Suggestions from an novice journey photographer on take higher journey photographs.

I’m solely an novice photographer, however over the previous 5 years as I’ve traveled the world as a digital nomad, I’ve acquired numerous good compliments about my picture’s, each on social media and in our newsletter. I’ve even had some requests for recommendation on take higher journey photographs.

So I figured it was time to share a few of what I’ve discovered about journey images.

Associated learn: Street Photography Gear (Including Best Street Photography Camera)

I use Pixels for my travel photos
Personally, I’m an enormous of fan of Pixels for the standard of their cameras.

Tips on how to take higher journey photographs

Don’t fear: this isn’t a super-geeky information about fancy cameras or use apertures or f-stops. As a result of, frankly, I don’t know what an f-stop is, and I take pics with a Pixel 4a.

Which brings me to our first subject.

Digicam vs Cellphone

The extra severe I grew about my journey images, the extra I agonized over whether or not I ought to be utilizing a correct digicam fairly than my Pixel cellphone. I did an excessive amount of analysis and got here away with these conclusions:

Digicam telephones have made large strides through the years when it comes to high quality. Frankly, what most digicam telephones can do at the moment is extraordinary.

However! They’ll’t do every part. Even at the moment, zooming with a cellphone digicam doesn’t produce the highest quality. So should you’re hoping to be an expert photographer or take completely professional-looking footage, you’ll in all probability wish to put money into a correct digital digicam.

However! These telephones could be very costly. And complex to make use of. On high of that, you’ll virtually actually find yourself needing totally different lenses, tripods, and different tools. This will all be a bit overwhelming.

What’s the take-away? Get a digicam if you need, however there’s completely no disgrace in merely utilizing your cellphone both. The way in which I see it, one of the best digicam is the one you could have with you whenever you actually wish to take an image. And your cellphone might be all the time going to be with you. Simply sayin’.

I would get a correct digicam one in all lately. However I’m not planning on it any time quickly.


The “composition” of a photograph is the best way through which you organize and body the objects within the picture.

Critical photographers say one of the crucial vital points of composition entails one thing known as “the rule of the thirds.” That’s whenever you divide your image into 9 equal sectors utilizing two horizontal strains and two vertical strains. These imaginary strains may also help you body your objects.

You can too consider the outdated Brady Bunch opening credit, besides with out the Bradys.

How to take better travel photos using composition
Me, left, The Bradys, proper.

You may suppose that placing the central object within the middle of the picture is finest, proper the place Alice is. And it may be! However that can be a bit static or boring.

So contemplate placing your object within the left or proper column, particularly aligning it on the intersection of the imaginary strains — proper between Jan and Alice, and even Carol and Greg.

By placing your topic at one of many intersection factors, you permit room for the viewer’s eyes to maneuver across the picture and discover the image, fairly than merely trying on the topic and transferring on.

Additionally vital to composition are “main strains” and “symmetry.” Keep in mind once I mentioned you shouldn’t middle the objects in your picture?

Generally you need to, particularly should you can reap the benefits of some component that focuses the picture. Main strains, just like the stone path and partitions within the picture on the left, beneath, draw the attention to a particular level. In the meantime, symmetry is when totally different components in a photograph match or mirror one another.

How to take better travel photos using symmetry
Main strains and symmetry!

In relation to composition, all these components can come into play directly: the Brady Bunch rule, symmetry, and main strains.

Greater than something, although, your picture is dictated by what you’re taking an image of. What would make the picture as fascinating as doable?

For example, an image of the Acropolis surrounded by the “symmetry” of some timber is likely to be fairly cool. However what about if there’s an outdated Greek man standing in entrance of it? He turns into a “main line” on to the Acropolis, however he’s additionally positioned off to 1 aspect, between Cindy and Mike Brady, to make the composition extra fascinating.

A travel photo of a man standing and looking at the Acropolis in Athens, Greece
After taking dozens of photographs of the Acropolis, I noticed this older man and knew an image of him trying on the Acropolis was THE image.

Additionally, all the time contemplate the angle you shoot issues from. My knees HATE me for it, however I’m always crouching down so I can shoot up at one thing. Heck, I’ll usually lie flat on my again as a way to get the image I would like.

That is normally the purpose the place my husband Brent pretends he doesn’t know me.

And getting all the way down to your topic’s degree can actually assist seize a greater sense of who or what they’re, whether or not they be youngsters, canine, or flowers.

Sitting in shorts in scorpion-infested Texas scrub in order to take this picture…may not have been my most brilliant idea.
Sitting in shorts in scorpion-infested Texas scrub as a way to take this image…might not have been my most good concept.

Lighting/The Golden Hour

In relation to lighting, right here’s a rule that’s fairly agency: the sunshine is normally finest at dawn or sundown. Mid-day means the solar can be immediately overhead, and that gentle could be harsh. It will probably make objects look flat and fewer engaging.

The time shortly earlier than and after dawn and sundown is known as “the golden hour,” as a result of it’s, nicely, golden. The sunshine is softer because it has to journey by way of extra environment. That causes it to be extra diffuse and hotter with numerous reds and golds. Golden hour gentle can also be kinder to pores and skin tones, and it creates numerous fascinating shadows.

Alas, the golden hour is never a whole hour lengthy. All of it relies on the time of yr due to planetary orbits and ellipses and different scientific-y issues that make my head damage.

Usually, I’ll stand up earlier than daybreak to get these ten valuable minutes of good lighting. That is one other time when Brent may faux to not know me, besides he’s normally again in our residence, sleeping.

Then once more, if nice photographs had been simple, everybody would take them.

Take photos during golden hour for the best light
This lighting is extra valuable than precise gold…

One more reason I go for the morning golden hour for pictures? As a result of even at in style vacationer sights, I usually have locations virtually fully to myself. I get higher footage and I get a greater expertise with out having to combat the crowds.

So right here’s one other crucial novice photographers’ tip: when you’ve taken your photographs, put aside time to easily savor the expertise.

My favourite morning golden hour moments to this point?

  • The highest of the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, the place, after taking my photographs, I simply stood and took in that superior view of Rome.
  • On the Charles Bridge in Prague the place I froze my butt off to seize the mist rising off the river.

One different be aware in regards to the golden hour, both at dawn or sundown: clouds could be both your finest buddy or your worst enemy.

Clouds sitting proper on the horizon can block the rising or setting solar, ruining every part. Or if they’re the best peak they’ll catch the rays, turning spectacular reds and golds and even purple should you’re fortunate, all whereas reflecting the sunshine again to the bottom and doubling their affect.

The light of the setting sun reflecting off of the bottom of clouds in Split, Croatia
The sunshine of the setting solar reflecting off of the underside of clouds in Break up, Croatia.

Folks matter

Landscapes are lovely, however you already know what are all the time my hottest photographs on social media?

Footage of me and my husband.

Which is smart. Folks actually are fascinating — and Brent a minimum of may be very good-looking. And should you’re an novice journey photographer, you’re in all probability most inquisitive about taking footage of you and your pals anyway.

That mentioned, the period of selfies is kinda over. So contemplate all of the above strategies when taking footage of individuals too.

Travel photos with people
The writer on the left, his husband on the best.

Oh, and right here’s a tip on get essentially the most pure smile out of your topic: inform them not to consider intercourse. That just about all the time will get amusing.

Do I Must Edit? Plus, What’s JPEG vs RAW?

You don’t wish to must “edit” your pics, proper? I didn’t both. I admit at first I used to be a bit afraid of the know-how.

However don’t be. If I used to be in a position to grasp what I’m about to inform you, you possibly can too.

Once you go into the superior settings of your cellphone’s digicam, there’s a place the place you possibly can select whether or not you need your digicam to save lots of your pics as both JPEG or RAW information.

These are settings that decide how a lot info the file created by the digicam’s picture sensor retains of every picture.

Should you select JPEG, your digicam will robotically do some very fundamental processing and assist you to do some additional fundamental enhancing to make your photographs look a bit nicer.

Simply not that a lot nicer.

However whenever you shoot in RAW, you should use enhancing software program to take all of that further info captured by your digicam to edit your picture.

I’m positive greater than as soon as, you’ve taken an image, checked out it, and thought, “Huh, that isn’t actually nearly as good as I believed it regarded.”

Which is since you’re virtually actually capturing in JPEG.

Check out these two photographs.

Tips for editing your travel photos
About thirty seconds price of enhancing helped give this image much more life.

The highest pic is type of blah and doesn’t actually pop. In the meantime, the colour and readability of the second picture is means higher. The picture is way crisper.

That’s as a result of you probably have the RAW file — which I did — then you should use enhancing software program to regulate the publicity, distinction, coloration saturation, and fairly just a few different issues.

And, no, you aren’t “dishonest.” All you’re doing is what skilled photographers have all the time executed. (However you are able to do it badly, making photographs look over-saturated or over-contrasted. A part of what makes a photograph “good” is that it captures actuality. That ought to all the time be the objective.)

You are able to do some enhancing in your cellphone, or in Google Picture. There are additionally free enhancing apps like Snapseed. Personally, I take advantage of Adobe Lightroom, which prices me $10 USD a month, as a result of I like the extra choices, and since it’s really easy to make use of and comes with nice tutorials.

However truthfully, even just a little enhancing could make a world of distinction.

Amount can imply extra high quality

Questioning take higher journey photographs? Take a lot of them. The extra you are taking, the extra you’ll have to select from. And the higher a photographer you’ll develop into.

Guess what number of footage I at the moment have in my Adobe Lightroom folder proper now?


And that is solely the variety of edited photographs. The full variety of pics I’ve taken is…nicely, I don’t wish to say, as a result of Brent will learn this text sooner or later, and I wish to keep believable deniability.

You completely don’t must take this many photographs. I’m type of a nut.

However as with every ability, the extra you observe, the higher you’ll develop into.

Extra suggestions for taking higher journey photographs

Listed here are just a few extra issues I’ve discovered on take higher journey photographs:

  • Transfer round as you are taking your photographs. Greater than as soon as, I’ve thought I’d taken all one of the best pictures — or thought the topic was too boring to make image — solely to maneuver up or down, or sideways, to find a brisker angle.
  • Analysis a location forward of time. I admit that I’ll go to Instagram and get hold of pics of various places I is likely to be inquisitive about. Or I’ll Google “finest place to take footage in Amsterdam.” There’s nothing mistaken with benefiting from the work of others. Even should you go to the identical spot to take a photograph, all kinds of issues can be totally different: the sunshine, the climate, and so forth. It’s simple to discover a approach to make the picture your individual.
  • Simply stroll. When Brent and I arrive in a brand new location, we try the “well-known” spots pretty shortly. However then we discover. And that’s normally the place I get the great things.
  • Even should you don’t do a lot (or any) enhancing, a minimum of contemplate cropping your footage. Cropping allows you to repair some errors, transfer your topic to a type of intersection factors, and convey components out in your picture that you just may not have even recognized had been there.
  • Develop your “photographer’s eyes” and all the time hold them open. Truthfully, I believe images has helped me have a look at my environment far more intently. And now I all the time discover surprising alternatives for excellent photographs all over the place.
  • Take the shot when you could have it! Greater than as soon as, I’ve been out strolling about, seen one thing I needed to take an image of and thought, “Oh, I’ll get that later.” Besides once I return, the sunshine is mistaken. Or I can’t bear in mind the place I used to be within the first place. (This occurs extra whenever you stand up earlier than daybreak loads!)

Crucial tip of all

Take the images you need for the explanations you need.

You’re in all probability not studying this text to develop into an expert photographer. As amateurs, we take journey photographs as a result of we get pleasure from it, and to seize our reminiscences of the locations we’ve visited and the folks we all know.

Positive, you’ll in all probability share your photographs on social media, however nobody will respect them the best way you do. They’re your reminiscences, in any case.

Do not forget that. Do that for you.

As for remainder of my recommendation, use no matter sounds helpful and ignore the remainder.

Michael Jensen is an writer, editor, and one half of Brent and Michael Are Going Locations, a few touring homosexual digital nomads. Subscribe to their free travel newsletter here.


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