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Travel Photography Tips For Beginners

Sunset on Tioman Island, Malaysia. Nikon D3100, Sigma 10-21 Wide-angle lens.

To find out how to get an exclusive 10% discount from KEH Camera on pre-owned camera gear, keep on reading.

Choosing a camera.

You’re going travelling and you need a camera. Or, you just need a camera for any situation, including travel. Possibly. Hopefully…

Ok, i’m getting distracted. let’s start again.

You’re interested in photography and you’re looking for a camera. You find out, very quickly, that camera’s are damn expensive. You glance between the entry-level, mid-range, semi-pro and pro options and you decide to take up scrapbooking instead.


It’s so easy to get down about the price of camera’s but don’t let it dissuade you. Camera’s last for years and will provide you with so many magical memories. And let me tell you something, the difference between a $500 camera and a $1500 camera is often the person behind the lens. And besides, do you need a brand new camera?

Thankfully, photographers are the kind of people that actually look after their equipment and you can score really great deals on second hand camera’s from places like KEH Camera.

I’m not going to tell you what camera to get in this article because I know nothing about your budget and your needs. But I will tell you to get one.

Mirrorless or a DSLR, Canon or Nikon – the option is yours. But if you are serious then would suggest getting something that feels a little more durable than your regular point and shoot.

An Nguni portrait 🙂 Nikon D3100, 18-55mm kit lens.

Know thy Camera.

Once you find yourself holding that beautiful little (or large) investment and you’ve snapped a bunch of pointless pics (of people walking around the mall, the street, picking their noses etc.) just because you’re so excited, I encourage you not to ever use your camera in automatic mode again.

Set into Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority or even da da daaa Full Manual mode and learn why your camera no longer works until you can make it work in those modes.

Learn about ISO, Aperture, Speed, Exposure, Focus, Metering, and shoot in RAW.

The more you learn, the more control you have until you are no longer taking photos, but actually making pictures. You construct and set up the scene, you frame it, you capture the shot and display it for the viewer to enjoy.

Learn about light.

Light is a fascinating thing. So necessary for photography yet so often confusing and annoying. Why does your photograph change so drastically depending on whether you point your camera at the light or just a few centimetres away from it.

Galata Tower, Istanbul – Nikon D3100, Nikon 55-200mm kit zoom lens.


Gear is essential. When you get your first camera, you’re tempted to think that you are now ready to take the full spectrum of photographs. From star trails and time lapses to street photography and beautiful long exposures. On attempting any of these pictures and a subsequent google session, you’ll quickly find that gear is absolutely necessary.

Again, feel free to head over to KEH Camera for high quality used gear that doesn’t break the bank.

So what’s in my gear bag? Luckily i’m sitting right next to my bag and can tell you.

Get an exclusive 10% discount on pre-owned camera gear from KEH Camera with coupon code “TRAVELM10”. I’m not sure how long the code will be valid for, so take advantage before it’s gone.

    Sound obvious, but it isn’t. Initially you’re just carrying your camera around in a tiny pouch. But once you’ve got gear, you quickly see the need for a gear bag. Mine is the Vanguard Uprise II, which i’m loving.

  • Tripod

    Tripod’s are VITAL pieces of kit. For long exposures, night photography, family photo’s, and more, they’re absolutely essential. I use the Vanguard Alta Pro Tripod which is light and durable but maybe not the best for travel.

  • lenses

    Your new camera probably came with one or two lenses. These are kit lenses and are generally pretty decent. The standard is the 18-55mm lens which does a pretty good job for most day to day scenes. However, you’ll find yourself wanting to capture wider landscapes without having to stitch them together as panoramic in Adobe Lightroom or something, and if you’re on safari, you’ll definitely want to get close ups of the animals. So in the event of the above two examples, you’ll be needing a zoom and a wide angle lens. Lenses can be quite pricey but again, you get pretty decent second hand lenses – but make sure they are in good working condition before you buy!

  • filters

    I’ve got UV filters on all my lenses to protect the lens glass from getting scratched. UV filters are cheap to replace but a scratch on the lens is an expensive mistake. I also use a circular polariser for bright scenes, especially where there is a lot of reflection (off the sea for example.) And then you get ND Grad filters which are used for daytime long exposure shots. I haven’t actually got any of these yet.

  • Spare sd cards

    The last thing you want is to run out of memory. I’ve got about 4 or 5 spare memory cards lying around in my gear bag just in case they fill up or worse, decide to stop working.

  • spare batteries.

    Similarly, the last thing you want is to not be able to shoot that gorgeous sunset because you’ve used all your battery power on shots of people tying their shoe laces. Carry two at least.

  • headlamps

    Great for those night time shots with a beam of light shining out from your forehead, or for doing some light painting on night photography but absolutely essential for seeing in the dark. Hehe.

Also, it’s worth keeping in mind that KEH Camera also buy back pre-owned camera gear and accessories so you can literally keep cycling through gear until you find your perfect set up!

My Vanguard Veo Monopod in action in Swaziland. – Nikon D3100, Sigma 10-21 Wide-angle lens.

Lenses. Don’t be scared to chop and change.

Back to the lenses. The thing with a DSLR is that you have to change the lenses for different shots frequently. It’s extremely rare that I can go out with one lens and be happy. Chop them and change them throughout the day and enjoy the difference. Be careful because you’re exposing your camera (and lenses) to dust and dirt but don’t be so careful that you miss the shot. Camera’s and lenses can get serviced and they’ll clean it out properly for you.

Practise. Practise. Practise.

This is a silly tip, but keep practicing. Keep getting inspiration from other photographers and try replicate what they are doing. This is probably the fastest way to learn. Honestly, there are so many amazing photographers in the world today and everyone keeps attributing it to the smart phone revolution but I attribute it to apps like Instagram and VSCO. I follow some PHENOMENALLY talented people (who work their ass off for those shots) and I always ask myself “how did he / she do that?” and then I try and try until I get it right. And I learn so much along the way.

Exploring the Arabian Desert in Dubai with my Vanguard Uprise II 48 Backpack – Nikon D3100, Sigma 10-21 Wide-angle lens.

Post Process.

There are a lot of photo editors to choose from. Besides, you can always go with the good old classics of the photography world Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom. But in case you are searching for a powerful photo enhancer, a newbie would feel comfortable with, check out the article on handy photo editing software for beginners. See a selection of best editors for inexperienced photographers, learn about their features, and choose the program that suits you best.

Most people ask me what camera I use. I get it all.the.time and when I tell them I use a crappy Nikon that’s falling apart and was entry-level 7 years ago, they honestly don’t believe me. It’s not the camera. With some light editing or

-processing you can achieve some magnificent finishes from any camera.

But this is a topic in itself. The main things to remember is that a camera is just a computer and it interprets the scene totally different to your own eyes. So process the image as you saw it. Clean it up, increase the sharpness and the clarity, bump up or bump down the colour and as you go along you’ll learn that you can do so much more to really make your images stand out. Be as creative as you like. It’s your image.

Fake it till you make it.

Honestly, just keep taking pictures and copying and learning skills along the way and you’ll achieve milestones along the way. Keep searching for tutorials. Follow photographers on Instagram, go on Instawalks, subscribe to photoblogs and buy magazines. There is SO much knowledge out there.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of KEH Camera. The opinions and text are all mine. TRAVELM10 Offer Code: Offer valid on used KEH products currently available in inventory during the promotional timeframe. Offer cannot be applied to previous purchases. Discount applies to product cost only and is not applicable to taxes, repairs, or quote costs. No adjustments on previous purchases allowed. Not valid for cash or cash equivalent. Eligible customers must use code and purchase eligible used camera gear to receive 10% off. Excludes all new items. Offer can be used once per customer during term of the promotion. Eligible customers must spend $49 or more in order to receive free shipping within the 48 contiguous United States. Offer is non-transferable and subject to change without notice.

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