Suggestions from an newbie journey photographer on the best way to take higher journey images.

I’m solely an newbie 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 the best way to take higher journey images.

So I figured it was time to share a few of what I’ve discovered 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 best way to take higher journey images

Don’t fear: this isn’t a super-geeky information about fancy cameras or the best way 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 severe I grew about my journey pictures, the extra I agonized over whether or not I needs to be utilizing a correct digicam relatively than my Pixel telephone. I did quite a lot of analysis and got here away with these conclusions:

Digicam telephones have made big strides over time by way of high quality. Frankly, what most digicam telephones can do right this moment is extraordinary.

However! They’ll’t do every little thing. Even right this moment, zooming with a telephone digicam doesn’t produce the highest quality. So should you’re hoping to be an expert photographer or take completely professional-looking photos, you’ll in all probability need to spend money on a correct digital digicam.

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

What’s the take-away? Get a digicam in order for you, however there’s completely no disgrace in merely utilizing your telephone both. The best way I see it, the most effective digicam is the one you have got with you while you actually need to take an image. And your telephone might be all the time going to be with you. Simply sayin’.

I would get a correct digicam one in every of nowadays. However I’m not planning on it any time quickly.


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

Critical photographers say probably the most essential points 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 may help you body your objects.

You too can 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 would possibly assume that placing the central object within the heart of the picture is greatest, 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, relatively than merely trying on the topic and transferring on.

Additionally essential to composition are “main strains” and “symmetry.” Bear in mind once I stated you shouldn’t heart the objects in your picture?

Generally it’s best to, particularly should you can benefit from 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 completely different parts in a photograph match or mirror one another.

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

On the subject of composition, all these parts 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 attention-grabbing as attainable?

As an illustration, 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 1 aspect, 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 images 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 continuously crouching down so I can shoot up at one thing. Heck, I’ll usually lie flat on my again in an effort 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 right 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, canines, 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 in an effort to take this image…could not have been my most sensible concept.

Lighting/The Golden Hour

On the subject of lighting, right here’s a rule that’s fairly agency: the sunshine is normally greatest at dawn or sundown. Mid-day means the solar might be instantly overhead, and that mild will be harsh. It may possibly make objects look flat and fewer enticing.

The time shortly earlier than and after dawn and sundown is known as “the golden hour,” as a result of it’s, effectively, 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 a number of reds and golds. Golden hour mild can be kinder to pores and skin tones, and it creates numerous attention-grabbing shadows.

Alas, the golden hour isn’t 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 harm.

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

Then once more, if nice images have been straightforward, everybody would take them.

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

Another excuse I go for the morning golden hour for images? As a result of even at well-liked vacationer sights, I usually have locations nearly solely to myself. I get higher photos and I get a greater expertise with out having to struggle the crowds.

So right here’s one other crucial newbie photographers’ tip: when you’ve taken your images, 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 images, 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 word concerning the golden hour, both at dawn or sundown: clouds will be both your greatest good friend or your worst enemy.

Clouds sitting proper on the horizon can block the rising or setting solar, ruining every little thing. Or if they’re the proper top 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 impression.

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 recognize what are all the time my hottest images on social media?

Footage of me and my husband.

Which is sensible. Folks actually are attention-grabbing — and Brent a minimum of could be very good-looking. And should you’re an newbie journey photographer, you’re in all probability most taken with taking photos 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 photos of individuals too.

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

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

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

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

However don’t be. If I used to be capable of grasp what I’m about to let you know, you possibly can too.

If you go into the superior settings of your telephone’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 recordsdata.

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

If you happen to select JPEG, your digicam will robotically do some very primary processing and mean you can do some additional primary modifying to make your images look a bit nicer.

Simply not that a lot nicer.

However while you shoot in RAW, you need to use modifying software program to take all of that additional 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 pretty much as good as I assumed it regarded.”

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

Check out these two images.

Tips for editing your travel photos
About thirty seconds value of modifying 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 picture is manner higher. The picture is way crisper.

That’s as a result of when you have the RAW file — which I did — then you need to use modifying 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 finished. (However you are able to do it badly, making images 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 modifying in your telephone, or in Google Photograph. There are additionally free modifying 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 a bit of modifying could make a world of distinction.

Amount can imply extra high quality

Questioning the best way to take higher journey images? Take a lot of them. The extra you’re taking, the extra you’ll have to select from. And the higher a photographer you’ll grow to be.

Guess what number of photos I at present have in my Adobe Lightroom folder proper now?


And that is solely the variety of edited images. The entire variety of pics I’ve taken is…effectively, I don’t need to say, as a result of Brent will learn this text in some unspecified time in the future, and I need to keep believable deniability.

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

However as with all ability, the extra you follow, the higher you’ll grow to be.

Extra ideas for taking higher journey images

Listed below are a couple of extra issues I’ve discovered on the best way to take higher journey images:

  • Transfer round as you’re taking your images. Greater than as soon as, I’ve thought I’d taken all the most effective pictures — or thought the topic was too boring to make an excellent 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 taken with. Or I’ll Google “greatest place to take photos 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 types of issues might be completely different: the sunshine, the climate, and so forth. It’s straightforward to discover a strategy to make the picture your personal.
  • Simply stroll. When Brent and I arrive in a brand new location, we take a look at the “well-known” spots pretty shortly. However then we discover. And that’s normally the place I get the good things.
  • Even should you don’t do a lot (or any) modifying, a minimum of think about cropping your photos. Cropping helps you to repair some errors, transfer your topic to a kind of intersection factors, and produce parts out in your picture that you simply won’t have even identified have been there.
  • Develop your “photographer’s eyes” and all the time maintain them open. Actually, I feel pictures has helped me have a look at my environment far more carefully. And now I all the time discover surprising alternatives for excellent images all over the place.
  • Take the shot when you have got 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 while you rise up earlier than daybreak so much!)

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 grow to be an expert photographer. As amateurs, we take journey images as a result of we take pleasure in it, and to seize our recollections of the locations we’ve visited and the folks we all know.

Certain, you’ll in all probability share your images on social media, however nobody will admire them the best way you do. They’re your recollections, in spite of everything.

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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