Improve Your Travel Photography: 10 Tips on How to Take Better Travel Photos

An image of a photo in Venice

Do you want to improve your travel photography? Love taking travel photos on your holiday but can’t seem to get that “perfect photo”?

Then you have come to the right place! Keep reading on to learn our favorite travel photography tips, to help capture those amazing memories and create better travel photos.

An image of a man taking travel phone photogrpahy

Some people collect souvenirs when they travel, and some prefer the photographic memories that last a lifetime! (If we’re honest, we love a mix of both!)

We know your time abroad is precious, and capturing those fantastic moments is more important than ever before!

Let us guide you through our travel photography tips on how to capture your moments on camera.

An image of the Taj Mahal

Travel photography can be anything. From landscape photography to architecture, to street photography to local culture, it’s what catches your eye to showcase your destination.

You will find what you love on your travel photography journey as you capture what takes your interest.

To up your skills, you can always take an online course learning about raw files, editing, drone photography, low light, shutter speed, etc. This will step up your photography skills, but don’t put pressure on yourself, just enjoy taking awesome travel photos to start with.

Don’t worry about what camera gear you haven’t got, it’s about getting out there and taking travel photos. This can be through phone photography, a disposable film camera, or whatever you currently use to capture photos.

Don’t get us wrong, it doesn’t happen overnight, but it’s a great starting point!

We think this quote sums it up perfectly:

“My life is shaped by the urgent need to wander and observe, and my camera is my passport.” Steve McCurry

In this blog, we give you the 10 best tips for improving your travel photography, helping you make incredible images. We look at equipment, composition, the time of day, and so much more.

Let’s dive into: Improve your Travel Photography: 10 Tips on How to Take Better Travel Photos.

1. Get Up Early and Stay Out Late

An image of sunrise, a woman taking travel photography

The best recipe for good travel photography starts with lighting. Good lighting is the key ingredient to taking great travel photos. Too much of it can ruin a photo and not enough, well, also ruins your photo. You have to find the balance. 

The best natural light is found at ‘golden hour’. This is the light first thing in the morning and last thing at night. This time of day has softer and warmer light as the sun is either setting or rising. It makes the light softer in photos, complementing what you’re trying to capture. 

Taking photos at the peak of the sun (usually around midday) will sometimes cause harsh lines and shadows on your photos. It will sometimes bleach the sky white and make it difficult when editing your travel photos later.

{Check out this beginners guide to using natural light in photography}

Of course, it can’t always be helped. If you are visiting a beautiful place at midday, snap away. You will thank yourself for capturing those wonderful memories later!

Travel photography tip:

Try taking your photos in the shade to block out the harsh lighting if you’re taking pictures in the midday sun.

Sunrises and sunsets also make for great travel photographs. With a pink and red sky, there is nothing better than your favorite landmark being bathed in color.

It also helps you escape the crowds and other photographers, really a win-win situation!

You know the saying: the early bird catches the worm!

2. The Rule of Thirds

An image of photography tips showing the rule of thirds on a mobile phone

When taking great travel photography, the rule of thirds is essential for a well-composed photo. Let’s dive into the rule of thirds and how it impacts your photos.

What is the rule of thirds?

The rule of thirds is a way of splitting your photograph into 9 sections using vertical and horizontal lines (your smartphone or LCD screen usually has a setting to show you this!).

Here is an example of what this looks like on a camera:

An image showing the rule of thirds on a camera

Place your subject, point of interest, or particular scene along one of the four intersecting lines.

This ensures your subject of interest is the focal point of the photo, making the image more balanced and natural. 

Studies have proved that the photo becomes more aesthetically pleasing to the eye when using this technique.

It’s okay to break this rule sometimes! It is actually encouraged when you’re going to chop off a key piece of the photo!

3. You Don’t Need the Latest Equipment

An image of iphone photography

Today, there is a camera for every type of photographer. If you have the budget to splurge on the latest technology, that’s amazing. However, you don’t need to purchase the latest camera gear to take great travel photos.

Using your iPhone or older film camera will still produce amazing stylized photos. Getting out there and just taking travel photos will kick start your passion and still record the amazing memories you have experienced.

{Check out his blog on how to take great phone photography}

4. Use the Foreground to Create Depth in your Travel Photos

An image of mountains

A great way to up your travel photography game is to take a photo with something in the foreground. This means you have an object in the front of the image and your point of interest in the background. This is here to create depth to the photo.  An example of this is the image above.

You can use things like a flower, river, interesting walls, or buildings in the foreground to create a 3-dimensional feel to your travel photos.

It helps draw the viewer’s gaze into the rest of the photo. It’s specifically good in landscape photos, e.g. a mountain range.

Get creative with this; try out with different angles, objects, and viewpoints. The more you snap, the closer you get to that perfect picture.

5. Carry a Small Tripod

An image of a go pro on a tripod

Carrying a tripod will seriously step up your game. Whether you’re using a mobile phone or camera, it will allow you to capture epic pictures with you actually in the photo!

Sometimes there is no one around to take a quick snap for you, having a tripod solves this issue. It also allows you to set up the shot so you fit perfectly in the frame. It gives a professional feel to your travel photography.

There is nothing worse than someone taking your picture and chopping part of your head off!

A tripod is an essential piece of camera equipment and will help you capture great shots of your travel destination.

6. Capture Movement

An image of travel photography capturing movement

Movement can give your pictures life, depth, and a deeper meaning. Having a shot of a busy street in NYC wouldn’t be the same without all the people, right?

Using movement can be great when taking images of animals, sports, and people. In our opinion, this will make a huge difference to your travel photography.

7. Find your Theme

An image of a man using a camera to take a photo

Find a style you love! It will help create consistency in your photos and allow people to get a feel for you and your personality through your beautiful photos.

Get creative! Experiment with different lighting, a new background, change your lenses, shoot close up or far away, focus on a color, or think about what you’re wearing.

Experimenting helps your travel photography grow, taking it to the next level.

8. Use Burst Mode for Animals

An image of elephants

Whether you’re on a safari, looking for polar bears in the Arctic, or you’re doing an amazing hike in the Amazon Rainforest, you want to get that perfect animal shot.

Here is a great tip on how to do just that: Burst mode!

Whether you’re using a smartphone (most smartphones now have the burst mode feature) or a camera, turn on this setting when capturing movement.

Normally when capturing wildlife you have a short window to get the perfect shot. Burst mode will give you multiple photos of the animal you’re trying to capture, giving you a range of photos to choose from.

This really enhances your wildlife photography by ensuring you have that one great travel photo to share.

9. Add Humans to Your Photos

An image of a man

Getting comfortable asking people if you can take their picture is hard, but, trust us, it’s so worth it.

People show emotion and tell the story of their home. This comes across in photos, allowing you to authentically capture your destination.

Without the “human element” you can sometimes miss the real essence of the culture that you’re exploring. In our opinion, this is one of the best tips to quickly level up your photos.

When asking people for photos, you don’t always have to speak the local language. A smile and a point to your camera can be all it takes for you to snap the perfect shot.

Remember to respect people’s answers, and if it’s a “no”, then simply move on to the next.

10. Take More Photos than You Need!

An image of travel photopraphy using a phone

This is our final and favorite tip! Get snap happy and take as many photos as you can. Don’t expect the first photo to be perfect, because it probably won’t be.

But the more travel photos you take, the better you get at it! Have fun and find your passion within travel photography.

Overall, enjoy capturing those fantastic vacations on camera so you can relive them all over again when you get back home!

We hope you loved the above tips on travel photography and you’re inspired to get your camera ready for your next vacation. You’ll soon be on your way to becoming a great photographer. Happy snapping!

{Check out our upcoming trips}

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