How to become a travel photographer

There’s a huge difference between taking photos on holiday and taking a trip for photos, and yes a hybrid is totally doable. But please make sure your go into each of these with the right intention and expectations. Avoid these simple travel photography mistakes, because you’re not going to get the best travel photos dragging your family around first thing in the morning or at dusk and enjoy it. I promise you, it’s not possible with younger kids. You need to either do a photography trip or arrange some time within your holiday.

Lack of Preparation.

The biggest travel photography mistake I see is a lack of preparation. Before you even book anything you need to be clear on your expectations.

What are you looking to achieve?

  • Is this trip about telling a story?
  • Capturing the culture and feelings of the area?
  • Developing your photography skills and learning from the process?
  • Or capturing those special moments?

Get an idea of the kind of photos you want to take. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time and that you plan to be there at the right times. Clearly if you want a sunset sky with warm tones, you need to be there at that time. I use Time and Date to check out times and weather. Sometimes it’s worth going to a location at multiple different times to see how it changes, and giving you more time to both see differently and take your time.

Your Gear

I’m always amazed at the different opinions about how much gear is a mistake. We all have different viewpoints and personally, I think too much is when it stops you taking photos. For some that means just your phone, and yes that’s perfectly fine, to all the way to two bodies and multiple lenses. You need to tap into your own ability. This should be fun and exciting, it should bring you joy when you’re standing there and you finally get it. Haven’t got clue where to start? Learn more here.

Know your gear

Now you’ve decided what you want to take. The next travel photography mistake to avoid is making sure you Learn the potential of your gear. I’ve seen people capture amazing photos on a phone and mess up on a DSLR. Every piece of gear you have, you need to get to know.

  • What’s it strengths?
  • What’s it weakness?
  • Which settings do what?

When I get new gear I have a get to know you session, where I simply mess around will every setting, tweaking things until I can go; If I do this I know what it will produce.

How well do you know you’re camera?

Underestimating what you’ll need.

Always pack spare batteries, memories card ready to go, and weather protection for both yourself and your gear.


Finally, unfortunately it appears we live in a world of being reserved about asking for help. Asking for help, guidance and feedback here is a sign of strength, courage and respect. No question is silly, obvious or out of place? Bonus points If I don’t know the answer. It means your helping me to learn something I love.

  • Ask about local photographers
  • Ask about special locations
  • Ask for advice on how to take the shot
  • Asking permission to take a photo of someone
  • Ask for feedback on the final photo

What travel photography mistakes would you like to avoid? Have you been traveling and would like your travel photography tips to be added?