Landscape Photography: Trip Planning Tips

Not many of us head out for dedicated landscape photography trips. It’s when we’re going out for a family vacation that we plan to take some time out for photography. The challenge is to maintain a balance between family and photography. Landscape photographer Mark Denney covers how you can plan to overcome this struggle:

1. Identify Locations

If you’re going on a family trip, you can’t allocate the major portion of your time to photography. Therefore, identifying beforehand where you want to shoot becomes critical. You can do an online search for the ideal places to shoot from in the location that you’ll be visiting and shortlist your favorites from there. Do this for all the locations you want to visit and have your “menu” of locations set.

online research for finding photography locations

2. Social Research

People share everything on social media these days. And that helps a lot when you sit down for some research. You can use photo-sharing platforms, such as 500px and Instagram and do a search for the locations that you have listed. The images will give composition ideas and also an idea of how the location looks in different weather and lighting conditions.

social research for photography ideas using 500px

“This is just a great way to get a good idea of what you can expect from the location when you actually get there.”

Besides giving you an idea of what to expect, this step will also help you plan the kinds of shots you want to take when you’re there. Think about what you can do differently and better.

3. Determine Gear

You know your location and have an idea of what kind of photos you will be taking. The next step is to prepare the gear that will help you to take those images. Will you be taking wide-angled shots? Then take your wide-angle lens with you.

preparing gear for landscape photography trip

Then there are basic things like a tripod, storage, batteries, chargers, filters, storage, light, cables, and backup systems. Prepare a checklist of all the things you’ll need when traveling.

When packing your gear, be careful with anything you’ve recently purchased. Make sure you’re well-acquainted with the new gear. The last thing you want to happen is being unable to work with the gear because it’s your first time using it.

4. Virtual Scouting

Tools like Google Earth allow you to get to your location virtually. This will conveniently allow you to scout your location beforehand.

Google Earth view of Tunnel View

Using Google Earth for location scouting

“This is just a great way to get very very comfortable with the area that you’re going to and what you can expect while you’re there.”

Using the same tools, you can plan out the time it takes for you to travel from one place to another. This will give you a better picture of how much time you can spend in each location. Further, you can even plan your timing so that you don’t miss out on the good light.

5. Light & Weather

Apps like PhotoPills and LightTrac help you plan your shot by letting you know where the sun will be at a particular time of day. This way, you’ll have an understanding of whether the location will be properly lit during the sunrise or the sunset, which will, in turn, help you to plan your arrival accordingly.

determining sun conditions with LightTrac

Planning for sunrise and sunset photography using LightTrac app

Similarly, with apps like Clear Outside, you can get to know the particular levels of clouds in the location you’ll be visiting. It’ll tell you whether the location will have high clouds, medium clouds, or low clouds. High clouds catch the morning light or the setting sun, and that’s what you should aim for.

checking cloud conditions using Clear Outside

Clear Outside app to forecast cloud conditions

Are you heading out for a vacation soon? If so, these tips will come in handy.

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