if it is only your top five pictures so far. When you are traveling, hiking, biking and walking in places that you’ve never been before it will definitely surprise you just how easy it will be to lose a memory card, damage a hard drive or misplace entire laptops.

Yeah, I don’t like to talk about that last one.

6. Take as many as you dare

I’ll preface this by saying that you should never go and blatantly take pictures of places and people that specifically forbid it. However, when you’re on the back of a bike or walking around to find the next meal, you should keep your photographer eye at the ready.

The opportunity to get a unique street picture or maybe just a unique angle on something that has been seen a million times is always a surprise. There’s this proverb my father taught me that has taken me further in my photography than anything else: “Van uitstel, kom afstel.” This means that by changing when you do something, eventually you’ll just not do it at all.

7. Don’t buy new equipment right before you go

This is something that most people always want to do when they plan a trip. They take some of their travel savings, go out and spend it on new cameras, equipment or something they think they may need. This is a giant mistake, unless of course you are replacing broken parts.

Nothing is as awkward or difficult as having new equipment that doesn’t work, won’t work or is just confusing as the moment you want to capture slowly drifts away. Having the latest camera might be great, but if you don’t know how to use it then you’ll be stuck with a paperweight that cost you thousands. This is the same with your other equipment, including your phone.

When you travel it will certainly always be more beneficial to travel with equipment you are already familiar with, equipment that you can easily use like a third hand.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Victor Moolman


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