Tip #1:
Know Before You Go

By Bob Krist

By Andrew Hudson Published: August 18, 2011 Updated: May 25, 2018

The magic word is research. Whether it’s a major travel assignment or a family vacation, the more specifics you know about the location, the better your pictures will be. Here’s what I do to research a destination I’m assigned to photograph.

You can’t know too much about the location you’re visiting. It’s no accident, for instance, that many of the stories I shoot for Travel/Holiday, National Geographic Traveler, and Islands magazines contain lively people pictures. Whenever I land an assignment, I call the US-based tourist office of the country, or the state tourist office if it’s a domestic shoot, and I ask for any literature on the area, including a schedule of events. If there’s a big festival or parade happening, I may schedule my whole trip around it. But even small events, like a music festival or folk dance demonstration, can be great photo ops.

There are countless small details, which, if overlooked, can ruin a shoot. For instance, if you plan to use a tripod around some of the monuments and buildings in Washington D.C., you’d better have the proper permits from the Capitol Police, or prepare to be hassled. Popping down to the Caribbean with rechargeable batteries as part of your kit? Even though these islands are in the U.S.’s backyard, voltage and plug types vary from island to island and adaptors are all but impossible to find once there.

The more you travel, the more you’ll be able to anticipate the types of questions that need to be answered before you set foot out of the house.

Copyright 2006–2011 Bob Krist. Reproduced with permission. No Internet reproduction or other usage permitted. For more information send an email. Bob’s next book will be PhotoSecrets Travel Photography.

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