Distant countries, foreign places, famous cities, sights, different cultures, people, buildings, street scenes, natural spectacles – travel photography in itself is as diverse as hardly any other photographic genre.

Travelling with your camera in your luggage does not necessarily mean leaving your homeland far behind; you can visit the nearby city as a tourist. As soon as you take enough time to get to know an unknown place through the camera and thus also through new perspectives, travel pictures emerge.

Distant, foreign countries have a very special charm, because even everyday objects there are different and new and therefore decidedly photogenic. If you consider a few tips and tricks, then bring along pictures from your next vacation, your next short trip, the city trip or day trip, which will not only give the feeling to those who stayed at home, that they would be (once again) there looking at them.

Travel planning

No matter where the journey takes you, as soon as you have arrived you can expect countless motifs. You should make a choice at home beforehand to make the most of your holiday. It makes sense to plan the course of your holiday at home with the help of a travel guide.

Individual photo tours along the most important sights for you and a generously dimensioned timetable offer you the opportunity to concentrate on the beautiful things and photography on site. Pay attention to the direction of the compass when planning your day, as the façade of a cathedral may be particularly impressive in the evening sun, but the morning sun entering the chancel at an angle would be more suitable for indoor shots.

You shouldn’t forget to take some time out: Parks, beaches, walkways, small street cafés and restaurants are ideal places to take a breather. After all, your trip should be relaxing and not turn into a hectic photomarathon.


In order to make a trip a successful photographic experience, the camera equipment must be adapted to the conditions. An adventure holiday, a safari or a visit to a rainforest places different demands on your camera equipment than an all-inclusive trip to the Spanish coast or a city. Therefore, you should be concerned in advance with what awaits you on the spot:

Your camera should be able to withstand the weather conditions, i.e. the high humidity in the tropics or the dry dust in desert regions. If your holiday region is rather lonely, you don’t need to worry as much about theft as you do about traveling to busy, highly frequented places, where you shouldn’t let your camera equipment out of your sight for a second and should wear it as inconspicuously and close to your body as possible.

If you travel a lot on foot, a rucksack is a good idea to make it easier for you to transport your heavy camera equipment. When travelling by car, a spacious camera bag also serves its purpose.

And the motifs you want to photograph also determine the type and scope of the camera equipment: the architecture of a big city, people and street scenes as motifs demand a completely different range of lenses in your luggage than the photography of wild animals in their habitat.

Where the former allows you to remain flexible with a handy camera, you will hardly be able to take wildlife photos without long telephoto focal lengths and a fixed tripod. Regardless, you’ll always keep your luggage smaller and lighter when you’re on the move with high-intensity zoom lenses than when you pack more fixed focal lengths.

But don’t limit yourself too much, especially when travelling once, because you never know what kind of subject is in front of your lens – so at least a wide angle, a normal or light telephoto focal length, a longer telephoto lens and a macro lens belong in the camera bag.

For city trips where conditions change quickly, zoom lenses are of course more flexible and faster, but the more you work with fixed focal lengths, the faster you’ll change lenses all the time. Alternatively, you may be able to pack two camera housings, which is a good choice for unrepeatable destinations, and equip them with different focal lengths for different subject areas.

You should also assume that you will always take more pictures than planned and therefore need more memory cards than you think. Save your digital pictures to a mobile hard drive or laptop every day to back them up. Maybe your camera also offers the possibility to record two memory cards at the same time, or you can upload the recordings online to an FTP server to protect them against theft or loss.

The camera’s batteries should last for a whole day, even with frequent use of the flash and cooler temperatures, but for safety’s sake also pack spare batteries. A portrait handle usually allows you to use normal AA batteries, which you can buy relatively easily in any country.

If you are travelling with a compact or bridge camera, the questions about lenses and batteries do not arise. In any case, buy a second battery that’s always fully charged in your pocket. The biggest advantage of small cameras is their size and weight, they don’t take up much space and don’t weigh down your luggage.

But at the same time they have the big disadvantage that they often struggle with shutter delays and are therefore not ideal for human pictures, street shots and fast changing situations. For still subjects, however, they are often an ideal travel companion.

Since many situations disappear at the moment the camera is seen, telephoto lenses and swivelling monitors of digital cameras are well suited to trigger unnoticed.


Whether you photograph strangers at home or in other countries, in both cases you must spontaneously master the element of the random and the unpredictable.

Motifs for such photographs are not staged by the photographer, but simply happen and must be seen by him (beforehand), recognized and implemented without thinking. Speed, the right instinct for the situation and an open way of dealing with strangers are important prerequisites for good pictures.

Speed is important not only because the shooting situations are fleeting, but also because people normally behave differently when they notice a camera. They feel observed, become suspicious and react negatively. Strong telephoto lenses may make it easier to take an unnoticed picture, but they also quickly have the pale taste of a “stolen” paparazzi photo.

Either take your picture and then approach the person(s) by addressing them, explaining yourself, showing the photos taken and asking if it’s okay to take more pictures. Or – even better – you can briefly pick up the camera beforehand and take a questioning look. Many people react positively, smile and continue. You can then stop and observe the scenery until you are no longer really noticed and the facial features of the model relax again.