Travelling with a Non-Photographer

My wife and I both love to travel, however she has very little interest in traveling for photography. She is into food/wine/experiencing the places we visit (which is also of interest to me). Here are some tips I use in order to try to find a balance that allows me to take cool photos and enjoy all the other aspects of travel.

1. Accommodation Location

When we book our travel I usually take point on finding our accommodations.  I first look for a hotel/Airbnb with a great/unique view, roof top bars/pools or balconys.

Next is the physical location, I try to find a balance between being close to lots of restaraunts/bars vs photo locations that I can walk to for sunrise/sunset. If the location we are visiting has good transportation options (subway/uber/Lift etc.) then I focus more on the first point of having a unique view.

In Sydney we stayed in North Sydney close to the harbour.  This allowed me to walk down to the harbour for sunrise to photo the Harbour Bridge and the Opera house.

 Sydney Harbour from North Sydney

Sydney Harbour from North Sydney

2. Time of Year

Fortunately we don't have any restrictions on when we can travel (aside from the number of vacation days), thus we try to hit the shoulder/off seasons.  Less people, usually cheaper prices and for me the timing of the blue and golden hour. The later golden hour times, allows for a little more sleep.  More importantly is the early blue hour times, if timing lines up we spend the day doing "travel" stuff then head back to the hotel for a pre dinner rest. I can then photograph the blue hour/sunset before we can head out for dinner. Doesn't always work out that way but the shoulder seasons give a better chance of it happening.

3. Be Prepared

For morning shoots, I try and pack my bag and have my clothes laid out before I go to bed.  This cuts down on the early morning fumbling around in the room and reduces the potential of waking up the person you are traveling with.  It's a good idea to bring back coffee upon returning to your accomodation after making the photos in the morning.

4. Book Flights are around sunrise/sunset

There are a lot of factors that can prevent this from happening, flight schedules, cost, airline delays.  When all things are equal I try and pick the flights taking off / landing around sunset or sunrise.  It is also a good idea to google what side of the plane (or train/bus) to sit on for the best chance at getting good photos.

 Flying home from NYC

Flying home from NYC

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5. Small Cameras and Tripods

I know everyone has a phone with a great small camera.  But I also travel with a backup camera (Fuji X-E3) to my main one (Fuji X-T2). When I don't want to walk around with a bag or a camera sound my shoulder I can put on the Fuji 27mm pancake lens and throw it in my pocket.

I also like to have a small tripod on hand incase it is needed.  I used the RRS Ultra Pocket Pod, which can easily fit into your pocket.

6. Hanger Management

Being snacks!  Nothing worst than a hungry person waiting for you to get the shot you are looking for. A couple extra granola bars in your backpack can be a life saver.

If you have any tips to add please put them in the comments, I am always looking for ways to take photos while on vacation.