Travel Photography Tips with a Zoom Lens

For photographers, one of the most exciting parts of an adventure is all of the pictures that are made along the way. Unfortunately, before every journey begins, travel photographers are forced to make the impossible choice of which gear to take along. In a perfect world, it would be possible to take it all and be prepared for any situation that rears its head, but not all of us have the muscles or cargo space to carry around an entire photographic arsenal.

COOPH offers one solution for photographers who want to capture it all without going overboard:

Rather than packing everything you’ve got, try bringing out that zoom lens you have collecting dust in your closet. It’ll cut down on your lens count, and you may be surprised at just how many things it can accomplish in the right hands.

Here are just a few tricks that you can pull off should you choose to bring along a zoom lens:

Zoom Burst

All it takes to pull off this surreal-looking technique is a tripod and a slow shutter speed. As you are making an exposure, zoom the lens out. Doing so will add motion to a static subject and can make for a really dynamic shot. If you’d like to try this trick out during the day, add a neutral density filter to your lens to prevent your scene from becoming overexposed.

zoom lens for travel photography

Max Out, Reach Out

Is your subject just a tad far off? It’s not always possible to move in close to the things that you’d like to photograph because of obstacles or barriers impeding your way. Luckily, your zoom lens has you covered. Use the longest focal length you can to access close, intimate moments from a distance.

tips for travel photos with one lens

Go Wide

Zooming out can be just as advantageous as zooming in. When you’re in a confined space, it can be difficult to capture wide angled shots with a fixed focal length. Luckily, zoom lenses afford photographers the luxury of going wide, making it possible to get the entirety of a sprawling subject in your frame.

Try Out Landscapes

Because it’s possible to shorten the focal length of your lens, a zoom lens is an excellent choice for those interested in capturing land and cityscapes. For travel photographers, this quality is particularly appealing. Being able to capture “the big picture” helps tell the story of a journey and establishes a sense of place.

minimal gear for travel photography

Stick to the Details

Get up close and personal moments help to even out wider, more expansive shots. Using a zoom lens allows photographers to switch between focal lengths seamlessly, meaning that you don’t have to miss out on capturing all of the fine details.

best lens for travel photographers

Get Personal

The way people interact with an environment can be very telling. For this reason, photographers often make a point of photographing the people that they encounter while traveling. By using a zoom lens, you can hone in on action from a distance and capture authentic human moments completely undetected.

gear for travel photos

Don’t Forget Aperture

One of the zoom lens’s greatest qualities lies in the way it handles depth of field. By zooming into a detail and utilizing a wide aperture, it’s possible to work some striking bokeh into your shots. On the other end of the spectrum, zoom lenses allow photographers the ability to crank up aperture and get every detail in crystal clear detail.

what to bring for travel photography

So, don’t be so quick to discount a zoom lens when you’re making arrangements for your next adventure. For getting the best results possible in the spur of the moment, few tools will get you further.

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