Looking to improve your travel photography? Here are my favourite Useful Travel Photography Tips For Improving Your Photos.
Travel photography is like a time machine, freezing memories from a journey that you can look back on and enjoy for years. Plus it can help others find new inspiration.
Every travel destination has its own look, culture, history, people, feelings, landscapes, and stories.
Learning how to capture these subjects through photos helps convey the spirit of a place to others, giving them a glimpse of what it might be like to venture there.
Below you’ll find my favourite Useful Travel Photography Tips For Improving Your Photos during your next vacation!
Travel Photography Tips For Beginners
1. Wake Up Early, Stay Out Late
The early bird gets the worm. I’m sure you’ve heard that phrase. Well, it’s also very true for travel photography. Light is the most important ingredient for great photography — and soft, warm, morning light creates amazing images.
Sunrise isn’t the only time to catch good light. Sunsets are also great (check out these shots from Lofoten). The hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset are nicknamed “golden hours” because of their soft, warm tones and eye-pleasing shadows. “Blue hour”, is the hour after sunset (or before sunrise) when the sky is still blue, but city lights are turned on.
2. Pre-Trip Location Scouting
Read travel guidebooks about your destination. Scour the internet for articles and blog posts to help give you ideas for photos. Talk to friends who have been there. Reach out to other photographers. Become more knowledgeable about which images will capture the essence of a place.
3. Ask For Permission From Locals
Photographing local people in a foreign country is tough for many photographers. What if they don’t understand you? What if they say no? Will they get offended? It took me a couple of years to get comfortable shooting portraits of locals, and even now I still get a bit nervous.
Always ask permission for close-ups too. Spend 15 minutes learning how to say “can I make a photograph” or “can I take your portrait” in the local language before you arrive. People really appreciate the effort, and it’s a great way to make a new friend.
Some people will say no. Some will ask for money (I sometimes pay, but that’s up to you). It’s not the end of the world. Thank them for their time, smile, and move on to someone else and try again. Actually the more you get rejected, the easier it gets to ask!
4. Never Stop Learning
Enroll in some online photography classes. Invest in a travel photography workshop. Go out and practice regularly. This is how you get better – not because you have the latest gear or use popular Instagram filters.
5. Rule Of Thirds In Photography
One of the most basic and classic photography tips, understanding the Rule of Thirds will help you create more balanced compositions. Imagine breaking an image down into thirds horizontally and vertically, so it’s split into different sections.
6. Pack A Lightweight Travel Tripod
I think more people should be using lightweight travel tripods. A tripod allows you to set your camera position and keep it there. With the camera fixed, you can then take your time arranging the perfect composition.
7. Experiment With Composition
You can almost always come up with a better photo composition after some experimentation. Sure, take that first shot standing up straight. But then try laying on the ground for a low angle. Maybe climb up something nearby and shoot from a higher angle.
8. Make Travel Photography A Priority
Attempting to take quick snapshots as you rush from one location to another will leave you with the same boring photos everyone else has. Make sure you plan “photography time” into your travel schedule. Good travel photography requires a solid time commitment on your part.
9. Don’t Underestimate The Human Element
People like to live vicariously through human subjects in photos. Especially if the viewer can pretend the person in the photo is them. It adds more emotion to an image, you feel like you’re experiencing the location yourself.
10. Patience Is Everything
Photography is about really seeing what’s in front of you. Not just with your eyes, but with your heart & mind too. This requires dedicated time and attention. Slow down and make a conscious effort at becoming aware of your surroundings before pressing the shutter.
11. Be Nice & Have Fun!
I’ve seen many travel photographers who take their photography VERY seriously. You probably know the type, usually semi-professionals blocking off famous photography locations with a wall of tripods, ignoring closed-off areas, yelling at anyone who gets in their frame.
Suggested Reading: Into the wild in Africa
Try to remember that we’re all sharing these spaces, and we have to learn to get along. Be kind to other photographers, practice patience and common sense. Try not to be the person that ruins everyone else’s photo, but treat other photographers the way you would want to be treated!
I hope you find them as useful as I did! Remember, never stop learning.