Travel Photography

Course CodeVPH005
Fee CodeS1
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment


Traveling can perhaps challenge photographic skills perhaps more than anything else. This is because there is usually such a variety of photographic subjects and photo opportunities. Because the subject matter, light and other conditions all vary so greatly, the equipment and film you use will never be ideal for everything you are doing. This will challenge your skills considerably, and probably cause you to develop tricks and innovations that you might otherwise not have developed.

Most travel photos are taken in medium or average light conditions. In these conditions, the shutter or film speed will not be so critical. Medium speed is probably the most appropriate giving you a wide range of photo opportunities with sharp, rich coloured photos.

Often time is of the essence when traveling. You may only have a short amount of time to take photos at each stop (or while you move through an area in a vehicle. If this is the case, you can lose opportunities if you take too long to set up a photo.

Things that can take time include:

  •  Changing lenses
  •  Setting up a tripod
  •  Changing settings on a camera
  •  Setting up a flash
  •  Changing filters (on lenses).


A good travel photographer can (with practice), learn to do these time consuming things faster, but they will still take time.

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
    • To be able to take good travel photographs, the first essential is to know and understand the equipment and materials used in photography. Part of this first lesson is aimed to ensure that you have this basic knowledge.
  2. The Main Principles
    • This lesson aims to provide you with a firm understanding of how you can work at improving your capabilities with respect to taking travel photographs. It provides a framework, upon which you will base your work in future lessons.
  3. Creating Different Effects
    • Learn how to achieve different effects with snapshots and scenic shots.
  4. Photographing Natural Areas
    • Learn how to photograph wilderness shots and seascapes.
  5. Photographing Streetscapes
    • Learn the two main types of street photography: posed & candid
  6. Photographing Interiors
    • Look at the difficulties involved in photographing interior subjects and how to overcome them.
  7. Developing Your Photographic Style
    • By using photographic equipment skilfully and learning how to sense the way different types of film will respond to different colours and different situations (eg: haze, back light, side light, reflected light etc).
  8. Major Project

Tips for Taking Candid Photos While Traveling

1) Plan your shoot in advance.  Although the candid photo looks like there has been no planning often the photographer has done a lot of advance planning.  You need to decide in advance the environment, equipment, and time of day for you candid photography.

2) The setting could be a festival, market place etc. (when you first start taking candid photos it is a good idea to choose a crowded public event so that you will go fairly unnoticed by individuals.  You could also try working to a theme, for example people eating or elderly people. Another idea to shoot candid photography is to select a setting such as a shop entrance, a market stall and wait until a subject walks into your photo.

3) Maintain a low profile.  Make sure your equipment is not bulky and drawing attention to you.  Therefore don’t carry a large camera bag and/or tripod.  Often the smaller SLR cameras and compact cameras are less conspicuous. Try using your camera on auto focus and automatic exposure so you can concentrate on capturing interesting shots unfolding before you. You should also use a camera with a quiet shutter and film rewind (digital is obviously better for this) and avoid using visible flash.  Instead use existing light, faster film or ISO on digital and improvise some sort of camera stabilizer (e.g. a wall, table, tree branch etc.)

4) Select the appropriate equipment– lenses (and film if using); decide whether a filter is to be used or if an auto winder is needed for rapid shots.  Some digital cameras have a moveable LCD screen which you can tilt to enable you to shoot your subject without them being aware of it. Your lens choice may be a zoom lens that covers all focal lengths in the medium telephoto range such as 75mm to 135mm. Even longer telephoto lenses are advantageous for picking out someone’s face is a crowd, however the longer lenses are more conspicuous and often don’t fit the smaller cameras. 

5) A faster film is the best option for greatest flexibility, allowing smaller apertures and faster shutter speeds. If using a digital camera set it to ISO 400.  Digital camera users are at a disadvantage when shooting candid shots as there is often delay in capturing the image and burst rates (the number of images taken in rapid succession) are low.  The capacity indicates the amount of pictures able to be taken before the camera has to stop and process the information. This can take a minute or more during which time you have missed the perfect candid shot.  However although film cameras can shoot many more images in rapid succession there is also the time taken to change film that again leaves you missing great pictures.

6)  Determine the time of day and weather conditions required for your shots, in advance of your shoot.  Set your camera for the available lighting.  Look at where the sun is coming from and think about where you should placed yourself so that you have appropriate lighting on your potential subjects.

7) Tips – when you see a potentially good photo, snap it whatever your camera settings are then if possible correct them and re-shoot.  Chances are you can fix them digitally afterwards and at least you haven’t missed the shot.  Also it’s a good idea to learn to turn on and set your camera whilst it is still in your bag or pocket. 


Meet some Of our academics

John Mason

John Mason is one of Australia's most prolific writers. He saw his first work published when at secondary school, where he worked on the school magazine. In 1973 he was writing a weekly column for his local newspaper and by 1975 he was a regular contributor to Australia's national magazine "Your Garden". John was engaged by Victoria's Dept of Youth, Sport and Recreation to write a book on Fun and Fitness Trails in 1978. In 1981 he saw two more books published (one in America, another in Australia), and commenced writing regularly for the Self Sufficiency Magazine, Grass Roots. John is a long term member of the Australian Society of Authors, the Garden Media Guild (UK) and the Horticultural Media Association (Australia). He has written or contributed to over 100 books, many published by international publishers and published more than 2,000 articles across a range of genres (Gardening, Education, Business, Farming, Fitness). In addition, John has contributed to and overseen the development of more than 600 distance education courses which encompass around 20 million words. He has been an avid photographer for 40 years, building a collection of over 100,000 images, which are used to illustrate his work. His marine animal photos are even used by Legoland in England, on their Atlantis ride! Writer, Manager, Teacher and Businessman with over 40 years interenational experience covering Education, Publishing, Leisure Management, Education, and Horticulture. He has extensive experience both as a public servant, and as a small business owner. John is a well respected member of many professional associations, and author of over seventy books and of over two thousand magazine articles.

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