Travel and photography go hand in hand so here are some ideas and travel photography tips to make your photos stand out from the rest! If you are wondering how to take good travel photos, or want to become a travel photographer or blogger, then read this guide! If you are already into travel photography, but want to know how to take better travel photos and improve your photography, then I hope you learn something from this post too!
I knew nothing when I first started and learned everything from Boyan and reading things online. If you have any questions feel free to pop them in the comments! Or message me on IG @solarpoweredblonde. I also mention drone photography, which I have a separate drone photography guide on if you are wanting to improve your drone photography skills.
If you aren’t travelling as much…
Then for those who aren’t travelling as much right now, I also have a home photoshoot ideas post and an indoor photography post! Then if you are feeling even more creative, I have a mirror photography post too! These rules apply to all kinds of photography, so for indoor and home photography too. If you aren’t travelling now, I hope you can soon, or like me that you will learn to appreciate your home town more! I now have an instagrammable places in London blog, as I have been out shooting lots, which I have never done before in London as I always wanted to escape!
Please note that this post may contain affiliate links and any sales made through these links will reward me a small commission – at no extra cost for you.
Use the ‘Rule of Thirds’ in your travel photography!
When I put this photography tip on my Instagram a lot of people hadn’t heard of it. I’ll try my best to explain as it is really a fundamental rule of any kind of photography! This will be one of the most valuable travel photography tips.
The ‘Rule of Thirds’ is all about the composition of your image, where things are within your photo.
Imagine your photo is chopped into 9 pieces. If you were taking a photo of a landscape for example, you might want there to be 2/3 of the image to be the sky and then the bottom 1/3 to be the ground. This also helps when positioning people in your image, place them on one of these imaginary lines and it really makes a difference! You want to place anything that you want the viewer to focus on, on these lines. Some cameras can even create these lines for you in a photo to help. I use a Canon 77D and it helps to use the focus points as a reference.
You can also achieve this in Lightroom
Otherwise, another tip is to do this in Lightroom. When you go to edit your photo and change the aspect, for example to 4×5 ready for Instagram. Then you will see these lines, and even if your subject isn’t on one of these lines, you can crop the image slightly to make sure they are! So don’t worry if things haven’t come out the way you expected, there are still things you can do even to fix older images!
Top Tip: If you split up your image in 9 sections, place your horizon along the bottom 3rd, so that the sky takes up the top 2/3 of your image.
Of course you don’t always have to use the rule of thirds but I think the more you get into photography, the more you will find yourself naturally doing this anyway!
Straighten your horizon!
Another one of my best travel photography tips! This is my biggest bug bear in photography, a wonky horizon! Some people like this, but I think it really makes a difference having a straight horizon. Even if this isn’t straight in the original shot, I will always straighten my horizon in Lightroom later on. I promise it will make a difference. The main aim is to get people to look at the main subject of your image. An uneven horizon may draw their eye to this instead of what you want them to focus on. It takes two seconds and it will really help make your photos look more professional.
Again, you can do this in Lightroom when changing the aspect of your shot, as then lines will appear and you will be able to line up the horizon with one of these lines.
Utilise leading lines
Leading lines in photography are designed to draw your eye to the subject of the photo, or the main focus point. Leading lines could be anything, from train tracks, to buildings or just a path. Although a path is also a photography technique that helps draw your eye to the horizon. Basically use your surroundings!
Leading lines can also help with where you could position your subject. You may want to position your subject at the end of some leading lines, to bring your eye straight to the subject.
It doesn’t have to be something man made even, a stream in front of a waterfall can be used as a leading line, to draw your eye to the waterfall and to make the waterfall look even more incredible in comparison to the small stream in front of it.
Focus on Framing in your travel photos
If you follow me on Instagram then you know how much I love a good framing! I am always trying to create depth in my images.
Rather than taking a photo of me stood in front of a church for example, I want to give more of a mood of the surroundings. Therefore I will use flowers, or anything else I can find around to frame the shot. The foreground will look blurry, and this is on purpose. I don’t want to focus on the foreground of flowers or leaves, but I want to convey that this church is in an area with pretty flowers, and also to add a pop of colour sometimes.
Personally I feel a good framing makes an image look more interesting, and draws you in more, rather than a more flat image with nothing in front. It is personal preference of course but I would love to see your photos with and without framing to see the difference.
If you are using a tripod..
This can also be hard when you are using a tripod, for example if you are a couple. This is when photoshop comes in handy, but it’s not easy! If you are ready to learn then go for it. It makes a difference and a lot of travel couples do this to help get a framing in their shots. I ask whoever is taking my photo to hold some flowers, if they are too low down, or just shoot from behind the flowers, so they are just in the bottom of the frame. Sometimes no amount of travel photography tips help and you need to turn to Photoshop! Luckily I’m no perfectionist!
Use a person to create a story/ depth
Landscape photography can of course be amazing without any subject.
Sometimes however its nice to add a person in to show the scale of something. It can also create more of a story in your image.
Having a person in your photo can really make a difference. I sometimes even just photograph random people from behind/ask them if they don’t mind being photographed. This gives more of a vibe of a place. When I photographed Columbia Road flower market in London I wanted lots of people in the shot as it is busy there. I wanted to convey this bustling vibe.
Of course sometimes you want the place to be empty so that your viewer is not distracted by the surrounding people, but sometimes it also works so don’t get put off if there are lots of people in your shot. I have had a few people even ending up posing in my photos when they know I am taking one.
Put the viewer in your subjects shoes
Using a person can also make the viewer feel as though they are there, and put themselves in the subjects shoes. I am much more inclined to look at photos with people in them. It makes a photo more personable and gives the image more emotion I feel. For travel photography I would recommend doing both. I would also always take photos without people in them of landscapes. When it comes to people purchasing your images for their wall at home, they will prefer them without you in it!
Contrast your outfit with the background to take your travel photos to the next level!
I spent too much time blending in! Your outfit can really make a difference in a photo! I would say always try and contrast with your background if you can. This allows you to really stand out in the image. If you are in Bali in a rice field, wear white if you can so that you are really visible! And try not to fall over as you won’t be wearing white anymore after that…!
In the Faroe Islands a lot of people buy orange or red raincoats so you can be seen! I wore a green coat and it wasn’t my best decision! Most travel bloggers you see will have planned out their outfits. These will be based on locations, weather, time of day. It takes a lot more planning than it looks to have great travel pictures. Sometimes even a few outfit changes a day but it can be well worth it.
This also applies to water shots!
This also applies to being in water! I had a pink swimsuit once, and I looked naked in the drone shots! Then I got a dark grey swimsuit and it really helps for photos to contrast against the sea. Especially in a drone shot, where you are much smaller as it is taken from further away. You want to at least be a colourful blob in the photo! Lots of travel girls wear long flow skirts and dresses to add more wow factor to images an I also did this in Madeira. It really makes it look even more impressive, standing on top of a mountain with the skirt flowing. Gives you a feel of the weather conditions and can create a story.
I wish I had read a travel photography tips for beginners post when I first started or watched some travel photography tutorials. Now there are a few photos that I think could have been so much better if I knew what I do now!!
Shoot at sunrise/sunset
There are some travel photographers that get up before sunrise everyday for the stunning photos! I agree that sunrise and sunset are amazing times of day to take photos. However, you don’t HAVE to ruin your holiday for amazing photos. If you can handle even just one sunrise I would say definitely do it!
One example is Mykonos, in the old town here it is completely different when all the shops open. You have to get here before that time to get these streets all to yourself. Then photos at the beach are also better at sunrise, before everyone arrives and when the light is softer.
The reason I say shoot at sunrise and sunset, apart from the people, is that the light at these times is much better. During the day the sun is very harsh and sometimes can over expose your photos.
However, beautiful sunny photos are also great for travel photographers. If you are a blogger and wanting to promote a destination, lovely sunny photos will make other people want to go to that place too! Boyan is definitely not a fan of getting up early morning. I do my best with sunset shots otherwise I don’t have many sunrise photos!
The time of day you photograph also affects the shadows in your photo. The best example of this is Kelingking beach in Nusa Penida, Bali. At times, the cliff totally overshadows the beach. Sunset really is the best time of day here to take photos as the sun is right in front of the beach. The best thing to do is to check the direction of the sun and where it will rise and set. Also Pinterest is a great place to find inspiration and to check what times of day work!
Last of the travel photography tips – Take your time/ don’t get embarrassed!
Just think, you might never come back here so go for it. Ignore the watchers and get the shot you want! Also, I have had some times during my travels where I said ‘I’ll come back tomorrow’. Guess what, once the wall I wanted a photo with in Marrakesh was being torn down when I got there the next day! Take your time and make sure the shot is just as you like it. Also don’t take too much time if you know what I mean!
Practical travel photography tips
Get a backpack clip!
One of the top tips I can give you is to get a backpack clip! One of the most annoying things is constantly wanting to take your camera out of your bag to take photos. Sometimes I have mine around my neck on a strap. This is also hard if you are walking or hiking. A backpack clip means that the camera won’t flap about and you can quickly release it when you are ready to use it. These are really secure and we haven’t had any issues using them so far.
BACK UP YOUR PHOTOS DAILY!
Even when you first start out, get an external hard drive. I didn’t have one for a while and had to put the photos on my phone and now I’m paying for it with crazy iCloud storage fees. You are better off starting properly and having all your images in one place. I then have all the edited images on my phone, but make sure you keep the RAW images on a hard drive. I would even say back up your photos in the middle of the day if you go home or back to your hotel. You never know what might happen and you could lose all of those images!
Try a Lacie hard drive. It is perfect for travel as it is ‘rugged’ so protects the internal storage more!
Shoot in RAW!
That’s my last tip of the day – shoot in RAW! If you are using Lightroom then RAW is the best option on your camera. However, the images are much larger, so this is when your iCloud storage won’t be enough!
I hope you enjoyed this post on travel photography tips and that you have some good travel photo ideas. Let me know if you have any other questions about the rule of thirds, composition, even camera settings! I hope you can all travel soon, otherwise start using these tips in your hometown. Get out and take some photos if you miss it! I really did, so getting on my bike in London and shooting sunrise at Tower Bridge felt amazing! Remember sunrise and sunset are amazing times to shoot but also not necessary, you can get lovely photos in the day time too!