Tips for Shooting a Travel Video

From choosing a format to shooting with an iPhone, learn how you can make a brag-worthy travel video.

August 15, 2018

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Trevor Holmes


Whether you’re going to a conference in a new city, visiting a customer or client, or just traveling for work, there’s always a good reason to document your journey with video. One of the best things about travel videos is that they follow a natural arc — you’re heading somewhere to do something. Travel videos also provide the refine your on-the-go video making skills and experiment with new approaches. So, with all of this in mind, let’s roll into some tips for shooting a travel video!

Pick a platform

This is a super important, but often overlooked step when it comes to making travel videos — start with a plan! Where will this video live? On your website or on one of your social media channels? Picking a video format and platform you’re posting to before you start can relieve you of some major headaches later on. Afterall, you may even shoot your video entirely differently depending on where it lives — you might shoot vertically for Instagram, square for Facebook, or horizontal for your website.

Take a minute before you get started to decide which channel or audience is right for this content. This takes a lot of the guesswork out of things from day one. For example, on my cross-country road trip, I knew I wanted to post all the shots I got to Instagram Stories and IGTV, so I made sure to keep everything in the 9:16 vertical format.

Choose a camera

Now that you know what format you’ll be shooting in, it’s time to figure out what type of gear you should shoot with! When I first started preparing for my travel video, I went a little overboard at first. I packed all my cameras, lenses, microphones, tripods, SD cards … you know, the work. But, I quickly realized that all of this gear wasn’t really necessary, and actually raised the barrier for me to shoot video.

So, if you’re shooting a travel video, try to pick a camera you’re super comfortable with and that is quick and easy to use. Chances are, there are going to be moments throughout your trip that you’ll want to capture at a moment’s notice, and having a camera that you’re comfortable with, whether that’s a DSLR or an iPhone, will lower the barrier for you to start shooting.

Shooting on a phone

Awesome, it’s time to get started shooting your travel video! You’re going to want to use a video that’s durable, simple, and most importantly, ready to go at a moment’s notice. And what better phone to shoot video with than a trusty iPhone? The best parts about traveling are the spontaneous moments you experience throughout, and sometimes, if you have a clunky camera kicking around, you can miss those moments. A phone in your pocket helps you capture the entire journey!

Let’s dig into some helpful tips to keep in mind when shooting video with a phone:

  • Slow-mo is great for making your shots look more cinematic. Be careful not to over-do it though! Use slow-mo strategically and easily up the quality of your video with some cool looking shots.
  • Time-lapse mode is perfect for travel videos, especially when it comes to capturing your scenery. Taking off on an airplane? Watching a sunset? Let that camera roll. You can use this as b-roll later on in your edit!
  • Shooting video solo? Get yourself a Joby Gorillapod and a phone mount. They’re both pretty cheap and can act as a tripod when you don’t have anyone else to help you get the shot you need.

Shooting on a DSLR

Not a fan of the phone? Don’t sweat it! You can use a DSLR to shoot your travel video — remember, it’s all about what you’re most comfortable with. When I shot my cross-country video, I used the following setup:

  • A Canon M50 w/ 15–45mm lens
  • A Rode Video Micro
  • A Joby Gorilla Pod

I picked this set up because it was small, had a flip-out screen, had the ability to have an on-camera mic, and because the tripod was flexible for on-the-go shooting. This was perfect for setting up stationary shots anywhere and great for whenever I wanted to turn the camera around and do a quick narrative. Plus, it all fits into the small backpack I carried with me everywhere!


Does your DSLR have wifi? Use a remote app to monitor your shot if you’re far away from your camera.

Keep your lighting top of mind

When shooting a travel video, it’s super important to consider your lighting, just like you would in any other video. In this case, however, you’ll almost always rely on natural light for your shots, so try to keep your eye on the time.

Remember, you’ll get great footage when the sun is lower in the sky, so chase that sun! Be sure to check out an app called Magic Hour, which tells you when the next sunrise or sunset will be, and how long of a window you have for that perfect, golden light.

Use music strategically

Let’s face it, this is travel video, so the audio is probably going to be all over the place. From being in different environments to shooting on multiple devices, chances are you might not get great audio all the time — and that’s OK! Embrace this during your edit by relying on music to make the whole story come together.

Let your camera roll

On a plane? In a car? At a restaurant? Turn that camera on!

Part of what makes a travel video so engaging is highlighting the people who make the trip special. Even if that’s just you! So feature your travel buddies often — it’ll help make your story more authentic and human. And don’t be afraid to overshoot. You can always cut more from the final product, and you never know when something interesting is going to happen.

It’s travel time

There you have it! I hope these tips helped prepare you for your next travel video. Do you have any go-to tips or tricks when it comes to shooting video on the road? Share with us in the comments!

August 15, 2018

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Trevor Holmes


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