You’re passionate about travel and you want to improve your photography skills so you can look back (and even display) your memories with pride rather than regret? Discover our 10 simple and effective tips that will allow you to easily improve! Ready to create incredible travel photos on your next trip? Read on!
1. Do some preliminary research
Before leaving on your trip, it’s essential to find out more about the destination you’re going to visit to know the best photo spots, but also the weather conditions, the crowdedness as well as sunrise and sunset times, which could influence your daily itineraries. Your researches will then allow you to come up with a list of ideas for different places, attractions and shots that you want to capture.
However, leave room in your schedule for improvisation and to let yourself be surprised by your destination. Your list is there to help you, but you can’t plan everything, because once there, you’ll undoubtedly discover other magical places that will inspire you even more.
2. Travel light, with the right equipment
With ever-increasing baggage fees and space restrictions, traveling light has never been more important than now. By opting for lightweight and versatile photography equipment, your wallet will be happy and you’ll feel less burdened when traveling. In addition to our iPhones to capture spontaneous moments, we always have our Fujifilm X-T5 mirrorless camera with us. The advantage with this type of device is that it’s compact and has interchangeable lenses.
If you’re getting started on your photography journey, limit yourself to one versatile lens that can be used for several occasions as well as another for portraits and street photos. By limiting your number of lenses, this will allow you to improve quickly rather than weighing down your luggage and constantly wondering which lens to use.
3. Take advantage of natural light
As one of the most important elements in photography, natural light will play a big role in the results of your travel photos. If you want to have warm light, we recommend you to favor photography’s magic hours like sunrise and sunset, because the light is softer and more flattering. If you can, avoid taking your main photos at midday when the sun is at its peak, as the light will create harsher shadows.
Of course, when you travel, you don’t always have time to come back 2-3 days in a row and hope to have the perfect light for a photo. If your only option is to shoot in broad daylight, now is the time to use your creativity, try different angles, use surrounding objects to create shadow, adjust the shutter speed, aperture and ISO sensitivity and do some trial and error. The important thing is not to be too critical of yourself, but above all to have fun and enjoy your experience. It will definitely stand out in your images, whatever light you work with!
4. Use the rule of thirds
Also part of the basic principles of photography, the rule of thirds will allow you to create balanced and interesting compositions. What is the rule of thirds? It’s super simple, it’s about dividing your frame into nine equal parts with two horizontal lines and two vertical lines, then placing the elements that you want to highlight in your photo along these lines or at their intersections. Whether you take photos with your cellphone or a professional camera, you can always have the option of adding lines to your screen to help you create your compositions.
On the other hand, like everything art related, the rule of thirds isn’t an obligation and in many cases, you can deviate from it in order to create the photo that you really have in mind or that you want to take.
5. Capture the details
In addition to the majestic landscapes and impressive monuments that you’ll encounter during your trip, we also recommend that you photograph the small details that make those places unique. Whether it’s the textures, colors, patterns or architectural features that appeal to you, each detail will allow you to recall a little more your memories of everything you saw and observed during your visits.
6. Experiment with perspective
In addition to diversifying your type of photos and capturing details, we recommend that you play with shooting angles and height to obtain unique images. Try taking high-angle shots for example, or looking up into the sky to see things you might not normally notice.
Another way to bring greater variety into your shots is to use a foreground element in your photo. Whether it’s plants, a person or a wall, using this technique will allow you to change the perspective and add depth and life to your photo.
7. Included a human presence
Beside your portraits taken with a tripod (or with your arm up in the air), try to include a human presence in your other travel photos too. Whether it’s a hand pouring wine or holding an object to illustrate a moment at a restaurant or a person’s back in front of an important monument, it will allow people to imagine and transport themselves more easily in your images. Also, if you want to include locals in your street photos, remember to be respectful and ask their permission before photographing them if they can be easily recognized.
8. Use editing apps to optimize your travel photos
Once your photoshoots are finished, you’ll need a good editing application if you want to optimize the colors, temperature, brightness, contrast or other settings of your photos. As for us, we’ve been using Lightroom for several years and we highly recommend this intuitive application which will allow you to add a little extra magic to your travel photos.
If you’re more of the nostalgic type and you love the vintage film photos vibes or don’t want to spend too much time editing photos, a camera like the Fujifilm X-T5 or more compact like the X100V (so popular on TikTok currently) is ideal for you. Fujfilm also has in-camera effects to allow you to recreate specific looks directly on your photos without having to too much spend time in post-production.
9. Stay ahead of trends and keep learning
Your photographic style will continue to evolve over the years, as you keep traveling and learning. By staying on top of trends on Instagram, TikTok and Pinterest or by watching movies from your favorite directors, you’ll find inspiration at any time to adapt your editorial style. Continue to educate yourself, to watch tutorials on YouTube and to interact with your favorite content creators to stay ahead of the curve.
Each destination also brings its own dose of inspiration, as does the time of the year you visit it. You won’t necessarily edit your travel photos of a sunny beach in Croatia in the same way as a rainy day in Scotland for example, this what will allow you to refine your style by experimenting different ambiances.
The most important thing is that you have fun and that it makes you want to create memories that will bring you right back to your travel destination when you look back on them in a few years. Also, nothing stops you from re-editing them as you progress to appreciate your evolution and your memories even more.
10. Tell a story with your travel photos
This last tip for taking better travel photos seems obvious, but it’s the one that requires the most practice. When creating your images, don’t forget to tell the story or capture the emotion behind your shot by adding your unique perspective rather than copy-pasting the most popular images you’ve seen 1000 times on Instagram. Your travel photos will be the ideal medium to share your experience of a place, which can inspire and encourage others to explore it too. Make it count!
We hope that these few tips will help you capture better travel photos during your next getaways, but above all, create unforgettable memories!
Have a good trip!
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