From Streets to Architecture: 5 Essential Travel Photography Tips

From Streets to Architecture: 5 Essential Travel Photography Tips

As a photography enthusiast, when you’re exploring different cities, everything is a potential photo op — from the quaint European café where you ate lunch to the panoramic views from the rooftop of your metropolitan hotel. You want to be ready to capture all the interesting sites and sights you’ll discover along the way. Pack your camera and these handy travel photography tips in your carry-on bag and enjoy your journey!

1. Travel light

Your vacation schedule may be jammed-packed with lots of sightseeing but your camera bag doesn’t need to be. For capturing great travel photos anywhere, all you need is a robust full-frame camera, like the Canon EOS R, and a multifocal lens like the RF 28-70mm F2 L lens. Three optional RF Mount Adaptors allow you to use all EF and EF-S lenses, such as the EF 24-70mm.


2. Stick to Av-priority mode

AV mode

When inspiration strikes on a bustling city sidewalk or while on a moving tour bus, you don’t want to lose an important moment because you’re adjusting camera settings to get the optimal shot. Set Aperture-priority Av Mode mode as your default shooting mode. You’ll be ready to capture buzzing neon signs, towering historic skyscrapers and impressive bridges stretching across the river. In Av mode, you can set the f-stop number that best suits your scene to take control of the depth-of-field in your photos. A low f-stop number (f/4.0–f/5.6) is best for fine architectural elements, and larger f-stop numbers (f/8–f/11) will bring more of your scene into focus, ideal for detailed skylines.

Frequent travelers may prefer the freedom of the Creative AutoCreative Auto Mode mode, available on the EOS 6D Mark II. The camera will choose the shutter speed and aperture, but you can easily control depth-of-field, brightness and other settings on the fly by using a menu on the LCD monitor.

3. Use natural light

natural light

Whether you’re exploring a new city or ancient ruins, it’s best to capture the sights in natural light. Not only can flash create shadows and glares, some heritage venues may prohibit the use of flash photography. Disable the automatic flash before taking interior or exterior photos and look for angles where your subject is well-lit or use the natural light and shadows to create interesting compositions. A full-frame camera like the EOS R works particularly well in low light and nighttime conditions because its larger sensor gathers more light from a scene, improving overall image quality.

Take your day trip into night and watch as the city transforms from serious business to sophisticated glamour. Find a vantage point high above the streets to take photos of rush hour at dusk — and beyond — and experiment with different slow shutter speeds (from 1/50th sec. to 15 sec.) to capture the blurred streaks of automobile taillights as traffic speeds through the city. At these slower shutter speeds, use a tripod or other camera brace to avoid unintentional blur from handheld camera shake.

4. Get Lost

get lost

Go ahead and wander off to discover unique local treasures and forgotten architectural marvels. Even if you forget the name of the charming cobblestone path when you found that gargoyle fountain, the built-in GPS of the EOS 6D Mark II camera can geotag your images with longitude, latitude and altitude data. Enable the GPS Logger before you start your trek, then transfer the GPS log to your memory card when you finish photographing for the day. When you get home, Canon’s Map Utility application can show you the route you traveled and where you took each photo.

5. Pose for selfies

Pose for selfies

Want to take a few “wish you were here” selfies with landmarks or funky urban murals? The vari-angle LCD touchscreen on the EOS R camera lets you compose your selfie in Live View and adjust camera settings while you strike a pose. Turn on your camera’s Grid Lines in the Menu settings to help you keep the horizon line behind you as leveled as possible.

Memory cards can fill up quickly with photos, videos and GPS data. Instead of limiting your camera time, use the EOS R’s built-in Wi-Fi® to access your online photo storage on Canon iMAGE Gateway. Upload photos and videos directly from your camera after a long day of snapping and clear the memory cards for your next adventure. You can also use the iMAGE Gateway app to share your favorite photos with friends and family online.

With these tips and your skills, you’ll be able to skip the postcard rack — the best souvenirs will be the scenes you’ll capture with your own camera.