Why A Road Trip Will Make You a Better Photographer

Who doesn’t love a road trip? Throw in your passion for photography and what an amazing time you’ll have.

Join me as I describe all the reasons a road trip will make you a better photographer.

We all want to improve our photography, right? Even the most experienced I’m sure have areas that they can improve on. So how do you keep growing and improving? How do you get out of your comfort zone? Let me explain how I think a photography road trip can help you do just that and grow as a photographer. But first, let me explain what prompted me to take a road trip in first place.

When it comes to photography your location can make a big difference. Obviously, there are famous destinations in nearly every corner of the world where you can see amazing images from some amazing photographers. Sure, some of these destinations are over visited, over-saturated on Instagram, and maybe even getting a little boring for your viewers.

One image comes to mind for me. When I was first starting out I loved seeing these images of Mount Rainier with a lake in the foreground reflecting all its beauty. I thought this was amazing, and still do! So I did my research (it wasn’t tough to find) and set out to get one of these pics in my portfolio. Once I got it I was very happy with how it turned out. I thought this was the image that will make me a real photographer. But, as I soon discovered my picture wasn’t much different from the literal thousands that were taken there before me. This one image and the “disappointment” of the reaction was one of the reasons why I decided to just jump in the car and hit the road in search of new destinations.

My take on Reflection Lake at Mount Rainier.

Okay, but why a photography road trip? How will a road trip make you a better photographer? Let me break it down.

New Locations! I can’t think of a better way to get inspired by just jumping in your car and discovering some new place off the beaten path. You may find a hidden lake, waterfall, or a gem of a lone tree in a field. Your photography juices will be flowing trust me!

Meet new people. Often times when we get out of our comfort zone we end up stumbling across some interesting people. Maybe they are asking you about your camera or gear. Often times they tell you about their friend who’s a photographer and turn you on to a new location that you may not have been aware of in that area. Then even sometimes you pull some willing participant into your photos during an amazing sunset. Get out there and talk to people is what I’m saying.

I met this couple walking in the water on a very cold and windy day at the beach. I approached them and they loved the idea of taking some pics. I sent them the edits the next day and they loved them!

Clear you head. Now I’m not encouraging you to go solo on your trip. But, if you are able to it does also allow you to focus 100% on your photography. Also, you can take your time waiting for just the right light. Sometimes this can take hours! With your friends or family coming along you often don’t want to inconvenience them or make them wait, so you rush your process and take what you can get. Additionally, alone time can help you decompress from the stress of daily life. I find as an introvert I recover my energy from the alone time where I’m able to clear my head. Give it a try if you can.

One of the ways I was able to clear my head was spending alone time on the beach.

Spend time with your gear. This could be the most important part of a road trip. You can take your time and really put your gear to the test. Maybe you have a new lens you haven’t really had a chance to try. Maybe you are a newer photographer like me and really want to put a new skill to the test. I know my first road trip I brought my new Fujifilm x-t4 out for the first real trip. It allowed me to really test it out and I even experimented taking some self portraits at sunset. Plus I was able to try my new Fuji 55-200 lens. I learned so much on this trip. So take your time and learn your gear! See all my gear listed here on my website.

Here I am testing out taking a self-portrait at Cape Disappointment North head lighthouse. Can you see me?

When you get back from your trip you’ll have tons of new photos to cull through and edit and probably a lot of stories to tell also. You’ll forever remember what worked, what didn’t, and how you might do things differently next time.

Here are a few more images from my first photography road trip.

I arrived just in time at the Pacific Ocean to watch the sunset.

The power of these waves crashing along the rocks was amazing to watch.

Explore · Take a Picture · Tell a Story

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Published by Paul Marcoe Photography

Explore · Take a Picture · Tell a Story ~ Paul Marcoe is a landscape photographer from Washington State and his gallery can be found at paulmarcoe.com. All images ©Paul Marcoe.

One thought on “Why A Road Trip Will Make You a Better Photographer

  1. I agree! For me, taking most photos on my phone, it frees me up to be completely spontaneous. Often I find something unexpected and beautiful when I am not looking for it, perhaps in the every day, along a back road on the way to something else.

    Liked by 1 person

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