Suggestions For Changing into a Journey Photographer


This text is information for the aspiring journey photographer who don’t know the place to start out. The article initially appeared here, and is being republished with specific permission from Viktor.

Viktor Elizarov is a journey photographer and educator from Montreal, Canada. He travels around the globe and shares his experiences on his popular travel photography blog. Go to Tutorials part of his weblog for free tutorials (together with unique uncooked recordsdata) and free Lightroom presets.

It was a stupendous day in Montreal. I used to be on an everyday afternoon jog listening to a well-liked images podcast. The subject of the episode was journey images. The friends on the present had been two skilled photographers with the years of expertise.

On the finish of the podcast, through the listener query and reply session, the primary query instantly grabbed my consideration. Why? As a result of I’ve been requested the identical, or an almost equivalent, query many instances earlier than.

So what’s the query?

I wish to begin touring extra particularly for images, however I have no idea the place to start out. Do you have got any thought the place I ought to go or the right way to plan my journey? Ought to I edit pictures whereas I’m there or ought to I wait till I return residence? What cameras, lenses and different tools do I take? Assist! I’m affected by evaluation paralysis.

Okay, so maybe the query has a number of components but it surely nonetheless rang true to my expertise. I used to be curious to listen to the solutions as a result of I knew it was a loaded query and undoubtedly not a simple one.

The professional photographers’ solutions shocked me.

Listed below are a few of them:

“South Asia is an effective place to go.”
“Don’t go to Bangkok.”
“If you happen to have no idea, select a spot randomly.”
“Europe, possibly.”

As an alternative of addressing the complicated topic of journey images, the photographers solely targeting a single side: the situation. Their solutions upset me as a result of I don’t think about the situation to be the important a part of journey images. You don’t want to journey to a distant and unique vacation spot to get pleasure from journey images.

So I’ve determined to place collectively a blueprint or information to assist individuals who wish to get entangled in journey images, however have no idea the place to start out. I used the same method once I first began and it has confirmed profitable over time.

At the start, please don’t begin your journey images journey with a visit to South Asia. Will probably be a waste of money and time, to not point out will probably be stuffed with disappointments.

Begin smaller and develop from there.

Sunrise at Forillon National Park by Viktor Elizarov on

Testing Floor

Discover a native park in your neighborhood, ideally inside strolling distance or a brief drive. Make this your testing floor in your tools and images routines.

Any city park has all of the important parts of journey images: landscapes, cityscapes, folks, and many others…

Plan your visits throughout totally different instances of the day. Discover ways to take care of the cruel noon mild, overcast, rain, sunsets, and sunrises. In doing so, you’ll work out what minimal tools you’ll want to cowl totally different eventualities of journey images.

For instance, I noticed fairly early on {that a} minimalistic method to images fits me the most effective, and all I would like is a digicam with a walk-around lens. For years, I used a mix of a Canon 60D + Sigma 17-70mm and now I’ve the same setup of a Sony a6000 + Sony 16-70mm.

Admittedly, I’ve extra tools in my possession together with a large angle lens (Sony 10-18mm), tripod, filters, and distant triggers. However, if needed, I can go on an in depth journey and solely take a digicam and one lens with me.

I’m fortunate sufficient to have a stupendous park solely a brief, walkable distance from the place I dwell. Even now, when I’ve a brand new piece of kit, I all the time take a look at it there. After I switched from a Canon to a Sony it was a steep studying curve, and the native park was the perfect place for studying about and testing my new tools.

Colorful Fall Evening (Montreal) by Viktor Elizarov on

Park Rene Levesque in Montreal is my testing floor

Mini Simulation

The following step is to go on a day-long journey to a location inside about 1-2 hours drive. In my case, I do know all of the nationwide and provincial parks round Montreal and most of them make excellent locations for brief picture journeys.

This journey will take you away from the consolation of your own home for all the day, and can will let you begin micro planning and testing your abilities.

Ensure you plan upfront what spot to go to at sundown or dawn. It isn’t all the time straightforward to do each throughout a brief journey, so select just one and ensure you go to the most effective spot. Use Google search, Google maps, and 500px to pinpoint the right location in your dawn or sundown shoot.

Additionally, it’s a must to resolve what number of digicam batteries to deliver with you, for those who want spare reminiscence playing cards, and so forth. In case your journey includes difficult mountaineering, it additionally may be a good suggestion to depart the tripod at residence.

These journeys are designed for photographers to make errors and study. With each new journey, you’ll study extra about planning, your tools, and your habits.

If you’re comfy with the brief journeys, it’s time to graduate to multi-day journeys.

Path to Golden Forest (Montreal) by Viktor Elizarov on

Mont-Saint-Bruno nationwide park is barely 30km from Montreal

Multi-day Driving Journeys

That is how actual journey images began for me.

Montreal is positioned about 5-7 hours drive from New York, Boston, and Toronto with Niagara Falls. My journeys devoted solely to images began with 2-Three day driving journeys to these locations.

Multi-days journeys require rather more planning the place you must all the time do your analysis first after which plan all of your sunrises, sunsets and every part in between.

One other new problem it’s a must to face on these journeys is to determine the right way to take care of modifying and backups.

I’m not supplying you with a particular situation to observe as a result of, primarily based on my expertise, journey routines are all the time altering and evolving.

For instance, at first, I all the time did some primary edits of my new pictures by the tip of day by day of the journey; now, I solely think about my taking pictures and I begin the modifying course of when I’m again at residence. However I all the time have the choice to edit pictures just by connecting my pill to my digicam utilizing Wi-Fi, grabbing a couple of pictures, modifying them with Snapseed, and posting them to social media.

On the similar time, my backup routine has not modified rather a lot. By the tip of the day, I backup all new pictures to 2 exterior onerous drives and all the time ensure that to maintain them in two separate locations. I’ve one with me always in my bag and the second I maintain within the secure within the lodge or within the trunk of my automotive.

Additionally, I don’t rush to format my reminiscence playing cards. I maintain pictures on the playing cards till I run out of house on all 4 of them and solely then do I begin formatting.

The fantastic thing about driving journeys is that you just should not have to be too selective concerning the tools you deliver with you. You’ll be able to load your trunk with every part you personal and work out what items are important in your model of images later.

East River Sunset Shower (New York) by Viktor Elizarov on

New York. Taken throughout a sundown cruise alongside the East River.

Hacking Household Trip

The following step is to hack your loved ones trip.

It’s a must to watch out with this one in order to make sure you don’t agitate your family members or wreck the holiday for them.

A household journey can function the right alternative for testing your air journey routines. It requires further analysis to determine keep it up allowances on each leg of your journey and resolve what tools to deliver.

After I introduced all my tools on one in all my first household journeys to Cuba and hardly used any of it, I began to pack in another way by bringing solely the requirements alongside. Additionally, after I switched from DSLR to Mirrorless, I can pack every part (nearly every part) in my keep it up with out worrying about misplaced baggage.

Sunrise Watchers at Cayo Coco Beach by Viktor Elizarov on

Cuba. Dawn at Cayo Coco seashore.

So how do you begin planning?

Start by planning your trip as you usually would and focus on household actions first. When these are performed and all people is completely happy, you possibly can improve your journey with images adventures.

Through the trip, the one time whenever you might be 100% devoted to your images is when all people is sleeping. On every day of trip, you’ll have a couple of hours between dawn and breakfast to focus on your images. And, not solely will your loved ones be in mattress at 5am, so will about 99.9% of vacationers.

The truth is, you’ll be shocked how lovely Venice seems at dawn—it’s utterly totally different and calm with out the chaos of crowds.

Final 12 months, my spouse and I went to Niagara Falls in the course of summer season on a weekend getaway. It was so crowded through the day that I had no likelihood of utilizing a tripod. It was even tough to take any photos with out having folks within the body. However, once I went to the Falls the following morning simply earlier than dawn, I had all the place to myself. The one particular person I met there was one other photographer who had the identical thought.

Sunrise at Niagara Falls by Viktor Elizarov on

The important thing to efficiently combining a household trip with images and having fun with them each is to plan each single dawn upfront. The remainder of the times might be devoted to household actions, and are rather more tough to plan round. You’ll be able to get pleasure from your loved ones whereas making an attempt to be as opportunistic as potential along with your images.

After you have got accomplished dozens of one-day native journeys, half a dozen brief driving journeys, and at the very least a few household holidays, you may be able to go on in depth journeys devoted solely to images.

You’ll have acquired the required abilities and established the private routines that can enable you be comfy, assured, and secure throughout your travels.


Check what’s in my camera bag…


Studying any new complicated course of requires breaking it down into smaller digestible chunks that you may then begin to sort out one by one. Journey images isn’t any totally different. You can’t study every part in a single shot. By beginning small, you’ll regularly accumulate data, expertise, and set up your distinctive routines.

I hope my easy blueprint will enable you fulfill your dream of changing into a journey photographer and speed up the educational course of.

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