9 Tips for Taking Better Travel Photos

1. Think “people, places, things” and try to get all three in your shot. The best travel photos will be about all three.
2. Get closer. The closer you get to your subject, the more detail you can capture.

peruvian girl in the sacred valley during andes eco tour
Sacred Valley, Peru. Copyright: Reefs to Rockies.

3. Rule of thirds – the basis for well balanced and interesting shots. Click here for more information on what this means and how it impacts photo quality.
4. Shoot during the “golden hour” (also called “magic hour”). For many photographers, this is the time of day with the best lighting for outdoor photography. It’s the first hour after sunrise and the last hour of light before sunset.
5. Think outside the postcard. The obvious shots are what you see on a postcard rack. Shoot something different.

mozambique reefs to rockies
Strolling the streets of Ilha de Mozambique. Copyright Reefs to Rockies.

6. Shoot the local cuisine. It’s often the highlight of a trip so why not photograph it?
7. Incorporate color. Colors help create the mood of an image. Developing an eye for color will add interest.

Skulls - Veracruz, Mexico.  Copyright Reefs to Rockies.
Skulls – Veracruz, Mexico. Copyright Reefs to Rockies.

8. Get up early. A place looks completely different when you’re up before everyone else. The low angle of the sun also allows you to shoot directly into it. You’ll also be taking advantage of Tip #4.

Peru Amazon sunrise eco tour
Sunrise – Peruvian Amazon. Copyright Reefs to Rockies.

9. Learn about the location (country, culture, landscape) before leaving home. Are there any special events, monuments, markets you should try to incorporate in the itinerary. It’s also helpful to search images of the destination beforehand to see what other photographers have shot in the past.

In a nutshell – it all comes down to lighting and composition. Learn as many rules as you can about those two and then start breaking them.