Travel Photography 101

Want to bring home that perfect picture from your vacation? Or just want to build your photography chops? Check out our pro tips and round up of local classes.

By Haley Martin October 22, 2013

Image: sint

Travel photography can be a challenge even for those with years of experience. Encountering everything from scenic landscapes and architecture to people and food, you have to plan ahead and be versatile to capture these moments before they pass.


New York City based photographer, Ari Espay co-owns a production company and teaches photography workshops for National Geographic. With years of experience under his belt, he offered us some tips for beginners and pros alike:

  • Before going anywhere, look at what other photographers have done to find interesting places to photograph
  • Look for inspiration in what other artist have done (e.g. writers have written or where painters hang out, etc.)
  • Photograph situations that others can relate to: a simple little moment, a gesture, or a slice of life that everyone could recognize.
  • Pack light—a couple of lenses, a flash, batteries and memory cards. Make sure to back up your files.
  • Tripods are heavy to carry around, but if you're going to be shooting in low light, it will be worth it.
  • Shoot at sunrise and sunset for warm tones, the "golden hours" for photography. In the middle of the days, try to photograph people in open shade 
  • Yes, shoot the postcard picture. But then move around and find the “local life.”
  • While shooting, keep a journal and document what is going on.
  • When photographing people, take into consideration that you are dealing with real people dealing with real lives.
  • Interacting with people will get you to places that you wouldn't get if you are a fly on the wall.


Newspace Center for Photography 

Offers a wide range of classes—from “Learning to Use your DSLR” and iPhone photography to on-location field trips and lighting workshops. Need based scholarships available. 1632 SE 10th Ave. 936-1935. For more information, visit

Northwest Center for Photography 

Offers multiple session workshops on topics like composition, panoramas, and manual photography. 1028 SE Water Ave #50. 701-5347. For more information, visit

PCC Photography Classes

Term-length classes on everything from the basic skills to darkroom developing to Photoshop workshops. For more information, visit

Nat Geo Storytelling Photography Seminar (Nov 24)

Photographers Melissa Farlow and Aaron Huey teach a workshop on building a photo essay with a focus on photographing people. Portland Museum of Art. 1219 SW Park Ave. 226-2811. 9-4 pm. $195. Register at

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