1. Research before shooting
I always like to scout out a location for best shots and angles a day or so before I actually go out shooting. If you are going to take pictures of famous locations (think the eiffel tower, the great pyramids, etc) you can do a bit of background research before even getting to the location. Good research is essential for becoming great a travel photography.
Hint: this is great to do while in the plane or on layovers!
You can use the internet to do some virtual scouting beforehand, looking to see the angles other photographers use. Google, facebook, and Instagram are all great resources to find these famous shots.
2. Early morning and evening hours
The early morning and late evening light is both mysterious and magical- the golden hour. The natural lighting at this time of day creates an amazing effect for shooting all types of subjects: people, landscapes, monuments, and more! Make sure to check at what time the sun actually rises near where you are so that you make sure to get up early enough.
3. Know your equipment
Make sure that you familiarize yourself with your camera and whatever other accessories you plan to use while taking photos while traveling. You do not want waste time learning how to operate your equipment and possibly miss that perfect shot while out and about exploring!
4. Speak up
Talk to the locals. More importantly, learn how to say “hello” or a few simple phrases in the local language. This little trick will take you so far and sometimes create wonderful opportunities to shoot human subjects as well. You will be able to ask locals if it is ok for you to take their picture and get that prized award winning shot of daily human life you have always been looking for. Always make sure that you ask first before taking someone’s photograph in a foreign country. If not, people may get offended wich will ruin any further opportunities for you. Make sure to be respectful of both people and their culture, and if you do this you will go so far.
5. Take the road less traveled
To be able to get truly unique, one of a kind amazing photos, it is essential that you get off of the well worn tourist trail and explore for yourself. By getting off the well worn path, you open yourself up to who knows what kind of opportunities. This way you are able to share your own point of view on exotic and less known locations around the globe.
Get on top, get up, and elevate yourself whenever possible. Taking photos from a vantage point has many advantages in itself. Taking photos from a vantage point with an amazing overlook is one of my favorite ways to take pictures. Use a timelapse to get some really cool shots from these vantage points.
7. Use a tripod
Although it may seem cumbersome, there are all kinds of small portable lightweight tripods out there specifically designed for travelers. The difference it makes to take your pictures from a steady tripod can sometimes be like night and day. Using a tripod becomes necessary if you are trying to take longer exposure shot, time lapse shots, or shoot with slower shutter speeds.
8. Learn to be patient
Although this is something we are all constantly working on as photographers, having patience is everything when taking great images. Photography is not something that should be rushed. Pay attention to the details and wait to see if something might change and offer a more opportune moment. Having the patience to wait for that perfect shot becomes everything and can make the difference between an ok shot and a truly amazing photograph. You can use it as a type of meditation too, to find inner peace and tranquility as you are waiting for that perfect shot!