Photography Tips, China

Be Patient. In China, Really Patient!

You are about to visit an ancient and beautiful land full of beauty, diversity, and history. Colorful festivals, boldly adorned buildings, and amazing mountains and rice terraces will take your breath away. A host of people, some tribal groups that you’ve heard off, will warmly greet you, offering amazing portaits within the landscape. This is China. And it’s natural beauty is hard to match.

Outdoor photography is all about patience, especially in China. If the perfect conditions don’t present themselves the first day. Wait it out. Adapt and circle round again.

At some landscape locations there can be many Chinese people. Photography in China has exploded. Some will literally look through your view finder, take photos of your back screen composition, not yielding an inch. Personal space doesn’t really exist. It’s best to just accept this, and be patient, smile and engage with people. I hope this doesn’t happen to you, but sometimes the perfect conditions may never arrive. Don’t blame the time of year, it just works out like that sometimes.

Scout Out The Area For The Best Photography!

Do your research.

If you are traveling to a remote part of the country, it might best to bring a local guide who speaks English. Locals will know the lay of the land and get you access to the best locations. But be careful, unless they are VERY experienced in guiding photographers, you’ll just end up at what Chinese people (and tourist) think is a ‘Good Photo’! The most important outdoor photography tip in China is to find the very best specialist photo guide you can afford. Photo-guides are unbelievably rare, but beware when you find one, it could be a ‘camera carrying guide’, they are becoming plentiful.

Bring A Tripod For The Best Outdoor Photography

Tripods are super lightweight these days. And they come in all shapes and sizes. But the best way to make the best of “bad light” situations (hint: there are no bad light situations, only inexperienced photographers) is with a tripod. With a tripod, you don’t have to worry about your camera shaking. You don’t have to worry about falling off that ledge while trying to look through your viewfinder either.

Outdoor Photography Is Your Number One Priority

You can’t take the perfect shot the first time. Maybe you will. But you won’t really know this until you’re back home and start working on your images in Lightroom. Just assume that any one of your photos will be the perfect shot, and keep making photography a priority in your trip. Even if you have to miss out on something fun. That’s the nature of outdoor photography if you really want to be serious about it. It takes dedication. When it’s still raining, you need to start hiking that mountain with a hope the weather will do something interesting. Get stuck in.

Don’t Forget to Add Humans for Scale

You will never be able to completely erase the human element from photography. Having something in your foreground can enhance outdoor photography. Sometimes a shepherd in the foreground of a massive mountain landscape can tell a story you would never get otherwise. Countless waterfalls a beautiful, but place a person in the scene and the scale and grandure of the place hits the viewer.


Getting out there and just shooting photos is the best thing you can do. Take as many photos as you can.

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