Five travel photography tips from a professional

Five travel photography tips from a professional

Before you leave for summer vacation, take in professional photographer Pat Kane’s wisdom on how to capture the best shots possible.

Around the world in eight photos with photographer Pat Kane


It can be tempting to bring several lenses, tripods and gear when you’re traveling, but I find that using one camera and one lens can be creative freeing. I used a Fuji XT-4 and a 35-mm lens on my international travels this year. A fixed focal-length lens forces me to move around a scene and challenges me to think more carefully about how I frame my shots.

Simple Compositions

When we travel, we want to show our friends and family as much as we can. We love to take wide photos that capture a lot of information, but I find many things get lost if we try to show too much. I look for simple compositions within scenes: one or two people in a landscape, details of people’s clothes, gestures or expressions. By focusing on a small part of a larger scene, we can capture a better sense of a place.

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Hoi An, VietnamPAT KANE/The Globe and Mail

Unexpected Moments

There’s no bad time to make a great photograph. Even when the sun is too bright or the rain is pouring, people are still living their lives. In fact, poor weather is a great time to photograph a slice of life that you otherwise might not expect. Wait and watch, and interesting things will happen.

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Saigon, Vietnam.PAT KANE/The Globe and Mail

Make Connections

I’ve found that most people like having their photo taken. This is not to say that it is okay to photograph people when they aren’t expecting you to. It is important to ask permission, or better yet, introduce yourself and tell them why you want to photograph them. These short introductions can lead to conversations, which can lead to learning something new about that person or the place you’re visiting, or even recommendations on other things to see.

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Wayasewa, FijiPAT KANE/The Globe and Mail

Be Present

I don’t have to photograph everything. Sometimes putting the camera down and enjoying the sights and people offers a different perspective. It is important to be open to new experiences without documenting them because when I pick up my camera again, I’ll have some understanding and appreciation of the story I want to tell.

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