Insight: How to Create a Travel Photo Essay, and Other Travel Tips from a Nat Geo Pro

By David Schonauer   Wednesday July 28, 2021

Is it time to travel again?

Or did you ever stop?

Either, way, you might be interested in a couple of recent tutorials focusing on travel photography. The first comes from travel and adventure photographer (and YouTuber) Brian Lackey, who notes that “for the past five years, pretty much every vacation I've taken has ended up turning into a dedicated photography project. And I've learned a lot about travel photography as a result.”

Lackey’s video goes beyond just making dazzling photos for Instagram. (Are you still just shooting photos for Instagram?) He explains why you might want to create a travel photo essay, and offers some tips on how to do that.

The goal, he says, is to create a series of photographs that combined add up to more than the individual images. Think about incorporating drones, and don’t simply shoot during golden hours, says Lackey.

And there’s a good reason for creating travel essays. “[I]f you want to tell a personal story from your adventuring or pique the interest of a commercial entity with the hope of landing a new photography client, then you need to be able to produce a cohesive set of images,” notes Fstoppers.

“We’re not back to normal or anything, but country borders are starting to open and more of us have been vaccinated,” notes Lackey, so now would seem to be a good time to start thinking about sharpening your travel photography skills.

National Geographic photographer Jim Richardson, an old friend of Pro Photo Daily, also has some travel and destination photography tips in a new video from B&H Photo Video. His first tip? “It’s about the location, it’s not about you.” This is a good one to remember. People respond to travel images first and foremost, says Richardson, because they like the place.

“They may like how you see the place, but first off, they like the place.” So do your research: Explore locations and find what’s visually interesting about them, declares Richardson.

Richardson, not surprisingly, is also an advocate of creating travel essays. “If you think of the finished story as your project…to make a complete package for the viewer, probably you're going to be happier and make better pictures,” he says.
At top: from 5 Tips for Travel Photography from National Geographic Photographer Jim Richardson


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