Travel photography tips for your next vacation

Lisbon, Portugal [Nikon D4, Nikon 28-300mm ƒ/3.5-5.6, ISO 800, ƒ/9, 1.3 – On Tripod]
For me the second most fun thing to do other than traveling the world and meeting new people is having photos to share with others about my travels.

I hope you are making some vacation plans for your summer. Here are some tips for you to capture your vacation and keep them for the years to come to help you remember your travel and also to share with others.

Which Camera?

Here are three solutions I recommend: 1) The Point & Shoot; 2) The Mirrorless Camera; & 3) The DSLR

The Point & Shoot
Me shooting the Nikon P7000. It comes with a versatile 28-200mm lens ranges wide to capture landscapes, zooms in to get close to the action. ISO up to 6400 and 5-way VR Image Stabilization System.

This is the newest version the Nikon P7800. Click on image to buy. This link takes you to Amazon and I get percentage of sale. You pay the same price.


Now the advantage of a point and shoot is size.

The Mirrorless Camera
This is my mirrorless travel kit. Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm and 55-200mm lenses.

This is the newest version the Fuji X-E2s. Click on image to buy. This link takes you to Amazon and I get percentage of sale. You pay the same price.



Nikon D750

I recommend the Nikon D750 with the Nikon 28-300mm as a small kit that will let you capture just about anything. Also many prefer the Nikon 24-120mm ƒ/4 since it is a fixed aperture.

What to look for in all three cameras:

  1. High ISO of at least ISO 6400 or higher
  2. If only one lens then I recommend zoom that covers 28-200mm range.
  3. Buy extra batteries
  4. Buy multiple Memory Cards
Use two hands to stabilize the camera

Now the Fuji X-E2 and the Nikon D750 both had wifi that let me upload to my phone using their Apps and then to post immediately to my social media. Very cool!

Keep your camera steady

When taking photos the #1 problem is motion blur. Hold the camera still and SQUEEZE the shutter release. Don’t punch it.

Sometimes when I am really excited to be somewhere I will take my shutter speed and crank it up to be sure my photos are sharp and not blurry from camera motion. The rule is your shutter speed should be at least the the fraction of second of the lens’ focal length.

When I am excited I will use a faster shutter speed of 1/250 or 1/500 to avoid motion blur.

Talk to people

James Dockery is talking to lady on the streets in Portugal on our Storytellers Abroad Workshop

Don’t stand across the street with the longest lens you have and take pictures of people on the other side of the street. Do go up and introduce yourself. Tell them why you want to take their photo. I just love your outfit. I really like the things you are selling.

Lisbon Mission Storytelling Abroad Workshop. [Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 400, ƒ/3.6, 1/800]
While taking portraits of people are great, be sure to back up as well and take over all shots to help capture the place you traveled so far to go and see.

Lisbon Mission Storytelling Abroad Workshop [Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 400, ƒ/11, 1/500]
Notice my shutter speeds are a little higher than maybe necessary. I was just grabbing shots and didn’t want them to be unusable due to camera movement.

Lisbon Mission Storytelling Abroad Workshop [Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/2.8, 1/80]
Also get super close. Take photos of the food you are eating and how it is served. There are traditions that are different from where you grew up.

[Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 6400, ƒ/5, 1/300]
Don’t forget to capture things like the jewelry that is sold in the market as well as a closeup.

[Fuji X-E2, 18-55mm, ISO 500, ƒ/5.6, 1/500]
Be careful when you get super close. Your Depth-of-field will shrink. So the part of the photo that is in focus from front to back will get so shallow at an aperture of ƒ/1.4 it can look out of focus. Here I shot the flower at ƒ/5.6. I could have easily shot at ƒ/11 and the background would have still been out of focus.

Carry extra batteries

Carry Extra memory cards

Carry them with you during the day

Every night be sure to recharge your camera batteries. Each morning be sure to remember to pack the extra batteries and memory cards in some small case you can put in a pocket or a backpack.

Carry Pocket Size Moleskin Notebook

Get a good notebook. Mine stands up really well to living in my pocket for a few weeks, no matter what I might be doing.

Carry a good pen

The pen must write with a very high level of reliability on the pocket notebooks that I use. “Dud” pens aren’t acceptable, nor are pens that sometimes choose to write only at a certain angle. These pens need to be faithful and reliable, always writing when I pull one out to jot down a note.

I write down things like the location where I have been during the day. If I talk to someone then I write their name down. Sometimes I get business cards and stick them in the notebook.

This is the screen shot of my software PhotoMechanic that I use to embed the text into each photo.

My workflow maybe quite different than yours, but I take time to be sure I put in the IPTC the location as well as some caption information so I can share this when I post a photo on social media and it also helps me remind me where I have been and seen.

Book Cover – Buy the book on

Shoot for a coffee table book

While you may not do one every time having something in mind will help you capture more variety.

Check out the link on the book above. You can see a preview of the book without purchasing online. Here is a blog post on producing a book I wrote earlier.

You can see how I combined some text with the photos to help me remember all we saw.

These are just some of the tips and while there are many other things to share about shooting, I hope this gets you started and excited about your travel plans this summer.