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10 Travel Tips from National Geographic

City lights at night

Here are 10 travel photography tips from the ultimate travel photography organization, National Geographic:

1) Do your research! Read brochures and travel books. Find whatever you can that is relevant and devour it. This will help you figure out what the place is about and what subjects interest you.

2) Always have your camera with you and always keep your eyes open. Whenever you leave your accommodations, you should be ready and able to capture whatever pops up.

3) Get up early, stay out late. Wander around and experience the place, so that you can figure out what to photograph. Use spare time to get out and look for photographs.

4) Make time for serious photography – most trips are full of scheduled tours, etc.and the itineraries rarely leave time for serious photography. Build that time into your schedule every day.

5) Work the situations over. Never be satisfied with your first view of a place or the first frame you take. It’s always possible – and usually likely – that you will take a better photo. Get closer, then get closer still. Be patient and wait for the “decisive moment”.

6) When photographing a town or city, do these three things: 1) Capture a sense of place (a wide shot), 2) photograph landmarks that the place is famous for, 3) photograph the life of its inhabitants.

7) When photographing monuments, statues and other buildings, think about what they represent before shooting. Get the idea of the subject, then think of the weather, light, angle, etc. that best communicates it.

8) When photographing people on the trip with you, photograph them in context with their surroundings.

9) Be sensitive to the scene in your viewfinder – if you are photographing strangers, ask their permission to photograph them. Learn how to say “May I take your photo?” in their native language.

10) Be a Jack-(or Jill)-of-all-trades: you will likely encounter all sorts of situations and subjects in your travels, so be able to photograph all types of images – from portraits to landscapes. Know your equipment before you go!

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