Suggestions from an novice journey photographer on find out how to 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 obtained lots of good compliments about my photograph’s, each on social media and in our newsletter. I’ve even had some requests for recommendation on find out how to take higher journey photographs.

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

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.

The right way to take higher journey photographs

Don’t fear: this isn’t a super-geeky information about fancy cameras or find out how to 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 matter.

Digicam vs Telephone

The extra critical I grew about my journey pictures, the extra I agonized over whether or not I ought to be utilizing a correct digital camera slightly than my Pixel telephone. I did quite a lot of analysis and got here away with these conclusions:

Digicam telephones have made enormous strides over time when it comes to high quality. Frankly, what most digital camera telephones can do in the present day is extraordinary.

However! They will’t do the whole lot. Even in the present day, zooming with a telephone digital camera doesn’t produce the very best quality. So in case 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 digital camera.

However! These telephones could be very costly. And complex to make use of. On prime of that, you’ll nearly definitely find yourself needing completely different lenses, tripods, and different tools. This may all be a bit overwhelming.

What’s the take-away? Get a digital camera if you’d like, however there’s completely no disgrace in merely utilizing your telephone both. The way in which I see it, the perfect digital camera is the one you’ve gotten with you while you actually wish to take an image. And your telephone might be all the time going to be with you. Simply sayin’.

I would get a correct digital camera considered one of as of late. However I’m not planning on it any time quickly.


The “composition” of a photograph is the way in which wherein you organize and body the objects within the photograph.

Critical photographers say one of the crucial vital features of composition includes one thing referred to as “the rule of the thirds.” That’s while you divide your image into 9 equal sectors utilizing two horizontal strains and two vertical strains. These imaginary strains will help you body your objects.

You may also 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 photograph is finest, proper the place Alice is. And it may be! However that can be a bit static or boring.

So think about 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 allow room for the viewer’s eyes to maneuver across the picture and discover the image, slightly than merely trying on the topic and transferring on.

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

Typically you need to, particularly in case you can benefit from some aspect that focuses the photograph. Main strains, just like the stone path and partitions within the photograph on the left, under, draw the attention to a selected level. In the meantime, symmetry is when completely different parts in a photograph match or mirror one another.

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

In terms of composition, all these parts can come into play without delay: the Brady Bunch rule, symmetry, and main strains.

Greater than something, although, your photograph is dictated by what you’re taking an image of. What would make the photograph as attention-grabbing as potential?

For example, an image of the Acropolis surrounded by the “symmetry” of some timber may 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 at least one facet, between Cindy and Mike Brady, to make the composition extra attention-grabbing.

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 think about the angle you shoot issues from. My knees HATE me for it, however I’m consistently crouching down so I can shoot up at one thing. Heck, I’ll typically lie flat on my again so as to get the image I need.

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 stage can actually assist seize a greater sense of who or what they’re, whether or not they be kids, 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 so as to take this image…could not have been my most good thought.

Lighting/The Golden Hour

In terms of lighting, right here’s a rule that’s fairly agency: the sunshine is normally finest at dawn or sundown. Mid-day means the solar will likely be straight overhead, and that mild could be harsh. It may well 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, properly, golden. The sunshine is softer because it has to journey via extra ambiance. That causes it to be extra diffuse and hotter with a lot of reds and golds. Golden hour mild can also be kinder to pores and skin tones, and it creates lots of attention-grabbing shadows.

Alas, the golden hour is never a whole hour lengthy. All of it depends upon the time of 12 months due to planetary orbits and ellipses and different scientific-y issues that make my head harm.

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 fake to not know me, besides he’s normally again in our condo, sleeping.

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

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

Another excuse I go for the morning golden hour for pictures? As a result of even at widespread vacationer sights, I typically have locations nearly totally to myself. I get higher footage and I get a greater expertise with out having to struggle 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 so far?

  • 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 notice in regards to the golden hour, both at dawn or sundown: clouds could be both your finest pal or your worst enemy.

Clouds sitting proper on the horizon can block the rising or setting solar, ruining the whole lot. Or if they’re the fitting peak they’ll catch the rays, turning spectacular reds and golds and even purple in case 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 what are all the time my hottest photographs on social media?

Footage of me and my husband.

Which is sensible. Folks actually are attention-grabbing — and Brent at the very least may be very good-looking. And in case you’re an novice journey photographer, you’re in all probability most eager about taking footage of you and your mates anyway.

That stated, the period of selfies is kinda over. So think about all of the above methods when taking footage of individuals too.

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

Oh, and right here’s a tip on find out how to get essentially the most pure smile out of your topic: inform them not to consider intercourse. That nearly 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 expertise.

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.

Whenever you go into the superior settings of your telephone’s digital camera, there’s a place the place you possibly can select whether or not you need your digital camera to avoid wasting your pics as both JPEG or RAW recordsdata.

These are settings that decide how a lot data the file created by the digital camera’s picture sensor retains of every photograph.

Should you select JPEG, your digital camera will robotically do some very primary processing and mean you can do some additional primary enhancing to make your photographs look a bit nicer.

Simply not that a lot nicer.

However while you shoot in RAW, you need to use enhancing software program to take all of that additional data captured by your digital camera to edit your photograph.

I’m certain greater than as soon as, you’ve taken an image, checked out it, and thought, “Huh, that isn’t actually pretty much as good as I assumed it seemed.”

Which is since you’re nearly definitely capturing in JPEG.

Check out these two photographs.

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

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

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

And, no, you aren’t “dishonest.” All you’re doing is what skilled photographers have all the time completed. (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 telephone, 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 somewhat enhancing could make a world of distinction.

Amount can imply extra high quality

Questioning find out how to 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 turn out to be.

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 entire variety of pics I’ve taken is…properly, I don’t wish to say, as a result of Brent will learn this text in some unspecified time in the future, and I wish to keep believable deniability.

You completely don’t have to take this many photographs. I’m form of a nut.

However as with every ability, the extra you observe, the higher you’ll turn out to be.

Extra ideas for taking higher journey photographs

Listed below are a couple of extra issues I’ve realized on find out how to take higher journey photographs:

  • Transfer round as you are taking your photographs. Greater than as soon as, I’ve thought I’d taken all the perfect photographs — or thought the topic was too boring to make a very good 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 your hands on pics of various areas I may be eager about. Or I’ll Google “finest place to take footage in Amsterdam.” There’s nothing incorrect with benefiting from the work of others. Even in case you go to the identical spot to take a photograph, all kinds of issues will likely be completely different: the sunshine, the climate, and so forth. It’s straightforward to discover a technique to make the photograph your personal.
  • Simply stroll. When Brent and I arrive in a brand new location, we try the “well-known” spots pretty rapidly. However then we discover. And that’s normally the place I get the good things.
  • Even in case you don’t do a lot (or any) enhancing, at the very least think about cropping your footage. Cropping allows you to repair some errors, transfer your topic to a kind of intersection factors, and produce parts out in your photograph that you simply may not have even identified had been there.
  • Develop your “photographer’s eyes” and all the time hold them open. Truthfully, I believe pictures has helped me have a look at my environment rather more intently. And now I all the time discover sudden alternatives for nice photographs in all places.
  • Take the shot when you’ve gotten it! Greater than as soon as, I’ve been out strolling about, seen one thing I wished to take an image of and thought, “Oh, I’ll get that later.” Besides once I return, the sunshine is incorrect. Or I can’t bear in mind the place I used to be within the first place. (This occurs extra while you stand up earlier than daybreak lots!)

An important tip of all

Take the images you need for the explanations you need.

You’re in all probability not studying this text to turn out to be an expert photographer. As amateurs, we take journey photographs as a result of we take pleasure in 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 recognize them the way in which you do. They’re your reminiscences, in any case.

Keep in mind 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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