5 Tips for Planning a Photography Trip

Flatiron Building at Night in New York CityFlatiron Building at Night in New York City

Flatiron Building at Night in New York City

By David Morefield

 1. Make a List of Locations to shoot on your Photography Trip

When planning a photography trip, I like to make a list of locations (complete with addresses) that I would like to shoot in advance of my trip. This saves time and eliminates downtime. If you only have a couple of days to visit somewhere, you want to know in advance of some places that you would like to shoot in order to maximize your time. Of course, along the way you will likely find things that you also want to shoot and that is what makes a photography trip exciting. You may leave thinking you will get one thing and by the time you are back home, you found a gem along the way. The picture above is a great example of something that I did not plan to shoot, but the opportunity presented itself and I am glad that I took the time to shoot.

2. Research the locations that you have selected for your Photography Trip

When travelling to a location to shoot, it is wise to research in advance in order to find out if they rules regarding photography. For instance, Grand Central Station in New York City requires that you get a permit in order to shoot inside using a tripod. Unfortunately, I did not have enough time in advance of my trip to New York City to get a permit, so I was not able to get the shots that I wanted. Of course, when I return to New York City, I will apply well in advance so that I can get a permit.

Another example on my recent trip to New York City was the Empire States Building. They do not allow professional cameras on the observation deck, so I borrowed a mirrorless camera to take with me so that I could get some nice shots to stitch into a panorama.

The bottom line is that you want to identify obstacles in advance, if possible, so that you can avoid unnecessary delays. Time is precious on a photography trip.


3. Remain flexible on your Photography Trip

I would advise against trying to plan every moment of every day on a photography trip. Part of the adventure for me is going some place and discovering things to shoot along the way. Your list of locations is a great blueprint for where you want to go, but keep your eyes peeled for opportunities along the way. The picture above is of a street vendor that I found near Rockefeller Center.

Kind of funny, but something that I got in a fortune cookie has stuck with me, “Be like the bamboo tree, sway with the wind but keep strong roots.”

 4. Ask Permission to Shoot at Locations that you Stumble Across on a Photography Trip

I was staying my friend’s apartment in Manhattan recently and just down a few blocks away there was a very cool Barber Shop. The men running the shop were outside opening up one morning and I stopped to speak with them about shooting inside of their Barber Shop. Not only did they agree, but they were very friendly and inviting.


This is one of the aspects of a photography trip that I really enjoy – meeting people along the way and hearing of their stories. If you are ever in need of a haircut in New York City and want to go to a really cool place, then I would suggest that you visit the Blind Barber in East Village and ask for Robert.

Robert is a second generation Barber and provides a classical Barber experience in a very trendy neighborhood. they even have a speakeasy in the back, so you can get a shave, trim and then a drink; what a great idea!

5. Keep a Journal on your Photography Trip

Something that I enjoy is keeping a journal of my travels. This not only helps me write on my blog later, but it provides personal enjoyment when I go back and read my notes about my trip. Coupled with the pictures that I take on the trip, the Journal brings back memories of the sights, smells and the emotions that I felt on the trip.

During my trip to Washington D.C. with my son, I wrote about how proud I was of him for knowing so much about history. My son is a huge history buff and schooled me a few times at some of the locations that we visited. I love history, but admittedly, he is more advanced in some areas. It was very fulfilling to sit back and listen to him tell me about places; he is only 15 years old. Yes, I am a proud father.

When I read back through my journal, it’s like I am right back in Washington D.C. with my son having a great time and I am able to reflect on his accomplishments, our trip and it helps me extract details that I will use later when keywording my pictures for sale or writing their descriptions.



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