Photography from a train

Everybody loves to travel and it’s never a surprise to see people often visiting new places or simply going back to their roots. Many great travellers like Ibn Batuta travelled extensively on primeval modes of transport. They often stressed that travel is about the journey, not the destination. Back in those days, journeys would surely be fascinating and yet extremely testing. Things have surely changed since those times and we have the luxuries of travelling by trains and airplanes! Of all the modern modes of travel, train journeys offer the most wholesome experience of the journey. If you ask me, photography from a train is tricky, but here are some tips that can make you a pro:

Photography from a train

1. Get a good spot

On the train, getting a good spot is crucial. Try finding a clear window with lesser grills and enough space for your lens to peek out safely.

2. Anticipate

Since you’re moving at a fairly decent speed, a fair bit of anticipation is required to frame and capture images. If your train is about to turn away from your subject, you’ve got to be quick and take the shots. Sometimes it may involve spotting gaps in the foliage and releasing the shutter perfectly in between those moments of clear space.

3. Shutter Speed and Lenses

Your shutter speeds have to account for the train’s motion. If you are looking to capture images with a slight blur, try using a slightly slower shutter speed of about 1/60- 1/80s. For crisp and life like images, use a higher shutter speeds of 1/200 and above. Make sure that you compensate the aperture for the shutter speed.

There isn’t much scope for wide-angle photos when you’re shooting scenes outside a train. Look to carry lenses over 70mm to capture some stunning landscapes.

4. Shoot in RAW

It would surely be difficult to get the lighting perfect at all times. Expect to capture some over exposed and some under exposed images. Shooting in RAW helps you capture all the data in your frame without compressing details. This makes the files heavier but it also gives you the liberty to edit the shadows, mids and highlights with better results.

5. Practice caution

Perch yourself on a good seat, that allows you to have a clear view outside. While you are shooting, keep a watch for flying debris as it could damage your camera. Do not put your hand out of the window; be patient and frame the shot safely.

Photography from a train should now be simple with these tips & a keen eye.

About Chaitanya Shah

Digital Strategist | Aspiring Entrepreneur |Founder -
  • I enjoy shooting from trains, trying to capture the motion. The results can be frustrating but at times quite interesting.

    • travelingcuriously

      Yup! It’s fun especially on long journeys.