We are pleased to announce that this week’s blog will feature a collaboration with (my dad) David Campli, the go-to guy at Campli Photography in Malvern, PA. David is a Philadelphia photographer who specializes in portraits, events, and corporate imaging. In his spare time he loves to make travel images for his family and friends to decorate their homes.

So, you’re headed off on your next adventure abroad and bound to make memories that last a lifetime. You aren’t really into blogging, you forgot your journal, and postcards…is snail mail even a thing anymore? There must be a way to document the trip that will stay with you forever. Well, grab your camera and get ready to shoot!  At TFT, we see photography as an integral part of travel. Students on our unique photo tours in Tuscany, Venice, and Paris are lucky enough to be led by experienced photographers who teach both technical and conceptual lessons for how and when to capture the perfect shot. You will be led down the winding alleyways of small town Tuscany and through the beautiful courtyards of Paris capturing the most iconic images that create an impressive portfolio.




You may want to bring all of your new gadgets, but as a traveler, you have to think compact. If you are a backpack person, this would be a great choice for camera gear. They are separated into compartments and are very balanced to carry . You will have enough room for a camera and a few lenses and extras. With regards to gear, keep it simple. Most times I find that a slightly wide lens is what I bring when I don’t want to carry anything other than the camera over my shoulder. I would suggest about 24mm to 28mm. If you are going to use a zoom lens, I like starting at 24mm wide and then whatever you have on the longer focal length is a bonus. One last thought for equipment would be a macro focusing lens for close ups.


Photo: TFT Staff on the Scotland & Ireland trip

For composing the best images of any scene there are a few simple steps that will go a long way. First, split your  viewfinder (or brain) into thirds. Imagine every image is cut into thirds, both horizontally, and vertically. Place the most important part of the image at any one of the center intersecting thirds and you instantly have a more attractive image. In addition, try not to put the horizon line in the center of the frame. Analyze the scene you are about to shoot and decide which is better: above the skyline or below the skyline? If its clouds you want to shoot, make sure that 2/3 of the image is sky, thus utilizing two rules, splitting the scene into thirds and never centering the horizon line. If the sun is setting over the water, choose the water or the sky as your main subject. You can only choose one main subject, but think fast before you miss it. Note in the picture to the left that the sheep atop Croagh Patrick is placed perfectly on the 1/3 intersecting line.


Photo: TFT Director of Operations Nic Emery in the Italian Dolomites

Next and very important is layering your image. When you look down the alleyway and see something interesting, try a shot showing the shadows of the street and the laundry hanging from the window, but also include the buildings going off into the distance behind the main focus. This is called layering. Starting with the foreground, mid, and background to show the depth of the image, like in this beautiful shot of the Italian Dolomites. Even better, combine layering with the rule of thirds, and you will have a masterpiece.


The street markets in Vietnam, from our Thailand, Cambodia & Vietnam trip

Add the local talent. Most of us are uneasy about asking a stranger to be in the photo, so here is how I handle it. If the person or people are already in the perfect spot, just go ahead and make the image. Don’t worry, they will tell you if they are not happy with you, and then you can apologize and move on with the image secured on your memory card. If they like you, it would be a great introduction for you to say hello and would you mind if I take a few more images of you. Just don’t say what most photographers would ask…”can I shoot you?”


Photo: TFT Director of Operations Nic Emery in Florence

In a nutshell, light and shadow dancing across any scene are what really make the great images we see in travel brochures and books. Waiting for the right time of day to make the image is so important. If you are planning an outing and have several stops to make in a day, do yourself a favor and look at a map, Google Earth or even an app that helps with sun tracking. You can learn when the sun will skim across the great Colosseum wall instead of hitting it straight on at high noon. This iconic shot of the Duomo in Florence from TFT’s Italy Photography trip is shot at the perfect time with an awesome shadow that brings you into the frame.


Lastly and most important in digital photography is backup and backup again. Try to bring enough cards for your whole trip, so you don’t have to recycle, then bring along a portable hard drive to store images on. Thirdly upload the images each day to drop box or any other online storage, so that when you get home everything is waiting for the editing process.


Don’t forget to enjoy the scenes while you are busy snapping away. Sometimes to capture the perfect picture, you just have to feel it! You are walking along and the perfect picture just jumps in front of you: by all means start shooting and ask questions later. If you are with a group, sometimes you just have to move a few feet away to find a less cluttered shot of the place you have been waiting your whole life to see. That is often the challenge, you want to photograph this great place but you want to just enjoy it too. So try to make yourself do both. Get the shots you want and then sit back and take it all in, so you can even remember what it smelled like years later.



Getting inspired? Travel For Teens offers two incredible photo tours for students aged 13-18 in France and Italy. All experience levels are welcome.

Paris Photography

Photo: The Eiffel Tower in Paris

Photo: The Eiffel Tower in Paris

The best of Paris awaits you and your lens. Wander through the Luxembourg Gardens, climb the dizzying heights of the Eiffel Tower for a panoramic view over the world’s most romantic city, and cruise down the Seine as the sun goes down over Paris. Each day, you will focus on mastering a different aspect of travel photography. Our approach is hands on, interactive, and FUN, and you will come away with an incredible portfolio of images that you produced in the City of Light.




Italy Photography: Tuscany & Venice

The Abbey of Sant'Antimo in Tuscany

The Abbey of Sant’Antimo in Tuscany

On the Italy Photography trip you will stay in the heart of Florence and take day trips around the Tuscan countryside, before going north to Venice to spend the last 3 days of the trip surrounded by the magical light of the Venetian Lagoon. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn the art of travel photography in some of the most beautiful locations on earth!