Whether you are planning that bucket list trip or just a quick getaway, here’s my tips how to take better travel photos.
Lighting is Key
Light is one of the most important elements of photography and you should try to take advantage of natural lighting whenever you can in travel photography. The light is usually at golden & blue hour when the sun is low in the sky. Although it’s sometimes hard when traveling at different locations when you don’t always control your schedule, you should try and take your photos in the early morning or an hour before the sun sets.
To find out when the golden or blue hour is in your location I recommend the Golden Hour App.
Bonus Tip: If you’re in a mountain or tropical forest area get to the location you want to photograph shortly before the golden or blue hour because the sun sets quickly and the great light won’t last for long!
Play With Reflections
There are many different surfaces that you can use to capture reflections. Keep and eye out for things that you can use to capture reflections. Some good ones are swimming pools at your hotel, a lake or even a puddle. When you are out and about on your travels if you start looking, you will see reflections almost everywhere.
Bonus Tip: A small puddle can also be a really effective way to photograph a reflection. Crouch down from a low angle and see what composition you can find.
Use the Rule of Thirds
The rule of thirds is a “rule of thumb” or guideline which applies to the process of composing a photograph. Basically, what you want to do is photograph your subject off-center. The best way to visualize this is to divide your framing into 3 sections (left, center & right), and put the main subject of your photo in either the left or right section.
Bonus Tip: Check your camera to see if there is an option to turn on “Grid Lines” in the settings. Turning this feature “on” will put a “grid” outline on your cameras viewfinder which will help with composing your images to follow the rule of thirds.
Beat the Tourists
One of the most annoying things when you are visiting an amazing location is when it’s overrun with tourists. The trick to get good photographs at popular tourist spots is to go before the crowds show up. If there is a location that you really want to photograph, get up extra early and there is a good chance that you’ll beat the crowds.
Bonus Tip: If you can’t “beat the tourists” try to work them into your composition. Instead of taking your photograph from the original spot you wanted to you can also try finding a different view from another angle which will look better with people in it.
Get Up High
Almost everything looks better from above! Try to take your vacation photographs from higher elevations. You could hike up a hill to take a picture from a higher vantage point of a nearby beach or find a viewing platform on a city skyscraper.
Bonus Tip: If you find yourself up high overlooking something spectacular try taking a panorama photo!
Get Down Low
Don’t be afraid to get your clothes dirty! You could just stand and take the same old boring snapshot or work a bit more and look for different angles you can take photographs from. Don’t be afraid to get down low when taking your images!
Bonus Tip: If your camera has a tilting screen on the back use it to compose your image. You won’t need to lay right on the ground to take low photographs.
Get Up Close
Don’t be afraid to get close to your subject! Filling your frame with an interesting subject is a great way to make your photos stand out.
Not all vacation photos need to be taken looking straight ahead. Sometimes you just need to look up to find something interesting to photograph.
Frame Your Photographs
“Framing” is a photographic technique of drawing attention to your subject by blocking other parts of the image with something in the scene. Try to work in natural frames into your vacation photos to help add additional context to the location you are visiting. Framing can help create interest in your photographs and you can add frames by taking pictures through a doorway, pulled back curtains, trees, fences, tunnels or archways for example.
Look For Colours
Bright colours can really make your vacation photos pop! Keep an eye out for things that you see on vacation that really stand out in their surroundings and shoot away!
Bonus Tip: If you are on vacation and taking pictures at the beach or resort pool make sure the umbrellas are up. An open umbrella looks much more inviting in your photograph than one that is closed.
Thanks to Jason for this tip!
Tell Your Vacation Story
When you are on vacation sometimes it’s fun to rub it in to your friends stuck back at home a bit on social media about the awesome vacation you are having. Don’t be afraid to take a photo of something random that you are doing while away. These photos don’t have to be perfect and help give some more personality to your images.
Get In Front Of The Camera
Most photographers are guilty of this. We spend all our time behind the camera snapping pics and rarely get in front of it. When you are on vacation make sure you change things up and have a travel companion or local take a few pictures of you on your travels.
Bonus Tip: If you are traveling with group tour ask for peoples email addresses. When you get home send them a few of your best vacation pictures but also ask them to send some of theirs to you too. They might have got a good shot of you when you didn’t even know it.
Taking great vacation photos always requires proper planning. Before you get to your destination do some research on travel websites, Instagram and local guidebooks to find some to the best locations for photographs in the areas you are visiting.
Don’t Plan Ahead
Not everything on vacation needs to be planned. Make sure that you are open to new experiences and go with the flow. Decide to take an unplanned tour at the last minute or get in a cab at your hotel or resort and ask the driver to take you on a tour of their favourite local spots. You never know what you might be able to photograph!
Edit Your Photos
Use a photo editing app to help make your vacation photos pop! My personal favorite is Adobe Lightroom but you can use the editing software of your choice. Just be sure to not over-do it with filters.
Bonus Tip: While on vacation check out these Top 4 Smartphone Photography Apps which will allow you to edit your vacation photos on your mobile phone while you are away.
There you have it! My top tips on how to take better travel photos. If you have any travel photo tips to share I’d love to hear in the comments.
If you liked this article please share it with the buttons below!