Tips for planning, packing and preparing for a landscape travel photography shoot
Landscape photography, especially when you’re having to travel any kind of distance, requires some planning. You need to make sure that you pack what you need, but not so much that you can’t manage carrying it with you all day.
Some of the tips seem like common sense, such as checking out images of the local area on Flickr to get an idea of what the landscape will look like before you go. Google Terrain also offers more in-depth information to help you plan out your route and find other features of the land nearby.
Checking the sunrise and sunset times is also a good idea so that you can give yourself enough travel and setup time to be at a location ready to take the shots you want before the light disappears.
There are many apps available that let you get this information quickly and easily. Personally, I prefer Sun Scout, so that I can hold up my camera to the sky and see exactly where the sun will be throughout the day from where I’m stood, but then I’m usually already at a location, scouting for future shoots.
If you’re planning from home, then The Photographer’s Ephemeris is the perfect app for the job.
A GPS Watch is an extremely handy tool to have with you. Plan your route beforehand, and it’s always with you, telling you exactly where you need to go. It’s certainly better than relying on Google or Apple Maps, and having it not download map data because you have no signal.
There’s plenty of other great advice in the video, so go ahead and have look.
As well as the suggestions from Thomas, I’d offer that if you’re planning to shoot anywhere near water, make sure to pack an extra towel or two, so you’ve always got one handy that’s clean and dry for yourself or your equipment if needed. Sunscreen should also definitely be in your bag. Even if the weather’s not expected to be glorious sunshine, you can often be surprised.
I also pack a few Ziploc sandwich bags to protect equipment from the elements. It’s a lot less risky than putting your phone or filters straight down on the ground and either damaging them or losing them, and it’s a lot easier than packing everything back into its case each time you want to quickly swap out a piece of gear in the middle of a session.
What other suggestions do you have for planning a landscape or travel photography trip? Let us know in the comments.
John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.