Upgrade Your Vacation Memories with Our 5 Travel Photography Tips
So you got on a plane and took a trip halfway around the world. Now you want to show everyone else what an amazing time you’re having. How many times have you seen travel photos from one of your friend’s vacations and said, “I have to be there!” This post is going to help you make sure your friends say exactly that.
Composition is your best friend and the easiest thing to get right when you’re looking to improve.
The Rule of Thirds is easy enough to understand. The Rule of Thirds says to split your picture into 9 equal pieces. Then attempt to place the subject of your photo on one of the lines or intersections created by the different pieces. The Rule of Thirds helps to bring a sense of balance to the photo and immediately make it more pleasant to look at. You should aim for the horizon of your photo to always land on one of these horizontal lines.
Framing your subject is done in many creative ways. It is one of the most enjoyable parts of playing with composition. There are endless possibilities when attempting to frame a subject. These could include playing with light and shadow. Adjusting the angle when taking a photo. Or, using existing nature or architecture to enhance the subject. Another way to frame your subject is with leading lines. Try and find natural lines and follow them to your subject for a landscape. Or place your subject at the focal point of the lines when the subject is human or another object.
Lighting is another simple idea that plays a massive role in making your travel photos look incredible.
If you’re out taking travel photos most of your shots should be in natural light outside anyways. But, in case you want to get an awesome shot of your hostel, hotel or the local restaurant try to do it with as much natural light as possible! Open up windows or sit outside for the best results. Cloudy days are also your friend. Clouds act as a natural diffuser and help you avoid harsh shadows that can ruin your epic travel photos.
Time of Day
Any photographer knows that the best time of day is the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset. This is Golden Hour. It offers the most beautiful opportunities for lighting and color. If you can plan your day so that you arrive in the most scenic locations about 90 minutes before sunset. If you’re ambitious and didn’t drink too much the night before, arriving at sunrise often yields the best travel photos. I guarantee your favorite travel Instagramers get up at 4 or 5 am to flex their photography skills.
Planning out your photoshoots can lead to amazing shots. Don’t forget to pay attention to the world around you.
There are lots of resources online to help find some of the most beautiful spots. Google Maps likes to mark popular locations with a camera icon. Instagram allows people to geotag locations. This will help you search for the best attractions. Tripadvisor is also an excellent tool for finding great natural wonders and things to do in any area. If you want the best photos you’ll need to plan ahead and take inspiration from others.
Look Around You
While planning ahead is necessary some of the best photos can also be spontaneous. While driving around in Bali last year I came across a beautiful road lined by palm trees. It remains one of my favorite travel photos I’ve taken to this day. It was in the middle of nowhere and on the way to my next destination. Your eyes are the most powerful tool you have when scouting locations.
Tell A Story
When you’re travelling you have the luxury of know the backstory to each location you visit. People viewing your travel photos don’t have that unless you communicate it to them.
Humans or animals and their emotions are some of the best ways to convey the mood of a photo. Whether you are travelling with a friend or their are some locals around, do your best to include them in the photo. Why is that person there and how do they feel? Are they looking up at a massive temple in awe? Maybe they’re looking off the edge of a cliff or jumping into the ocean. Whatever the reason is, it will will help convey your message.
The captions of your travel photos are often as important as the photos themselves. You don’t have to write a novel to help explain your photography. A sentence or two goes a long to explaining the situation to your friends and family. Try to keep your caption related to the photo. Everyone loves a good inspirational quote but it doesn’t help tell your story.
You’ve taken the perfect photo but it doesn’t quite pop enough. That’s where post-processing comes in!
Color is what will make your photos stand out amongst the crowd. While it can take years to develop a personal color palette and style you can wow onlookers with simple tweaks. Many places we travel to have beautiful colors and textures. Make sure your photos are saturated enough to show that off. Not too saturated though, we don’t want people looking like Oompa Loompas!
A huge spike in people who want to edit photos on their phones means mobile editing apps have become much better lately. Make sure to check out Snapseed, VSCO, Lightroom Mobile and TouchRetouch. See which ones work for you. At the very least you should be using Instagram’s built in photo editor to help with your adjustments.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Hopefully these quick tips will help without overwhelming you! The best way to get better at photography or anything else comes with practice. If you’re down south, make sure you check out these awesome Krabi tourist attractions to test your skills!