15 Mar A Charleston, South Carolina Travel Guide for Photographers
Every year, Ed and I take an adults-only couples’ trip with our best friends. We accidentally started this tradition with a quick weekend getaway to Nashville, but we’ve put more thought into it in the years that followed. This year was our fifth annual trip. We decided on Charleston for our destination, and Ed and I were so excited to finally get a chance to tour this city together.
Long-time readers of the blog will know that Savannah is our favorite city on the entire planet. Lots of friends told us that if we loved Savannah, then Charleston was a must. They are both low country, historic towns, rich in culture, food, and beauty. I knew I would want to remember every minute of this trip, so I made myself carry my camera everywhere we went. It’s so easy for me to say that it’s too big and heavy to carry, or my iPhone will be enough, but I always regret not having it. This time, I made a conscience effort to take a ton of photos!
A Charleston, South Carolina Travel Guide for Photographers
After we were home and I was going through all my photos, I found that I am not a travel or landscape photographer. There’s a reason I am a portrait photographer. I prefer telling stories that have people in them! But we did a few things to make sure I got a chance to flex that travel photography muscle. These are simple things that anyone, professional photographer or not, could do to make photos a priority for any trip.
1. We did not over-schedule our trip
Ed and I knew that we wanted to experience Charleston the same way we first experienced Savannah – by leaving the car parked and simply walking around being pulled in whichever direction caught our eye.
That’s not to say that we didn’t plan some things. We made dinner reservations for one night, booked a ghost tour for another, and picked a day to visit with Morgan, who lives just 2 hours from Charleston. But the days were mostly unscheduled. I wanted to take my camera and capture all the details of this beautiful city as we explored. I wanted the trip to be spontaneous and un-rushed. And of course, I wanted to come home with some wall-worthy photos.
2. We strayed from the beaten path
As I said, we didn’t do a whole lot of research before leaving for Charleston. A friend told us we needed to see Rainbow Row, so that was pretty much the only thing on our must-see list. I took the required photos of Rainbow Row, but then we wandered the neighboring streets and alleys. It turned out that most of my colorful, architectural photos came not from Rainbow Row itself, but from exploring the less crowded, lesser known streets.
The market takes up a lot of real estate in downtown Charleston, and we walk through it once. After seeing a gorgeous photo of a long white bridge, we asked the vendor where it was taken, and she told us about Magnolia Plantation and Gardens. It’s right outside the city, so we decided to take a few hours to go visit. I’m so glad we did! Magnolia Plantation was full of Spring blooms, Spanish moss, and history. Perfect for photos!
3. We packed a drone
Ed and I love taking the drone on our travels. We always try to follow the rules (no national parks, nowhere near airports or military fly zones, no areas with lots of people). For that reason, there aren’t a lot of places we can fly it. But we like to pack it anyway, just in case. Every day, we put it in the trunk of the car on the off-chance we could get to a more remote area.
While heading back to town from Folly Beach, we went over a bridge that crossed the marshland. To me, the marshland defines low country, and I think it is so beautiful. We found a place to pull over on the side of the road so that we could take the drone up for 5 minutes. As a result, and we were able to capture this iconic landscape from a whole new perspective!
Certainly, Charleston sure did capture our hearts, though not quite as tightly as Savannah. I can’t wait to get some of these images framed for our walls! I’m planning on doing a separate post outlining all the different spots we visited for great food and cocktails. This one is long enough already! In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this photographic tour of our trip to Charleston!
Read about our second couples’ trip to New Orleans (aka the time we forgot to pack our camera!)
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