Kos harbour in Kos Town, Greece
Photography,  Travel

10 Tips for taking better travel photos

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Are you planning a trip and want to make sure you capture amazing photos? Or maybe you’re already on your way and realize that your travel photos could use some improvement. Either way, I’ve got you covered with 10 tips for taking better travel photos.

We all start as complete beginners, but with a little bit of preparation and practice, anyone can up their travel photography game. So read on for our top tips and start snapping away!
How to travel sustainably - a blog post that includes tips for sustainable travel

1. Get to know your camera

The first step to taking better travel photos is getting to know your camera. Take your time and learn all the features and functions of your camera, so you can make the most of it while you’re on your trip. If you’re not sure how to use a particular feature, there’s no shame in looking up a tutorial or two online before you go. The more familiar you are with your camera, the better equipped you’ll be to take great photos.

Know its limitations

It’s also important to know the limitations of your camera. Don’t expect it to perform miracles, and don’t be afraid to push its limits to see what it’s capable of. With digital cameras, it’s easy to take a lot of photos and delete the ones that don’t turn out well. So go ahead and experiment, and see what works best for you and your camera.

2. Plan ahead

Choose your destination wisely

When choosing a destination, think about the kind of photos you want to take. Do you want to capture sweeping landscapes or intimate portraits? Consider the time of year you’ll be traveling as well. Will the weather be conducive to the type of photography you want to do?

Do your research

Once you’ve chosen your destination, it’s time to start researching. Look up popular tourist spots as well as the favourite spots of the locals, and find out when the best time to visit them is. This will help you to avoid crowds and get the most out of your trip. You can also research local photographers and see what they’ve done with their work. This can give you some inspiration for your own photography.

Herne Bay in Kent - what to see in England

3. Pack light

When packing for a trip, it’s important to bring only the essentials. This will lighten your load, both figuratively and literally. By bringing only what you need, you’ll be able to focus on enjoying your trip and taking great photos. So, what should you pack?

First, consider the type of camera you’re using. If you’re shooting with a DSLR or mirrorless camera, you’ll need to bring along extra lenses and perhaps a tripod and some accessories. See what kind of equipment I use here. But if you’re using a point-and-shoot or smartphone, you can get by with just the basics.

Second, think about what kind of photography you’ll be doing. Are you planning on shooting landscapes? Then you’ll need a wide-angle lens. Portraits? A telephoto lens will come in handy. Once you’ve considered these factors, make a list of the essential items you’ll need and pack accordingly.

Leave your heavy gear at home

Even if you’re an experienced photographer, there’s no need to bring all of your gear on every trip. In fact, it’s often better to leave some of your equipment at home. This way, you can travel lighter and focus on enjoying your destination rather than lugging around a bunch of heavy gear. Of course, there are always exceptions to this rule. If you’re going on an African safari, for example, then it makes sense to bring your long telephoto lens so that you can capture close-ups of wildlife. But in general, it’s best to pack light and leave the heavy gear at home.

4. Get up early

The first hour after sunrise and the last hour before sunset are known as the “golden hours.” The light during these times is softer and more flattering than during the harsh midday sun. If you’re shooting portraits, this is the ideal time to do it. To make the most of the golden hour, plan your shoot in advance and get to your location early. This way, you’ll have time to scout out the best spots and set up your camera before the light becomes too harsh.

Read about how I shoot pictures of myself, and how I took the photo below.

Avoid the midday heat

Midday is often the busiest time of day at tourist attractions. Not only will there be more people around, but the heat can be unbearable. If you’re planning on doing any outdoor shooting, it’s best to avoid shooting during midday and instead wait for cooler hours like early morning or late afternoon/evening.

A sunrise in Malta by the sea

5. Find the right vantage point

Get close to your subject

When taking photos, it’s important to find the right vantage point. This will help you get the best possible shot of your subject. Here are two tips for finding the right vantage point:

1. Climb to high ground. This will give you a better view of your subject and can help you get some interesting perspective shots.

2. Get close to your subject. This will help you fill the frame and get a better sense of what your subject is doing.

6. Use a tripod

A tripod will help you take sharper photos by steadying your camera.

Use a remote shutter release to avoid shake when taking photos with a long exposure or at night.

A tripod is an essential piece of gear for any serious photographer, and there are many reasons why you should use one. A tripod will help you take sharper photos by steadying your camera, and it can be especially useful when taking photos with a long exposure or at night. You can also use a remote shutter release to avoid shake when taking photos with a long exposure or at night.

To learn what equipment I use, click here.

A lounge chair on a terrace in Dan Eilat Hotel

7. Shoot in RAW

Shooting in RAW means that you are capturing all of the data that your camera sensor can gather. This results in larger file sizes, but gives you much more flexibility when it comes to editing your photos. RAW files contain all of the information captured by your camera’s sensor, including exposure, white balance, and color depth. This allows you to make adjustments to these settings after the fact without losing any quality.

Edit your photos with more flexibility

Editing photos in RAW gives you a lot more control over how they look. You can fine-tune exposure, white balance, and other settings without worrying about losing any quality. RAW files also give you more leeway when it comes to making global changes like converting to black and white or increasing contrast.

8. Experiment with composition

One way to add interest to your photos is to change your perspective. Instead of standing in front of your subject, try getting low for an interesting angle, or climb up high to capture a different view. Another way to change your perspective is to get closer, or move further away. Sometimes all it takes is a small change in position to make a big difference in your photo.

Play with leading lines

Leading lines are a great way to add depth and draw the viewer’s eye into the photo. Look for natural lines in the scene that you can use to lead the eye into the frame, such as a path, road, river, or even power lines. You can also use man-made objects like fences or walls. Experiment with different compositions and see how changing the placement of the lines can impact the feel of the photo.

Photo of a sun setting with a hand in the foreground

9. Tell a story

To tell a great story with your travel photos, it’s important to capture all the details. This means everything from the big landmarks to the small everyday moments. Look for interesting compositions and subjects, and don’t be afraid to get close up.

Find the emotional moments

In addition to capturing the details, it’s also important to find the emotional moments. These are the shots that will really resonate with viewers and give them a sense of what it was like to be in your shoes. To find these moments, look for expressions, interactions, and anything else that conveys a feeling.

Men in boats at a vegetable market in Srinagar, Kashmir

10. Review and edit your photos

As a general rule of thumb, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and delete rather than keep photos that you’re not absolutely in love with. This is especially true when you’re traveling and storage space is limited. Once you’ve taken the time to go through all of your photos and narrow them down to your favorites, take another look and see if there are any that you can live without. If there’s even the slightest doubt, get rid of it. You can always recreate the shot later if you really need it.

Edit with intention

Once you’ve culled your photos, it’s time to start editing. Again, be selective with your edits and only make those that truly improve the photo. Sometimes less is more, so don’t go overboard with filters or other effects just for the sake of it. If you do choose to edit your photos, consider doing so in a way that enhances the story you’re trying to tell with your images.

Sculptures in a museum in Kos, Greece

Conclusion

If you want to take better travel photos, following these 10 tips will help you get started. From getting to know your camera to experimenting with composition, taking the time to plan and review your photos can make all the difference. So get out there and start exploring the world through your lens!

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