11 Travel photography tips / by Neil Alexander


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Having just arrived back from a short shooting jaunt to the sunny island of Malta, I thought I'd put together a short list of dos and don'ts for those wanting to better capture their vacations or break into a little travel photography themselves. DOs: 1) Make sure to download and duplicate cards every night - I start it off the second I walk back in through the door. 2) If you want to catch first light prepare your gear whilst your cards are downloading. Get it all ready so you can throw it on when the alarm sounds and stumble out the door. Only once cards are going and gear is ready will I pop a beer and begin to wind down. 3) Make sure you've got a pocket full of business cards ready to hand out. 4) Plan ahead and be prepared to be flexible. The last time I was here I marked a whole series of places on a good ol' fashioned map with a view to returning back to these areas. On my list were a few places on the island of Gozo, but as it transpired it was quite windy whilst I was there and it was doubtful whether the ferry would be running or not. A little digging on the evening of Day 1 turned up a couple of local markets and a windmill that was worth shooting which made suitable alternatives. 5) Get a really good guide - they'll get you to places you probably wouldn't know about or be able to get into without speaking the local lingo or knowing local customs. 6) Keep a little notebook handy for jotting down a brief journal - very handy for captioning when you get back home.

Old car in Valetta, Malta (Click for larger)

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DON'Ts 1) Forget the suncream. 2) Forget the travel adapters. 3) Put your camera where it's not wanted - I was working a night market in Marsaxlokk and stumbled across a rather funky stall selling all kinds of bottled coloured liquor. The woman behind the stall had one of those faces I just had to capture but as soon as I'd got one frame off she got a little irate and very camera shy. Simple solution - move on. There's no point pushing it. If I had, the fuss she would have created would have rippled down the market and increasingly I'd be met with resistance. 4) Be afraid to use a little off-camera flash if it's needed. Shooting one of the markets was quite tricky; some of the stalls were under tarpaulin over head, but the back opened out into bright bright sunshine. So I either get an exposure for the stall and possibly the vendor, but a completely blown out background, or pop a flash in one hand and hold the camera steady in the other - it's tricky but with practice it works. 5) Forget the importance of good comfortable footwear. Even though my Merrells have been several times round the globe, they're still the most ideal footwear for me personally doing this kind of work; they're comfortable, lightweight and robust.

If you've any tips yourself worth sharing, drop them in the comments below. TTFN...