Tips for Travel Photography - johnshippeephotography
Travel photography in Alaska. 2014 John Shippee Photography

Tips for Travel Photography

I love to travel and I love photography! Fortunately for me, both of these hobbies go together like peanut butter and jelly. In early 2014, I was lucky enough to score some really cheap airline tickets to Alaska. My wife and I went the last weekend of May, and spent a few days exploring Anchorage.


While these tips are going to be based on our trip to Alaska, they can be applied to pretty much any travel photography.

What to see?

I research my destinations before I go anywhere and make a list of all the places/things I want to see when I visit. Then I prioritize them by how important it is for me to see each place. Like the Alaska Railroad. I’ve always wanted to see it.


I also make sure to leave some time for the unexpected. I like to make sure there is time set aside to wander around and see what I find, or to talk with some locals and get recommendations from them. If you plan every moment of every day, you're setting yourself up for failure. Best case scenario, you see everything you planned to, but are exhausted from trying to keep up with a rigid schedule. Worst case scenario, you go off schedule and spend the rest of the day panicking and trying to catch up. It's just easier and more relaxed to have some time set aside for the unexpected or for some downtime.

We made a last minute decision to take a glacier tour on our last day in Alaska and were lucky enough to also see whales. I managed to photograph a baby as it was jumping out of the water.


What gear do I need?

I often struggle with this and oftentimes end up overpacking. Some things to keep in mind are:

What will you be shooting?

- Wide angle lenses work best for landscape photography and capturing the sheer vastness of a place. Whereas wildlife photographers will want the longest telephoto lens they can afford to get up close and tight on the subject.

- If you’ll be shooting a lot of long exposure shots, a tripod will be necessary to prevent blurry photos from camera shake.

How much room do you have?

- When space is at a premium, my bare essentials are:

     + Camera body

     + Extra battery

     + Extra memory cards

     + 50mm prime lens

     + 1 zoom lens (If shooting landscapes, I will bring either the 14-24 or 17-55 lens. If I think I’ll   need more zoom, I bring the 70-200.)


If you have any questions or comments, please leave a comment and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.