How to Shoot a Travel Video

On this interesting tutorial (part 1 in a 3 part series), Parker Walbeck from fulltimefilmmaker takes a look at some of the different aspects of shooting a travel video in a professional capacity.

Even if you are shooting a video just for fun on your vacation this video might give you some good tips but it is really intended for those who are planning to shoot a travel video in a more professional capacity – either as part of a production, for a vlog or to sell as a stock video.

Here are some of the  different steps and tips that Walbeck discusses in this very informative video:

  • Plan your time – sounds obvious, but Walbeck suggest that you make a very detailed timetable, hour by hour of all the time you plan on shooting/visiting this will help you maximize your precious time.
  •  Be intentional – this connects to the first point – plan what you shoot, be intentional about the content and shoot as much footage (intentional footage) that you can in the time you have. Walbeck gives an example of his recent Thailand trip where he shot 13 hours of video in 10 days and edited it into a single 3 min video (less than 1%), this might be a bit too much for many shooters to work with but you get the point shoot a lot and get the best of the best of what you shot.
  • Composition – know what your dominant subject is and make sure it is the focus of your shot. Eliminate distracting elements that do not need to be in the shot (either shoot from a different angle, a different lens or wait that there won’t be people/tourists in your shot that you don’t want).
  • The right lens – choosing the right lens is essential. For travel videography wide angle lenses (fast zooms in particular) are especially handy (24-70mm and 16-35mm are good examples but there are others of course). If you are shouting not only landscapes but people as well you might want a fast prime telephoto such as an 85mm f/1.4/1.8 and Walbeck also finds a zoom-telephoto like the 70-200mm f/2.8 helpful in some situations.
  • Lighting – working with natural light is key – you will need to learn how to shoot with different types of natural light (and during different times of the day). Sunrise and sunsets are great but you need to be able to shoot all through the day (so use good polarizers). You can shoot the same location several times at different hours and choose the best look (if you have the time of course).
  • Settings – you need to know how to perfectly dial your settings to get the right exposure, focus, and colors. In general, remember that it is easier to recover underexposure than overexposure so it is better to slightly underexpose than risk overexposure. When shooting landscapes higher apertures (f/8-f/22) is a good rule of thumb and shallower depth of field could be more preferable when shooting tighter subjects.

Walbeck does cover more (including movement, directing, storytelling and more) but that is only available in the two paid part of this series.

You can watch more HDSLR and video techniques on our dedicated HDSLR channel here on LensVid. You can check out more of Walbeck videos – here on LensVid as well.

Iddo Genuth
Iddo Genuth is the founder and chief editor of He has been a technology reporter working for international publications since the late 1990's and covering photography since 2009. Iddo is also a co-founder of a production company specializing in commercial food and product visual content.

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