Contributor Conversations: An expert traveler shares their best travel photography tips

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True to her online moniker, Perfect Lazybones, travel photographer Tatiana Rysh specializes in documenting authentic, carefree moments of some of the most tourist-laden spots around the globe.

Ancient Buddhist Temples of Bagan Kingdom at sunrise. Myanmar (B

We interviewed the seasoned adventurer about some of her best travel photography tips and experiences, and find out what it takes to capture breathtaking images of the most exotic places in the world.

01. Fulfill your dreams

Tatiana’s first exposure to photography came from her father who was an amateur photographer.

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“We always had cameras and photo equipment in our family,” she says. “I helped him develop film and print pictures. With the advent of digital technology, that process became much easier.”

As a child, however, Tatiana didn’t think of photography as a career and, instead, had much loftier ambitions.

“At first, I wanted to be the captain of a pirate ship, and then a spaceship,” she shares. “Unfortunately, our childhood desires are rarely realized. I had to get a completely different education, and for many years, my dreams and cameras laid idle."

Buddhas statues and religious carving in Kaw Goon cave. Hpa-An,

Despite her changing aspirations, her constant desire to travel remained. “From early childhood, I dreamed of traveling," she says, “I knew that someday I would leave work to travel.” Now, the Ukrainian photographer gets to fly all over the world, fulfilling her dreams through photography.

02. Research everything about your destination

Tatiana always starts by planing each trip meticulously; basing her itinerary on what she plans to shoot.

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Tatiana: The sun lit up the Buddhist monastery in the Himalayan mountains. Height: 4500 meters.

“There is always a lot of planning involved. Sunrises, sunsets, trips to certain areas for specific animals..." she shares. “It is also important not to forget about the seasons. I imagine beforehand the effects of the rainy season or picture when the sky looks best in a particular region."

Apart from factoring in the seasons, she also considers the cultural aspect of the countries she visits.

"I think about features of the everyday life of a place,” she says, "for example, daily rituals and customs, seasons of agricultural work, like planting and harvesting rice or extracting salt.”

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Tatiana: Myanmar (Burma) near Inle lake. The boy is on a buffalo. Every day at one time, people lead water buffaloes to swim to a small lake in the hills.

She also acknowledges state and religious holidays as particularly crucial variables. “They can play a positive role,” she says, “for example, a religious holiday when shooting a temple. But there's also the negative, such as the lack of regular transport or closed enterprises during a state holiday.” She suggests avoiding places with religious and political conflicts as well as those with a high risk for health concerns.

In short: doing extensive research on your intended shoot location is a must. Remember that relying on online data alone can be misleading and even dangerous. “Information on the Internet can be greatly exaggerated,” she shares. “It is better to compare information from different sources, and to ask other travelers.”

03. Keep your eyes and ears open

Regardless of how much she plans, Tatiana admits that, sometimes, a good shot just can't be prepared for. Often, her photos are “spontaneous reactions to impressions.”

Burmese fisherman catching fish in traditional way. Inle lake, M

“You come to a place, walk around a lot, stop, look closely at details, and take a photo,” she admits.

Tatiana always keeps her eyes open for anything that adds value to her images. “I look for what surprises me and what I want to share. I think about what has commercial value for certain types of advertising, and look for subjects that might come in handy as small details for compositions or collages.” she says.

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Tatiana: Long-exposure photo with filters. The photo, in my opinion, looks like a picture and reflects the nature of the city: dynamic and bright.

She also emphasizes the importance of communication and learning how to behave around other people: “Remember that you are a guest in any country, so respect the locals.”

04. Be perpared for anything

As a travel photographer, Tatiana has had her fair share of misadventures during trips; from being robbed in Indonesia to getting a flat tire while riding a motorcycle in the Philippines.

Dramatic view of damaged and abandoned building

This is where practical precautions come in handy. Basic travel preparations such as having health insurance, packing comfortable shoes and clothes, and having access to emergency medication is all equally as important as the best camera techniques.

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“There are no special secrets," she admits. "These are tips known by every travel photographer." Apart from knowing how to work behind a camera, the best advice she has for travel photographers is to always be ready for any situation. And that entails being in good overall shape: physically, emotionally, and mentally.

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