Photography

8 Tips for Taking Better Travel Photos

8 tips for taking better travel photos

Someone jokingly asked me, “If you take a trip but have no photos to share, did you really travel?”

Though there’s always a balance to everything and I never want to be glued to my camera, much of the fun in traveling is taking beautiful pictures to share! There’s nothing worse than witnessing a feat of nature, an experience of a lifetime, taking a photo and having it turn out…mediocre.

Follow these tips below to make sure you take the best pictures!

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Choose the right gear

This is probably the most important step you need to take first for taking great photos! DSLR? Compact? GoPro? Lenses? Tripod? These will vary according to the type of photography you’re doing, and where you’re shooting.

For example, a high end DSLR paired with a wide angle lens is necessary for photographing the northern lights, or paired with a zoom lens for wildlife. GoPros are great for action shots and videos, or you may opt for a quality compact for everyday shooting, such as the Sony RX100.

Choosing the right gear will maximize your chances of quality images!

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Research the location beforehand

Chances are, you won’t get to hang around the location forever, so I recommend researching your destination before. Is it camera friendly? Is there a lot of light, movement, or external weather factors? What are the best angles, what potential issues must you plan for? This will help prepare you for when the time comes to shoot, and will help you get better travel photos.

For example, when doing photography in Antarctica there are numerous factors to consider. Low light, sea spray, salt and wind necessitate specific equipment.

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Get inspiration

Similar to the above, you can research the location on social media to get some inspiration for great travel photos! Instagram, Pinterest, or travel blogs are wonderful places to search.

For Instagram, I love typing in a hashtag with the place I’m going to, or find the geolocation and opening up the images taken there.

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Get there before everyone else

The early bird gets the worm! I’m the farthest thing from a morning person, but friends will attest to my determination to get the best shot. For example, early morning has beautiful lighting, and I woke up at the crack of dawn to go shoot at Iceland’s black sand beach littered with ice. As the sun rose up from the horizon, it shot brand new streaks of gold into the ice, which contrasted beautifully with the black sand.

Especially if you’re shooting at a famous location such as Ankor Wat, timing your visit is vital if you don’t want to get a shot swarming with tourists!

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Photograph at the right time

Photographers will rave about Golden Hour, which is one of the reasons why I love Iceland so much (winter in Iceland has incredibly long stretches of Golden Hour(s) and soft, muted lighting at each end.) Towards sunset, the light basks everything in a golden glow, adding warmth and vibrancy to your photos!

Alternatively, other places may be more stunning at a certain hour when the sun shines from a specific angle to avoid harsh lighting/shadows, or at nighttime if you’re doing astral photography or chasing the northern lights.

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Aim for a unique perspective

If you’re visiting a known location, try to be different (as hard as it may be!) and get a picture that sticks out from the rest. Get low, high, close or far – these variations will help for more unique images.

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Or go classic!

Sometimes there’s an angle that’s famous for a reason! Classic and unmissable.

For example, there’s a general spot where most photos of Machu Picchu are taken from. This is because 1. it’s able to show the scale and size of Machu Picchu perched on the mountaintops, and 2. geographical factors limit the ability to take photos from different angles.

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Edit your photos

Whether you’re a pro and use Lightroom, or want a simple editing app, putting the final touches on your images is a vital step that allows you to take better travel photos. Just remember not to go overboard.

Feel free to share your photos below, and subscribe for more tips!

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79 Comments

  • Reply Sabine Krestel August 16, 2016 at 6:47 am

    These are great tips and even better pictures…I just bookmarked your page…you are a true inspiration =) Thanks for sharing these tips^^

    • Reply Pier Nirandara August 16, 2016 at 10:15 am

      You just made my day, Sabine! Thank you so much for reading and subscribing 🙂

  • Reply Verushka Ramasami (@Verushka143) August 16, 2016 at 10:52 am

    Amazing pics ! Thanks for the tips. I need to learn how to use my camera. I take most of my pics on my phone and then edit.

  • Reply Jen Morrow August 16, 2016 at 11:42 am

    Good tips! I try to choose the right time for the best light. My biggest struggle, is trying to get a few good photos so I can put my camera down and go enjoy the activity/scenery.

  • Reply Indrani August 16, 2016 at 9:55 pm

    Great tips. The second tip of researching the location doesn’t happen as most of the time I am visiting the place for the first time and for short duration. Others are practical and doable. 🙂

  • Reply Sona Sethi August 17, 2016 at 2:51 am

    I love the way you have taken shots for this post. All pictures are so unique and beautiful. Surely some tips for me to go back and work on.

  • Reply The Editor August 17, 2016 at 6:22 am

    Thank you very much for sharing your travel photo tips! As much as possible I want to try my best to follow some of the basics but because I’m always excited on things I just snap and snap photos, and just choose the best one later on. Your photos are full of emotions! Cute sealions 🙂

  • Reply Elena August 17, 2016 at 7:01 am

    I love taking photos on my travels, but I’m still a beginner. But I am always willing to learn more, so thanks for the tips!

    Elena | http://www.inspiredtoexplore.com

    • Reply Pier Nirandara August 17, 2016 at 5:47 pm

      Thank you! Love your website by the way ☺️

  • Reply Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle August 17, 2016 at 11:22 am

    Thanks for these great tips! When I go on vacation, I wan to take the best pictures possible. I want to remember the trip forever.

  • Reply Gwendolyn Mulholland August 17, 2016 at 5:28 pm

    These are great tips to remember and implement. Your photos are amazing and one day I hope I can take pictures half as good.

    • Reply Pier Nirandara August 17, 2016 at 5:47 pm

      You’re so sweet, thank you for the kind words! ☺️

  • Reply Kathy August 17, 2016 at 7:57 pm

    These are all great tips. I love to take photos, and it can be hard at times to get the perfect shot. I love all the photos you have here too. They’re beautiful!

  • Reply Inspiring Kitchen August 17, 2016 at 9:31 pm

    Capturing your memories when traveling is very important. These are very helpful tips.

  • Reply Ami Bhat August 18, 2016 at 7:47 am

    Getting there beforehand is so important. The best way to get clear and beautiful pictures. Very useful tips. Thanks for those

  • Reply rosepetalsinthesea August 18, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    These are wonderful tips! I’m in the midst of upgrading my DSLR to a full-frame DSLR to capture more details during my travels. – HilLesha

  • Reply Krystal August 18, 2016 at 2:19 pm

    I have a Nikon DSLR, but I am finding that my Sony Mirrorless is actually much more clear and crisp when it comes to snapping photos and sharing to social media. It is also handy since it takes videos too!

  • Reply uprunforlife August 18, 2016 at 5:43 pm

    Your photos are amazing. I really wish that I had a nice DSLR camera. It will be my big purchase one of these days. I use my phone at the moment.

  • Reply Nicole Haas Etolen August 19, 2016 at 3:54 am

    Wow, such wonderful photos! You are so talented. Thanks for these tips!

  • Reply vishvarsha August 19, 2016 at 5:05 am

    To get somewhere early and get the right gear is so important! Apt tips, nice post 🙂

  • Reply Alberto Calvo August 19, 2016 at 5:21 am

    Thanks for all those tips, your photos are amazing! I always try to get up early when I’m travelling just to avoid the crowds, photos always look so much better when the streets are still quiet!

  • Reply Gabriel August 19, 2016 at 7:46 am

    I love shots of the milky way, I use one over the grand canyon as my background on my phone.

  • Reply wanderingwagarschristina August 19, 2016 at 9:16 am

    Amazing captures! I have had a lot of inspiration during my travels. Now I just have to follow the other rules so I can do a good job capturing our travel moments.

  • Reply lauren August 19, 2016 at 10:42 am

    Great tips for taking photos!

  • Reply Eloise August 19, 2016 at 8:42 pm

    loving the tips! I definitely need a upgraded/ nice camera and to , of course, follow your advice! amazing photos by the way : )

  • Reply polly674 August 20, 2016 at 11:29 am

    Thank you for your suggestions. The one “be there before anyone else” is gold… but I sometimes find hard to wake up early in order not to have people around :/

  • Reply carmyy August 20, 2016 at 5:30 pm

    I love these tips. I have a go pro and I use my friend’s rebel if needed

  • Reply Gabi August 21, 2016 at 7:42 am

    As a fan of photography myself, congrats!! Your pictures are fantastic, and your tips too. I specially agree with the one that says “get there before everyone else” – And it’s true, that reminds us, but also our public, that blogging isn’t just a collection of happy musings of going around and getting complimentary stays, it also means getting up at 5, when everyone else is sleeping away their previous night hangover, to be in the right place at the right time to get the perfect picture. Your images are such a great reminder!

    • Reply Pier Nirandara August 21, 2016 at 9:14 am

      Thank you so much for your lovely words and meaningful comment, Gabi! I’m so glad you enjoyed the post and subscribed ?

  • Reply Stella the Travelerette August 21, 2016 at 7:49 am

    These are great tips and I love your photos! I especially like the tip about trying a new angle on a familiar destination!

  • Reply Subhadrika Sen August 21, 2016 at 9:30 am

    your photos are amazing. I could so do with some tips right now. thanks for sharing them.

  • Reply Janine Good August 21, 2016 at 11:25 am

    Great post! I am an amateur photographer and these tips really helped! I appreciate it!

  • Reply Joanna August 21, 2016 at 11:28 am

    I love your photos. I usually take my Dslr with my when I travel but lately I have been relying on my phone for shorter trips. I know most of the people will say that it’s just a phone, but the camera is really good and in the end, it’s the photographer’s eye that matters, not the equipment. Some of the photos I take with the phone can be easily confused with dslr ones. 🙂

  • Reply Alina Popescu August 22, 2016 at 12:54 am

    Great tips, Pier! Your photos are absolutely stunning, so it’s great to get advice from an expert. I’d add knowing how to use your great equipment helps 😀 I bought a DSLR years ago, planned on learning how to use it and stuff. Never actually did it and I still use it on its auto setting…

  • Reply Judson L Moore August 22, 2016 at 8:10 am

    I bought a DSLR before my last trip to India and the photos were simply amazing. I just moved to Germany and the camera has not come out of the bag once.. I think I will have to change that now! Thanks for the inspiration 😀

  • Reply Dash the Map August 22, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    Thanks for the photography tips! I was actually looking for a new camera and will check out the Sony RX100. I love getting to places early to get the best shots. The early bird gets the worm!

  • Reply findinglala306 August 23, 2016 at 1:50 pm

    Many tips I can follow here – you have absolutely incredible photos. I can only wish my photos were as good.

  • Reply Inka August 24, 2016 at 11:40 am

    This are some great tips, many of them I already use on a regular bases. However i find that the most important one for all beginners is that you don’t need the most expensive Camera. I personally have a compact camera with manual features and am super happy… besides I don’t want or need to carry around 10 kg of gear.

  • Reply Prasad Np aka desi Traveler August 27, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    Some excellent tips.. I really liked the concept of unique perspective.. as it changes everything in the frame and vision

  • Reply Alyson World Travel Family August 27, 2016 at 10:39 pm

    Beautiful shots. This is something I’m working on just now. I’ve just bought my DSLR after many years of being point and shoot only ( too busy with kids!) and my first tripod. Onward and upward!

    • Reply Pier Nirandara August 29, 2016 at 10:06 am

      Oooh, so exciting! Congrats on getting your first DSLR – I’m working on a series of photography tips, and will be posting them up here really soon. Would love to know your thoughts! 🙂

  • Reply Matthew and Heather August 28, 2016 at 3:17 am

    We use the same gear except for we have a 5DS. All great gear.

    • Reply Pier Nirandara August 29, 2016 at 10:05 am

      Definitely solid gear! Thank you for reading 🙂

  • Reply Cynthia August 28, 2016 at 10:15 am

    Some great tips, and really beautiful photographs. I especially like the reminder to get a different perspective! Thanks!

  • Reply ExtraAdventure August 28, 2016 at 8:35 pm

    Beautiful photos and great tips! Thanks for this post.

  • Reply Angelic Sinova August 28, 2016 at 10:38 pm

    These are great tups for taking better travel photos. I LOVE taking photos of architecture and scenery when I’m traveling. They’re like little souvenirs/memories I can keep forever. For me, I always try and aim for a unique perspective when I’m snapping photos.

    • Reply Pier Nirandara August 29, 2016 at 9:47 am

      How true! I’d love to see your photos as well, I’m sure they’re wonderful!

  • Reply Alli Rutherford Smith August 29, 2016 at 3:13 am

    Your photos are always stunning! I’m aware of the golden hour when I’m photographing food at my house. It’s my favorite time of the day to get creamy, dreamy photos. Now I need to apply that knowledge when I’m traveling. These are all great tips and I hope to improve my travel photos.

    • Reply Pier Nirandara August 29, 2016 at 9:47 am

      Alli, thank you for the kind words! You’ve made my day. And food photography is my absolute favorite!

  • Reply dadofdivas August 29, 2016 at 3:14 am

    These are great tips! I agree with all of them! You have some great images here and I for one am always looking for ways to improve my picture taking!

  • Reply dana vento August 29, 2016 at 6:03 am

    I am all about your 8 tips for taking better travel photos, and I make sure that I take my photos and then just let the rest of the vacation unfold. I believe in enjoying it too Great tips

    • Reply Pier Nirandara August 29, 2016 at 9:45 am

      Thank you so much, Dana – I love the phrase “let the rest of the vacation unfold” – it truly speaks volumes!

  • Reply Amanda Love August 29, 2016 at 7:25 am

    Awesome tips you have here! Photography is an amazing hobby especially if you also love to travel. Aside from having a good gear, learning how to post process photos is important as well.

  • Reply Michelle Cantu (@AThriftyDiva) August 29, 2016 at 8:44 am

    I love these tips, I dream about becoming better at photography. Your photos are dreamy and you visit the coolest places.

    • Reply Pier Nirandara August 29, 2016 at 9:43 am

      Thank you so much for your kind words, Michelle! x

    • Reply Pier Nirandara August 29, 2016 at 10:00 am

      Thank you for your constant support, Michelle <3

  • Reply Jacqui S August 29, 2016 at 8:51 am

    I’ll be sharing this with my daughter. She wants to be a photographer when she is older and you can never learn too many ways. These are some great shots!

    • Reply Pier Nirandara August 29, 2016 at 9:43 am

      Aww, that’s incredible! I’d love to see her photos someday 🙂 All the best to her!

  • Reply jmanandmillerbug August 29, 2016 at 9:24 am

    My husband is a photographer, and he loves being able to read pointers that worked for other people. I’m going to show him this post because I’m betting he can get a lot out of it.

    • Reply Pier Nirandara August 29, 2016 at 9:43 am

      Thank you so much for sharing! 🙂 And I’d love to see some of his photography!

  • Reply Pam Wattenbarger August 29, 2016 at 10:37 am

    These are really helpful pointers for shooting great travel photos. I love taking photos to help me remember my amazing trips.

  • Reply lisa August 29, 2016 at 11:32 am

    I love taking pictures. I just bought myself a really good camera that I love. These are all great tips.

  • Reply Jaime Nicole August 29, 2016 at 2:12 pm

    I always like to research where I am going ahead of time as well. You can find all the secret spots to get great photos.

  • Reply Dee August 29, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    I have always wanted to take better photos so thank you so much for your tips. I do need to invest in a better camera if I want to get the quality in need for my products.

    • Reply Pier Nirandara August 29, 2016 at 4:15 pm

      Thank you so much! Hope these tips were helpful 🙂

  • Reply Jasmine Eclipse August 29, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    These are great tips and amazing photos! I don’t remember who said it, but I remember reading somewhere someone said that she doesn’t take photos when she travels because if anyone wanted to see the things she saw, they would be traveling too. I loved hearing that!

    • Reply Pier Nirandara August 29, 2016 at 4:14 pm

      Oh that’s wonderful! Such a unique statement, and so refreshing to hear 😀

  • Reply Liz Mays August 29, 2016 at 5:57 pm

    These are really helpful tips. I need to plan my photos better. I often take a bunch of pictures and hope I happened to capture a good one.

    • Reply Pier Nirandara August 29, 2016 at 11:49 pm

      Thank you so much, Liz! Hope it was helpful ?

  • Reply Brandy August 29, 2016 at 6:36 pm

    These are all great tips I really could use a good camera. I hate using my old one.

  • Reply Robin Rue August 30, 2016 at 8:16 am

    All of this is such great advice! I have never been much into photography until I started realizing I loved IG!

    • Reply Pier Nirandara August 30, 2016 at 6:53 pm

      Not a bad way to find out about your love for photography at all! 🙂 Thank you for reading!

  • Reply Chubskulit Rose August 30, 2016 at 10:49 am

    When we travel, I always take tons of pictures so I can share them to family and friends. Love the tips you shared here.

  • Reply Bonnie Gowen August 30, 2016 at 5:25 pm

    Thank you for these amazing tips! I love photography but would love to learn more.

    • Reply Pier Nirandara August 30, 2016 at 6:55 pm

      Thank you so much, Bonnie! Hope you enjoyed the read 🙂

  • Reply Bryony Clapperton (travelsandmore) September 6, 2016 at 9:48 am

    Solid advice!

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