Planning To Get That Amazing Road Trip Photos

Man with canon camera taking pictures

Of my favorite by far is a road trip. Road trips provide you with freedom that is quite tricky to get from different forms of travel.

You can go where you want when you want. It’s possible to change your plans last minute. And you may drive with no destination in mind if you like.

Road trips are particularly great if you’re a photographer. But road trip photography includes its own unique set of challenges. Much like any type of travel photography, road trips require a good deal of prep.

I learned this the hard way and have missed many opportunities because of insufficient preparation.

Nowadays I aim my road trips in a lot more detail than I ever used to. I love to break the planning up into two sections: the photography and the road trip.

Of course, there is some overlap, but it helps me ensure I haven’t forgotten anything doing this way.

The Road Trip

The first section of the preparation is about the vehicle, accommodation, and path.

This entails choosing a car if you don’t already have one, deciding how and where you would love to maneuver, and deciding on the road excursion route.

These items are personal taste and will also depend on whom you are traveling.


There are a couple of considerations regarding your vehicle. Will your automobile also be your lodging? If that’s the case, you may use an RV or camper van. You could use a van and sleep at the back, although that could take a little bit of work.

Camping might be more your style. I’ve taken road trips with regular tents and roof-top tents and had a blast.

Living from your automobile has the extra advantage of having the ability to stay closer to possible photo places. Most paid accommodation like hotels are going to be in or near like cities and popular tourist destinations.

If that is what you need, good, but my idea of a road trip entails getting away from active areas. This is a large attraction to living from a vehicle. Getting closer to nature. When you are behind the wheel, the only time you’re not outdoors in character is.

When choosing your car or truck, it is important to also consider if it will be up to this job.

  • Is it safe and mechanically sound?
  • Might it be appropriate for the type of terrain you’re going to be driving?
  • Is it large enough for you, your traveling buddies, along with your gear?
  • Will it be comfortable to drive for long periods?
  • What’s it like on gasoline? Just how much will it cost to drive and maintain?

These are important questions to ask before settling on a vehicle, not just for the sake of your pocket, but also for your safety. Visit in case you need roadside assistance when near San Jose CA.


If you’re arranging a road trip, you probably already have at least a rough idea where you’re going. Maybe you have a final destination in your mind and what in-between is a puzzle.

It could be a one-way street trip, a return trip, or even a loop. Maybe you already have the whole course planned out in minute detail. In any event, here is what has helped me.

If you’re planning a photography-specific road trip, plan your route across the locations you want to picture.

This might seem obvious, but it’s surprising how many people waste so much time seeing places which they did not particularly wish to picture that they missed the places they did.

I have been guilty of this. I do insane amounts of study that I want to add to my portfolio that I have the time to see anything else.

Spend some substantial time researching photo locations and save them into a folder or gallery somewhere. I use a combination of websites and apps to explore and program my road excursion photography.

Pinterest is very good for exploring locations as well as road trip routes. Flickr and 500px are also useful as you save them into a gallery to refer back to afterward and can discover excellent photos of locations you want to picture.

The tool I’ve found most useful for planning my road trip routes and photograph places is My Maps. It is a service that uses its Maps information and lets you plan and plot everything and anything.

I use it to plot my route, campgrounds, points of interest, photo places, cafes, lifts, etc.. It pulls just about any information that is available in Google Maps, and also you can add anything that isn’t available already.

You can also update and add to it as you go thanks to the capability to sync with the mobile app.

Why You Will Need Access to Electricity

If there is one thing photographers can not live without on the road, it’s electricity. Everything from cameras and notebooks to phones and drones needs power and lots of it.

Luckily, if you have a vehicle, you have a source of electricity wherever you move, but it might be inadequate. I have frequently survived road trips using a couple of 12v sockets to control cameras and my apparatus, but sometimes that is not enough.

If you’re staying in locations with a trusted supply of power and you can control everything every night, the sockets in your vehicle might be all you want.

If you’re camping or living out of a camper van you’ll need to come up with a reliable strategy, however. Nothing will destroy your road trip quicker than batteries.

I love to utilize a dual battery system. This indicates you have you and the vehicle to run for charging devices. Solar getting more affordable and is a great alternative. A 12v inverter will let you plug appliances that are regular such as notebooks in and control them off your car battery.

If you’re traveling at a camper van or even a vehicle specifically set up for road trips, it may already be well ready for charging devices.

Whatever system you choose, check it works until you hit the road. Also, be certain to have enough outlets to charge everything. Needing to determine which device needs charging more urgently is unbelievably frustrating. Always take a power bank too.

How to Stay Connected

You might be one of those men and women who can travel without being on the world wide web, but I’m not. At least not all the time. I need the internet when I am on a protracted road trip.

No matter how well I’ve proposed it, there are always things I want to study or lookup. Whether it’s checking the weather forecast or moon periods, or locating the most effective java or the nearest gas station, there are some things which are much easier with a net.

If you’re staying in paid accommodation, there’ll likely be WiFi accessible. Nowadays Otherwise free, it can almost always be purchased. Though limited, it will be fine while on the street.

The ideal option if you’re living out of your automobile is a local sim card with the information contained. It’s very good value for money, but it will give you a bit of communication with the external world, and allow you to locate exactly what you want.

At a pinch, lots of cafes and fast food outlets provide free WiFi, so watch out if you are driving through more populated locations.

Also Read: Tips When Taking Photos While Traveling

The Photos

If you are arranging a photography-specific road excursion, there are a few more things to consider.

Why You Should Be as Specific About Location as Potential

I said in the prior section I prefer to plan my route around the locations that I would like to picture. It’s well worth getting far more special with your photograph planning.

Don’t just write down the name of this location, think about the shots you want.

  • What time of day will provide the best light?
  • How long can it take to get there from wherever you are staying?
  • What time will the crowds arrive?
  • Are there any other places close by that could provide some good shots to increase your time?

You will not be the first person to photograph the places you’ll be viewing, but you’ll be the first to photograph it your way. There is nothing wrong with getting the shots but try something different.

Think of how you could examine the place from another standpoint. A lens that is longer may give an exceptional spin. Coming back in the middle of the night for astrophotography is an alternative.

My favorite tool for planning photography is Photopills. I can not imagine attempting to plan landscape photos without it. It’s like a Swiss-Army knife for most photographers.

It supplies you with insane amounts of information that will help you plan photos down to the second. And it features information on the sun, moon, and stars, in addition to maps and tools for calculating exposure times and time-lapses.

How to Back Up Your Pictures

Backing up your photos is not more important than when you’re on the street. The odds that you could eliminate everything is considerably higher than when you are home.

Controls and laptops are replaceable, but the photos are not. You want a solid backup system.

The fantastic thing is that a backup system does not have to be expensive to be strong. I have two copies of my hard drive and all my pictures. And I carry enough memory cards so that I do not need to delete anything for the whole trip off them.

I copy my photos on my notebook every day so that I instantly have two duplicates. And I also copy my laptop to an external hard disk every day or two.

Whenever I leave my car, whether I will take a location or going to have coffee, I take my memory cards and my external hard disk with me. They’re light and small so that I don’t even notice they are in my tote. That way, I could lose everything out of my car but have copies of my photographs.

Tell the Whole Story

Road trips give an incredible chance to capture a good deal of photos in a relatively short time. You can come home from a road trip with keepers than you’d be able to capture in two the time.

The risk is that it’s simple to focus so much on the locations that you are photographing that you neglect to enjoy and catch the travel too.

Do not make the mistake of coming home by an epic road trip without any photos from the street. Document the mundane tasks that seem dull. You’ll be pleased you did once you look back on them and remember just how much fun you had.

Should you capture the road trip in its entirety, your photographs will inform more of a story. Check out our article. You can show only your photos if you prefer, but you’re going to all be thankful for them, particularly as your memories fade.

About The Author