Photography Tips for Your Trip

 Michele WestmorlandWant to take that perfect photo on your next trip? Renowned photographer Michele Westmorland shares her tips for capturing those memorable images.

1.  Ask permission when photographing people.

Respect will get you a long way when photographing people in foreign lands. Engaging a person and getting their approval is the cornerstone of cultural photography. Of course, with large crowds, that is not always possible, but when singling one person out,  just ask or move on.

2.  Pack light and review equipment needs.

Review all your equipment needs and make a list. Not only will this ensure you don’t forget any important gadgets but it will also help you to be selective and abide by airline weight restrictions.

3.  Lenses

I tend to select my lenses based on weight and needs. A wide-angle zoom lens such as a Canon 16-35 will provide the capability of photographing landscapes and large groups of people. A medium zoom, such as a 24–70mm, will give you nice portrait photos or detail shots. Then to finish, a telephoto zoom will provide the best results for wildlife, such as birds.

4.   Details

It’s easy to just focus on capturing the “big picture” but don’t forget to get the details. When taking portraits, focusing on interesting elements such as the hands, an interesting piece of clothing or jewelry or a musical instrument being played.

5.    Circular Polarizer

I never leave home without mine. A polarizer allows those rich forest images or puffy clouds to really pop.

6.   Back-Up Those Images

Don’t rely on just your laptop or viewing device—I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard about people losing their precious images from device failure. Small portable drives are inexpensive and can give you peace of mind that you will get all of your images home safely.

7.  Why RAW 

If your camera has the ability to shoot in RAW format—use it! RAW format this is like having a negative of your image—it allows you to post-process the images the way you saw the scene through the lens. JPEGs take up less space but they compress the image, limiting your post-processing options.

8.   Know Your Camera

Make sure you understand your camera. I am always happy to help sort out cameras but with so many cameras on the market it’s impossible to know the details of all of them. If you do not know the ins and outs of your camera, bring or download the manual—it will come in handy.

Experience Papua New Guinea with Michele this June on our “Through The Lens” small group trip. Michele Westmorland, a veteran of dozens of trips to Papua New Guinea with deep local connections, will facilitate wonderful cultural interactions and provide expert technical advice.This is travel as artistic endeavor, a deep immersion in the sound, shape and color of the world’s most kaleidoscopic land.

Asia Transpacific Journeys’ 2010 Client Photo Contest Winners

Our clients crossed time zones, date lines, and oceans to experience the farthest reaches of  Asia—where many found a fabulous photo opportunity around every corner. We asked our travelers to submit photos of their travels to Asia.

We started with 216 beautiful entries and our staff narrowed it down to 50 semi-finalists. Then Asia Transpacific Journeys Founder & President, Marilyn Downing Staff, selected the first, second and third place winners of our 2nd Annual Client Photo Contest.

Following are the winning entries and Marilyn’s commentary on the photos.

1st place, Train Station Vendor, India © Dimitra Stasinopoulou

“Captures the optimism of this young train station vendor and the magical light of India. A lovely environmental portrait.”

2nd place, Rice Planting near Hue, Vietnam © Joseph Lambert

“Beautiful composition. The millennia-old rhythm of women planting rice–the essence of life in Asia.”

3rd place, Angkor Wat, Cambodia © Gene Hollander

“Interesting, edgy and a foray into using technology as a portal into another way to see our world.”

This year we also presented a People’s Choice Award, and held the voting on our Asia Transpacific Journeys Facebook page. Our fans and travelers cast their votes, selecting Bob Fink’s photo of two girls in Laos as the People’s Choice winner.


Congratulations to our winners and thank you to all who participated. These photos truly define a Journey Beyond the Ordinary™.