25 Travel Photography Tips for Beginners to Take Travel Photos

by Global Viewpoint
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Looking to improve your travel photography? Want to learn how to take better travel photos? Just wait until you read these travel photography tips for beginners in 2023.

Travel photography is all about capturing the beauty and essence of the places you visit. It’s a great way to preserve memories, inspire wanderlust, and even make some money! Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned traveler, these tips to help you take your travel photography to the next level.

First of all, it’s important to understand the power of travel photography. Not only does it allow you to relive the amazing moments of your trip, but it also inspires others to explore the world. Seeing stunning shots of exotic locations and cultures can stir up a sense of adventure that’s hard to resist.

Travel photography also allows you to be creative and experiment with different angles, lighting, and composition. It’s a way to express your unique perspective and capture the essence of a place in a way that others may not have seen before.

But perhaps one of the best things about travel photography is the memories it creates. Each photo is a reminder of the sights, sounds, and experiences of your trip. They’re like little time capsules that you can revisit whenever you want. And as an added bonus, you can also make some money from your travel photography. Whether it’s selling prints, licensing your photos, or even getting hired as a travel photographer, the possibilities are endless.

As a travel blogger, I’ve spent much of the last 6 years on the road – partnering with brands and tourism boards and selling my travel photos. I got to this level without spending a dime on courses or other formal instruction. Here’s how you can too!

Whether you want to get into photography as a travel career or a hobby, here are my best travel photography tips for beginners to help you take better photos on your next trip.

Travel photography tips for beginners and other types of travelers
This article on beginner travel photography contains affiliate links, where I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

#1 travel photography tip in 2023

Before jumping into all the best travel photography tips for beginners, I first want to cover an important consideration that you should be aware of.

In 2023, the competition has become fierce amongst travel photographers. Not only are there more talented photographers than ever, but there’s also artificial intelligence (AI) that is making it easier to become an expert in the field.

To stand out in this crowded space, I highly recommend getting a unique camera with features that aren’t widely used yet. If you are using an iPhone or a typical point-and-shoot camera, it will be hard to compete with the millions of other people who are practicing travel photography. Therefore, I recommend getting one of the following cameras, which will give your photos an advantage to capture people’s attention and beat the social media algorithms:

Here are my favorite travel cameras right now:

Cheap: $Canon PowerShot SX620 HS
Mid: $$Sony Alpha a6400
Luxury: $$$Canon EOS R5
I took this photo of the fall foliage with my Canon R5 camera.
I took this photo of the fall foliage with my Canon R5 camera.

General travel photography tips for beginners

Here are some travel photography tips that will help you take your photos to the next level.

1. Composition is everything

If you want your travel photos to stand out, try playing around with the composition. Be sure to take photos at different heights, angles, and distances away from a subject.

Instead of just taking a photo while standing upright, try crouching or standing on top of something to get a better angle. Move left or right to see how the composition changes. It’s all about experimenting to see what looks best. Eventually, this will become second nature and you’ll know what to do in any situation.

Think about what your subject is and how you want it to appear. If your subject is a mountain, for example, you may want to take a wide angle shot or show another object in the foreground, like a rock or flower. This adds a feeling of depth to your landscape photography.

Using flowers in the foreground is one of the best travel photography tips.
Flowers in the foreground add depth to your landscape photography.
The Matterhorn is amazing on its own, but it helps using a prop in the foreground to make the view even more spectacular.
The Matterhorn is amazing on its own, but it helps using a prop in the foreground to make the view even more spectacular. As a photographer, you have the choice of focusing on the foreground (thus blurring the background), and vice versa. In this case, I wanted to make the Matterhorn the subject.

For landscape photos, I often use focal compression, a very easy and straightforward technique in photography. All you have to do is zoom in with your lens in order to make the background (i.e. mountains) appear larger than it actually is. Note: zooming in while you’re taking the shot is very different than just cropping the photo when you’re editing later on. I used this technique when visiting Valley of Fire.

Focal compression photography tips for beginners example
Focal compression, or using a zoom lens to compress the background of an image, is one of the best travel photography tips. If I hadn’t use focal compression when taking this photo, the background would have looked much smaller compared to the foreground.

2. Take advantage of natural light

Want to take the ultimate traveling photo? Use natural light to add depth and dimension to your images. And I mean, who wouldn’t want to make their shots look absolutely stunning just by utilizing what’s already around them? Here’s the deal:

Natural light is simply the light that comes from the sun, moon, and stars, and it’s some of the best light you’ll ever work with! It can be warm, soft, and gorgeous in the golden hour, or dramatic and moody during sunset and sunrise. And the best part? It’s free!

So, how can you make the most of it? Well, first of all, you want to try to shoot in the early morning or late afternoon when the light is soft and warm. This is when the sun is lower in the sky and casts beautiful, golden light that can make your photos pop. Additionally, you can use the light to add depth and dimension to your shots, whether you’re shooting landscapes, portraits, or street photography.

And here’s a little trick: if you’re taking a portrait and the sun is behind your subject, try positioning them so that the sun is just behind them or to the side. This will create a lovely, backlit effect that’ll add interest and make your subject stand out.

Natural light is your friend, and it can help you take your travel photography to the next level! Just be sure to make the most of it by shooting during the golden hour and using the light to add depth and dimension to your shots. Happy snapping!

Travel photography is easier when you have natural light to work with
Travel photography is easier when you have natural light to work with

3. Rule of Thirds

Want to take the perfect travel photo? Rule of thirds is key. This is a classic photography tip that will help enhance your travel photos and balance the composition. Here’s what you gotta do:

How rule of thirds works:

  1. Break down your image into thirds, vertically and horizontally, so you have 9 parts. (An LCD display on your camera can show you this).
  2. Place your subject or point of interest along one of the four intersecting lines. This allows your image to be more “balanced” and “natural” for the viewer. Studies prove that this frame is more aesthetically pleasing to the human eye.
  3. If you’re taking a portrait photo, the eyes of your subject are usually the most natural intersecting point.
  4. It’s perfectly fine (and encouraged) to break this rule sometimes, but you should have a reason to do so (i.e. you don’t want to cut out a beautiful part of the photo).

In addition to focusing on rule of thirds when you’re taking a photo, it’s also important to keep this in mind when you’re editing later on. Here are a couple examples of rule of thirds in my photos.

Lisbon, Portugal rule of thirds photography tip
I took this in Lisbon, Portugal. As you can see, the center of the funicular is positioned in the third of my photo. Hence the term “rule of thirds.”
Rule of thirds photography tips in Brisighella, Italy.
The rule of thirds allows the viewer to see the subject (me) alongside 2/3 of uninterrupted space of the ambiance (Brisighella, Italy). Note that one of the intersecting points touches my eye; this is usually one of the best positions.

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4. Human subjects add an important element to photos

Though I prefer to capture landscape photography, I’m becoming more and more receptive to taking photos of me and other people.

People enjoy living vicariously through human subjects in photos, as if they are being brought along on the journey. That’s why Murad Osmann’s “Follow Me To” photos made him a viral sensation.

In addition, taking a candid shot of a person is great way to add a feeling of authenticity to your travel photos.

Not only do human subjects create a sense of reality for the viewer, they also tell a story. My friend Gianluca Fazio, an Italian influencer, once told me that he takes a lot of photos “with him” rather than “of him.” This mindset really resonates with me, and I think perfectly reinforces the power and perspective that people bring to photos.

One of the best photography tips is the human element to photos.
A father and son, dressed in traditional attire, holding hands in Oman. It’s unclear who they are and where they’re going, but this image nevertheless gives viewers a glimpse of life in Oman, allowing them to draw their own stories from it.

5. Use action shots to up your travel photography

Using action shots refers to capturing moments in motion, and it’s a great way to add energy and excitement to your travel photography! Whether it’s a bustling street market, a lively local festival, or jumping into an ice bath, capturing movement can bring your photos to life.

To start, look for opportunities to capture action in your travels. This could be anything from people walking, riding bikes, dancing, or playing in the park. The key is to be aware of what’s happening around you and to be ready to press the shutter button when the action unfolds.

And here’s a pro tip: use a fast shutter speed to freeze the action and make sure your shots are sharp. This means you’ll need to adjust your camera settings accordingly, but it’s worth it for those once-in-a-lifetime moments!

But, don’t stop there! You can also try panning, where you follow the action with your camera while you take the shot, to create a sense of movement in the photo. This is a great way to convey a feeling of speed and excitement, and it adds an extra layer of interest to your shots.

So, to sum it up: using action shots is a fun and exciting way to add energy and life to your travel photography! Look for opportunities to capture movement, use a fast shutter speed for sharp shots, and try panning for added impact.

Action shots make travel photographs that much better
Action shots make travel photographs that much better

6. Create a feeling of depth to your photo

It’s always a good idea to create a sense of depth in your photos. Simply put, you want to make the image more three dimensional so the viewers feel like they are there. This is one of the best travel photography techniques out there.

There are many different ways to add depth to an image, but for the purposes of travel photography, let’s focus on landscape photography:

I recommend using a wide angle lens to capture a panoramic view, such as mountains and valleys. Then, you’ll want to use a small aperture (i.e. f/16) to keep the whole image (both the foreground and the background) sharp. Finally, to add depth to the image, add a person or object in the foreground, which gives the viewer an idea how far away the distant view is. Below is an example.

create a sense of depth travel photography tips
In addition to capturing wide landscapes, a wide-angle lens can also be helpful when you have tall objects like this rock. Note: If I were positioned more in the foreground, there would be even more depth to this photo.

7. Get to know your camera

You don’t need a fancy camera to be good at travel photography.

Sure, having a basic digital camera can limit your full potential, but having an expensive camera won’t automatically make your photos look amazing. You can look at my Instagram feed as proof. I didn’t start using my current camera, the Canon 5D Mark IV, until July 2019. I think my photos looked fine before then with a cheaper camera and an iPhone (I still got plenty of gigs before then).

The best thing you can do in travel photography is get comfortable with the composition and lighting of photos, and you’ll be 90% of the way there. Simultaneously, you should be learning your camera’s capabilities. The settings and functionalities can vary immensely between smartphones, point-and-shoot cameras, and DSLRs, so be sure to read the manual to understand what your camera can do.

As you progress in your travel photography, you may want to upgrade to a sophisticated DSLR camera or mirrorless camera. Mirrorless cameras are typically lighter, more compact, and faster for video. However, they usually come with access to fewer lenses/accessories. DSLRs, on the other hand, offer a selection of lenses, generally better viewfinders and battery life.

8. Get to know your lenses – an important travel photography tip for beginners

Based on your camera’s capabilities, you’ll want to have the right lenses to best capture the places you visit. For example, photo content you’ll gather on a trip to the Grand Canyon will be much different than that of a small village like Rothenburg ob der Tauber or street photography in NYC.

Having said that, beginners in travel photography don’t need to have more than just a standard zoom lens. This basic lens is very close to what the human eye sees, anyway. However, as your travel photography skills develop, consider getting other lenses, including:

  • Wide angle lens: used for capturing large subjects from a close distance (i.e. the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona)
  • Telephoto lens: used for capturing subjects that are far away, including wildlife and mountains in the distance.
  • Prime lens: used mainly for portraits and food photos.

One last thing here: don’t ever feel like you have to buy a new camera or lens to take great photos. I’ve had good luck with used and refurbished ones that you can buy for a fraction of the price. Don’t worry about having all the bells and whistles either. Instead, save your cash for cool experiences the destinations you visit. Production never beats story.

The Sagrada Familia is a great photo spot.
The Sagrada Familia is a colossal structure that requires a wide-angle lens to fully capture it.

9. Use reflections to your advantage

#9 on our list of travel photo tips is all about playing with reflections! And let me tell you, reflections can add a whole new level of magic to your travel photography.

Whether it’s a still pond, a shiny window, or a glassy mirror, reflections can add depth, symmetry, and interest to your travel photos. For example, if you’re photographing a beautiful building like a castle, try capturing its reflection in a nearby pond. This will not only double the amount of beauty in your shot, but it will also create a sense of symmetry that is pleasing to the eye.

And here’s a fun fact: reflections can also add a sense of mystery to your shots. If you’re photographing a busy street scene, try capturing the reflection in a store window. This will create a surreal and dreamy look that is sure to turn heads.

Another tip is to look for reflections in unusual places. For example, a shiny car hood, a metallic wall, or even a polished stone can create interesting and unexpected reflections. This is your chance to get creative and see the world in a new light!

To wrap it up: reflections are a fun and easy way to add depth, symmetry, and interest to your travel photos. Try capturing reflections in still waters, shiny surfaces, and unusual places for added impact.

Reflections added a nice element to this travel photo in Yosemite National Park.
Reflections added a nice element to this travel photo in Yosemite National Park.

10. Slow down the shutter speed to blur movement

Playing around with the shutter speed will allow you to photograph some very interesting effects. It’s one of the most important travel photography techniques out there, and here’s why.

A slow shutter speed is helpful for nighttime photography. In addition to capturing reflections, it’s also used for blurring movements, such as passing cars, raging waterfalls, and crowds of people walking. For example, if you’re taking photos of a city road at night with low light, a slow shutter speed will allow you to capture “light trails,” showing the headlights of vehicles passing by.

Another good opportunity to slow your shutter speed is at the beach. Below is a photo I took at Nubble Lighthouse in Maine, where I used a slow shutter speeder to make the water look smooth and serene. To make this effect even better, consider getting an ND Filter.

Slow shutter speed Nubble Lighthouse.
The slower the shutter speed, the more calm the water will appear. Conversely, a fast shutter speed will show the power of the wave battering against the rocks.

Would you like a Nubble Lighthouse print for your home? Check out my Etsy print shop!

Nubble Lighthouse Print on Etsy - Jon Miksis

11. Shoot your photos in manual mode – one of the most crucial travel photography tips for beginners

If you want to take the best travel photos, you should get comfortable shooting in manual mode, or at the very least, aperture priority mode. Even if you have a fancy expensive camera, you’ll find that auto mode isn’t perfect and you’re best off mastering ISO, shutter speed, and aperture. There are plenty of “how to” videos on YouTube that will give you a solid understanding of these elements.

As a beginner, this is generally what you need to know:

  • Adjusting ISO helps you account for different lighting situations.
  • Changing the shutter speed allows you to capture motion in different ways.
  • Adjusting aperture gives you control over the depth of field of your photos.

Below is the “Exposure Triangle,” which highlights the photography basics of aperture, shutter speed, and ISO:

Exposure Triangle showing Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO.
Exposure Triangle showing Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO.
Image source: https://www.exposureguide.com/

When you own a camera, you want to have full control over the settings so you can account for different situations, lighting conditions, etc. Learn how to use white balance and other camera settings to your advantage. Sure, courses can help you learn this stuff, but I think there are enough free resources out there that will get you to a proficient level. Knowing how to shoot in manual mode is one of the most important travel photography techniques.

12. Take panoramic shots

Travel photography is all about capturing the big picture with panoramic shots! This type of shot is perfect for sweeping vistas, stunning cityscapes, and awe-inspiring landscapes. It’s a great way to show off the grandeur of your travels and to convey a sense of scale.

To take a panoramic shot, simply pan your camera slowly from left to right (or right to left) while keeping the camera level. Make sure to overlap each shot slightly to ensure a seamless final image. You can also use a tripod to keep your camera steady, especially if you’re shooting in low light.

Most modern smartphones and cameras have built-in panoramic modes, which make it easy to create stunning panoramic shots with just a few taps or clicks. However, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can also stitch together multiple shots in post-processing to create a larger panoramic image.

Panoramic shots are a great way to capture the beauty and vastness of the world around you. Whether you’re shooting a breathtaking mountain range, a bustling city skyline, or a serene beach, panoramic shots are sure to impress.

As such, panoramic shots are a fun and easy way to capture the big picture and show off the grandeur of your travels. Use your camera or smartphone’s built-in panoramic mode, or stitch together multiple shots in post-processing for even more impact.

Panoramic travel photo of Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland
Panoramic travel photo of Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland

13. Avoid camera shake

This travel photography tip may seem obvious, but even seasoned photographers can sometimes take blurry photos when they aren’t careful. Here’s how to avoid camera shake:

  • Use two hands; one around the body of the camera and the other around the lens.
  • Hold your camera close to your body for additional support.
  • Make sure your shutter speed is appropriate relative to the focal length of your lens. Generally, you should not shoot at a shutter speed that is slower than your focal length. Here’s a formula that you should follow: 1 / Focal Length (in mm) = Minimum Shutter Speed (in seconds). So if you’re using a 50mm lens, your shutter speed should be no lower than 1/50th of a second.
  • Use a tripod when you are shooting long exposure (i.e. night photography in the city).

Travel photography tips to know before your trip

14. Research what you want to see (and when you want to see it)

One of the most important yet underrated tips in travel photography is planning ahead. I’m all for wandering around without a plan, but in the world of photography, it really pays to be prepared.

Before getting to your destination, figure out what you want to see and when you want to see it. Reach out to friends and even photographers who have been there. Look up the weather. Research what time things open, how long it will take to get from point A-B, and how much time you should spend in each location. I always use Google My Maps to plot out where I want to visit and how to structure my day. Here’s a simple map I put together for my day trips from Bologna, Italy last fall:

Like most travelers, I use Instagram, Pinterest, blogs, and Google to help me plan my itineraries. These resources are also helpful for deciding on cool photo spots.

Once you create a rough guide of the points of interest you’ll want to visit, you can then visualize the compositions you’ll want to capture. The goal of your travel photography is to fit your style and niche to best tell your story.

15. Travel as light as possible (do it!)

Traveling light is a best practice for many reasons.

First and foremost, it helps you meet airline baggage allowances (which is a struggle even without camera equipment). In terms of travel photography, packing light gives you extra mobility, allowing you to cover lots of ground and reach vantage points without expending all your energy.

I’ve been in many situations where I haven’t given myself enough time to get from point A-Z, and I’ve had to run (sometimes even up hills and mountains) to make it to a viewpoint in time for sunrise/sunset.

Even just a matter of minutes can make a huge difference in your photos. So to help you prepare for these scenarios, just pack the essentials and don’t go crazy bringing camera equipment that you don’t need. For instance, some bulkier items like tripods don’t need to be brought wherever you go. I mainly use mine during sunrises and sunsets, low-light photography, and self-portraits. Click here to see what’s in my bag.

Travel photography tips to know during your trip

16. Wake up early and stay out late

This is the key to taking good travel photos.

During Golden Hour, the one-hour period after sunrise and before sunset, you’ll be able to capture the warmest tones of the day. I prefer taking all my photos during this timeframe, and rarely shoot during mid-day due to the harsh shadows.

Waking up early is one of the top photography tips for beginners.
It was definitely worth waking up for sunrise at the Grand Canyon.

Blue Hour is also a great time for travel photography, which occurs the hour after sunset and before sunrise. I recommend getting a tripod if you want to properly capture things like city lights, which are switched on after dark. Without a tripod, these low-light conditions will make your images look blurry.

In the Speicherstadt district of Hamburg, the lights are switched on 30 minutes after sunset. This is prime time for Blue Hour photography.
In the Speicherstadt district of Hamburg, the lights are switched on 30 minutes after sunset. This is prime time for Blue Hour photography.

I prefer sunrises over sunsets because there are less people around. As they say, the early bird catches the worm!

17. Always bring your camera with you

Unless you’re going out for a night on the town (where alcohol may or may not be involved), you should have a camera on you at all times.

During my journey as a travel photographer, I’ve found that the best photo opportunities often occur unexpectedly and without warning. From rare animal sightings to cool street performances, anything can happen while you’re traveling, so it pays to be prepared. Luck is always a part of the equation, so take advantage when unique stuff happens.

Wildlife photography, in particular, is something that you should be prepared to capture in an instant. Always remember to have your camera charged and ready to go when these special opportunities present themselves.

Having your camera on you at all times is one of the best travel photography tips
A few moments after sunset, I was planning to put away my camera. Thankfully before I did, this Bighorn sheep unexpectedly appeared from the brush and I snapped this photo just in the nick of time.

18. Don’t be afraid to get lost

I love getting lost when I’m traveling.

Sure, having a game plan is important, but don’t be afraid to venture off the beaten path every once in a while, too. Doing so often leads to fun and unexpected stories that you can share at parties later on. Haha!

Seeking out the lesser known hidden gems is also a great way to stand out from the crowd. Every visitor of Paris has seen the Eiffel Tower, but probably not the Rue Cler Street Market, for example.

Before “getting lost,” remember to write down the name of your hotel/hostel, and carry enough money to pay for an Uber or taxi as well. Chat with the concierge, receptionist, and even locals to avoid any dangerous areas in your destination.

Getting lost is truly an adventure. So go out and explore the unknown!

Getting lost is one of the best travel photography tips in your destination.
This colorful street in Cartagena, Colombia wasn’t the worst place to get lost in.

19. Be patient

I’m not a super patient person, so this is a hard one. But it truly makes a world of difference in travel photography.

In some instances, I’ve spent over an hour waiting to get the perfect shot. Patience is the key to success in building your own business, and in this case, becoming a professional travel photographer.

Before snapping a photo, be aware of your surroundings and try to anticipate things that could affect it in a positive or negative way. Ask yourself these questions:

What’s going on in the background?

Will the view or lighting improve if I wait here for a little bit?

For example, perhaps you see clouds approaching that will add a special element to your photo. Or there’s something obstructing the view (like a person or vehicle) that will likely move in a few minutes. Based on my experience, it almost always pays to wait. Sometimes, nothing will change, but at least you tried. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take!

Being patient is one of the best travel photography tips.
Note: Be sure to always ask for permission from locals before you take photos of them.

20. Focus on the little details

Even after you decide on a photo spot and have your camera and tripod ready to go, always seek out opportunities for improvement. The little details matter, and can add interesting accents to your photo.

Keep your eyes peeled and check your surroundings to make sure you aren’t missing anything. Perhaps there are some colorful flowers or decorations that should be included in your frame. Don’t miss out on the little things, as sometimes they can become the big things.

When taking a photo of Acorn Street in Boston, you don't want to miss out on the little detail of the lamppost on the right side.
When taking photos of Acorn Street in Boston, you don’t want to miss out on the “little” detail of the lamppost on the right-hand side. Though it’s not the main focus, it adds an important element to the image.

21. Protect your photography equipment

This kind of goes without saying, but I still think it’s worth mentioning as one of the best travel photography tips.

Whenever you’re traveling, you should always lock up your travel photography gear when you’re not shooting. At hostels, I always bring a pad lock so I can store my camera gear in a locker. Similarly, hotels almost always have a safe in the room for storing valuables. Whatever you do, never leave your gear out in the open, even if you’re just planning to leave the room for a short period.

Additionally, if you’re exploring a poverty-stricken destination or a “sketchy” area, try not to flash your expensive belongings, including camera equipment. In these situations, leave your camera equipment in your bag until you’re ready to use it.

You should also take precautions when you’re flying. I never check my camera equipment on planes, as I’ve heard horror stories of expensive equipment getting stolen. Instead, I bring my camera bag as a carry-on and keep it under my feet at all times.

22. Backup your travel photos on a regular basis – an often overlooked travel photography tip

In the world of travel photography, this tip is incredibly important. All travel photos on your memory card should be regularly backed up and stored in a safe place.

How awful would it be if you took thousands of photos on a trip and then all of the sudden, your hard drive crashed or someone stole your camera? These types of things do happen, so you should always remember to backup your travel photos.

Depending on how many photos you have, you should consider storing them both physically in hard drives and online using cloud services like One Drive, Drop Box, etc. I perform backups of my photos pretty much every night while I’m traveling. Better safe than sorry!

23. Fill and use the frame

As you’re taking photos, pay attention to the open spaces in the foreground and any natural frames that you can use. Check to see if there are any trees, gates, or other ways to “enclose” the subject of the photo. This will make your images more interesting, and allow them to stand out from the rest.

Natural frames are one of the best travel photography tips.
The use of natural frames is one of the best travel photography tips to enhance your photos. These tree branches served as an excellent frame around Lake Bled’s island church.

Travel photography tips to know after your trip

24. Post processing makes a big difference in your travel photos

Every professional photographer makes adjustments to their photos using software like Lightroom, Snapseed, or Photoshop. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that these resources are a part of a travel photographer’s toolkit as well.

When I first started getting into travel photography, I used Snapseed. Today, I use Adobe Lightroom. I think Lightroom is the best photo editing software out there and it’s worth the $10/month investment.

In addition to cropping images, here are some things that I typically do to enhance my travel photos:

  • Lighten shadows
  • Decrease highlights
  • Adjust color saturation and tones
  • Improve exposure levels and contrast
  • Sharpen the image

I don’t recommend going crazy with edits, as they can make your photos look fake. But making some simple adjustments can go a long way to improve your travel photos.

25. Practice makes perfect – the most underrated travel photography tip

After you’ve gone through all your photos from your big trip, take some time to reflect on what you did great at, and identify opportunities for enhancement.

Perhaps while you were cropping the images, you found that the frames that you captured weren’t big enough. Maybe you could have zoomed out (or in) more. Photography is a skill that requires a lot of practice, trial and error, and continuous learning. Don’t underestimate it!

You’d think that after visiting dozens of countries, I wouldn’t make any mistakes in my photos. But I do, pretty much all the time. However, just like with anything else in life, one must invest a lot of time and energy to be good at something. Lots of practice makes a world of difference. The mistakes I tend to make these days are often minor (most non-photographers wouldn’t even notice them). But nevertheless, I am striving for perfection, which though impossible to attain, makes a photographer’s journey an exciting one.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about travel photography

Here are some popular questions and answers about taking travel photos as a photographer.

How do you take good pictures while traveling?

Taking good pictures while traveling is all about being prepared, staying creative, and having a sense of adventure! Here are a few tips to help you capture memories that will last a lifetime:

  1. Plan ahead: Research your destination and make a list of sights you want to see and the shots you want to capture.
  2. Pack the right gear: Bring a camera or smartphone that fits your needs and style. Also, get any accessories (such as extra batteries, memory cards, and lenses) that you may need.
  3. Get up early: The best light for photography is often found in the early morning and late afternoon. So, try to get out and start shooting as soon as the sun rises.
  4. Experiment with angles: Don’t be afraid to try different perspectives. This includes shooting from above or below, to add interest to your shots.
  5. Play with light: Use natural light, backlighting, and shadows to add depth and mood to your photos.
  6. Capture moments, not just things: Snap candid shots of people, animals, and street scenes. This will add life and personality to your images.
  7. Edit thoughtfully: Use editing tools to enhance your shots. However, be careful not to overdo it and lose the essence of the moment.

By following these tips and staying open to new experiences and creative opportunities, you’ll be capturing stunning travel photos in no time. That way, you can tell the story of your travels.

Use travel photos to tell your story as a photographer
Use travel photos to tell your story as a photographer

How do I prepare to be a travel photographer?

Becoming a travel photographer is all about preparation, creativity, and a sense of adventure!

Start by researching your destinations, making a list of sights you want to see and shots you want to capture, and packing the right gear. Bring a camera or smartphone that fits your needs and style, and don’t forget extra batteries, memory cards, and lenses. Make sure to get up early and take advantage of the best light for photography – early morning and late afternoon. Experiment with different angles and perspectives, play with light and shadows, and capture moments, not just things. Edit your photos thoughtfully, enhancing them without losing the essence of the moment. Finally, stay open to new experiences and creative opportunities, and let your sense of adventure guide you on your journey as a travel photographer.

Is iPhone enough for travel photography?

Definitely! An iPhone can be more than enough for capturing beautiful travel memories. With its advanced camera technology and powerful editing tools, iPhones can create stunning images that will last a lifetime. Plus, its compact size and versatility make it the perfect travel companion. They allow you to quickly and easily capture moments as they happen.

Whether you’re shooting iconic landmarks, portraits of local people, or breathtaking landscapes, your iPhone can help you bring your travel stories to life. However, if you want to elevate your travel photography skills and be better positioned against other travel photographers, I recommend getting a DSLR or another more high-powered camera.

I took this travel photograph of Mostar with just an iPhone
I took this travel photograph of Mostar with just an iPhone

Can you write off travel expenses as a photographer?

As a photographer, you may be able to write off certain travel expenses as business expenses on your tax return. This can include airfare, lodging, meals, transportation, and other costs related to your photography work while traveling.

However, it’s important to keep detailed records and receipts of all your expenses. Also, you should ensure that they are directly related to your photography business. Be sure to consult a tax professional to understand the rules and regulations around travel expenses/deductions. These rules for travel photographers will vary from country to country. By taking advantage of these deductions, you can minimize your tax burden and maximize your earnings as a travel photographer.

What is a traveling photographer called?

A traveling photographer is commonly referred to as a travel blogger, photographer, or creative. They are skilled in capturing mesmerizing moments, breathtaking landscapes, and distinct cultural experiences from across the world. These individuals possess an innate ability to see the world through their lens, allowing them to return with memories that are not only visually stunning but also meaningful and timeless. Embrace your passion for photography and embark on a journey of discovery as a traveling photographer. The world is your canvas, so go ahead and capture it!

As a travel photographer, I enjoy going on retreats now
As a travel photographer, I enjoy going on retreats now

What do travel photographers take photos of?

Travel photographers take photos of a variety of subjects! Some of the most popular subjects include:

  • Landscapes: From stunning sunsets to towering mountains, travel photographers love capturing the beauty of the natural world.
  • Culture: Travel photographers aim to capture the unique cultural experiences of the places they visit. This includes local customs, festivals, and traditional dress.
  • Architecture: Travel photographers love capturing the unique and interesting architecture of the places they visit. This can include ancient ruins, grand cathedrals, and modern skyscrapers.
  • People: Travel photographers love capturing the spirit and essence of the people they meet on their travels. This included everyone from street vendors to local villagers.
  • Food: Whether it’s a street food stall in Thailand or a fancy restaurant in Boston, travel photographers love capturing the delicious dishes of the places they visit. I, for one, love getting travel photos of desserts in the places that I travel.

No matter what subject they choose to focus on, travel photographers aim to capture the essence of their experiences and bring back beautiful memories for us to enjoy.

Which phone camera is best for travel photography?

Wondering whether to pack a fancy DSLR or rely on the trusty smartphone camera? While it depends on your personal preference and needs, many travel photographers find that their smartphones are all they need for capturing their adventures. With impressive camera technology and editing capabilities, smartphones have made it easier than ever to take amazing travel photos.

If you’re looking for a top-notch smartphone camera for travel photography, you can’t go wrong with the iPhone 12 Pro, Google Pixel 7, or Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. These devices have impressive cameras with high megapixels, multiple lenses, and advanced features like night mode and portrait mode. Whether you’re snapping panoramic shots of mountain vistas or taking portraits of local characters, these smartphones are up for the challenge.

So, whether you opt for a traditional camera or trust your smartphone, remember – it’s not the camera that takes great photos, it’s the photographer! So pack your device of choice and let your creativity run wild!

The new Samsung Galaxy phones have 5 cameras, which make it a powerful tool in travel photography
The new Samsung Galaxy phones have 5 cameras, which make it a powerful tool in travel photography

Are travel photographers in demand?

Yes, travel photographers are definitely in demand! With more people exploring new destinations and cultures, there’s a growing market for stunning travel photos. Particularly, there’s a high need for people who can capture the beauty and essence of these experiences. Whether it’s for personal enjoyment, travel blogs, magazines, or social media, there’s a huge demand for visually stunning and creative travel photography.

In addition to capturing memories and inspiring wanderlust, travel photography can also be a lucrative career. From selling prints to licensing photos, there are many ways that travel photographers can monetize their skills and passion. Whether you’re a hobbyist or a professional, there’s never been a better time to be a travel photographer.

So if you’re passionate about travel, photography, and capturing the beauty of the world around you, then travel photography may just be the perfect career for you! So pack your bags, grab your camera, and get ready to see the world in a whole new way!

Travel photography tips in 2023

I hope you found this post on travel photography tips to be useful and helpful! Whether you’re a beginner photographer or a veteran looking to turn this passion into a travel job, I hope this article had some interesting nuggets of info to get your travel photography game in shape.

Even if starting a travel blog or becoming a travel creator isn’t your dream, it’s still worthwhile to understand the basics of travel photography.

During your next vacation, be sure to apply these techniques and take lots of travel photos. They make great souvenirs!

Happy travels! -Jon

Read next: Top Traveling Jobs in 2023

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Patrick June 22, 2020 - 16:49

Great tips! Going to try these out very soon 😊

Global Viewpoint June 25, 2020 - 08:39

Glad to hear it – hope they come in handy!


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