Ideas from an novice journey photographer on the right way to take higher journey images.

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 loads of good compliments about my picture’s, each on social media and in our newsletter. I’ve even had some requests for recommendation on the right way to take higher journey images.

So I figured it was time to share a few of what I’ve realized 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 images

Don’t fear: this isn’t a super-geeky information about fancy cameras or the right 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.

Digital camera vs Cellphone

The extra severe I grew about my journey images, the extra I agonized over whether or not I must be utilizing a correct digital camera relatively than my Pixel telephone. I did a substantial amount of analysis and got here away with these conclusions:

Digital camera telephones have made big strides through the years by way of high quality. Frankly, what most digital camera telephones can do immediately is extraordinary.

However! They will’t do every part. Even immediately, zooming with a telephone digital camera doesn’t produce the very best quality. So should you’re hoping to be knowledgeable photographer or take completely professional-looking photos, you’ll most likely wish to spend money on a correct digital digital camera.

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

What’s the take-away? Get a digital camera if you need, however there’s completely no disgrace in merely utilizing your telephone both. The best way I see it, the very best digital camera is the one you have got 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 certainly one of nowadays. However I’m not planning on it any time quickly.


The “composition” of a photograph is the way in which during which you prepare and body the objects within the picture.

Severe photographers say one of the vital vital facets of composition entails one thing known 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 can too consider the previous Brady Bunch opening credit, besides with out the Bradys.

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

You may assume that placing the central object within the heart of the picture is finest, proper the place Alice is. And it may be! However that will also be a bit static or boring.

So take into account 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 wanting on the topic and transferring on.

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

Typically you must, particularly should you can reap the benefits of some ingredient 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 terms of composition, all these components can come into play without delay: 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 potential?

As an illustration, 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 previous 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 facet, 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 images of the Acropolis, I noticed this older man and knew an image of him wanting on the Acropolis was THE image.

Additionally, all the time take into account the angle you shoot issues from. My knees HATE me for it, however I’m continually crouching down so I can shoot up at one thing. Heck, I’ll typically lie flat on my again with a view 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 degree 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 with a view 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 can be straight overhead, and that gentle might be harsh. It could 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 via extra ambiance. That causes it to be extra diffuse and hotter with plenty of reds and golds. Golden hour gentle can be kinder to pores and skin tones, and it creates loads of fascinating shadows.

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

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

Then once more, if nice images have 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 images? As a result of even at in style vacationer points of interest, I typically have locations virtually fully to myself. I get higher photos 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 images, 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 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 be aware in regards to the golden hour, both at dawn or sundown: clouds might be both your finest good friend 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 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 influence.

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 Cut up, Croatia.

Individuals matter

Landscapes are lovely, however you realize what are all the time my hottest images on social media?

Footage of me and my husband.

Which is sensible. Individuals actually are fascinating — and Brent no less than may be very good-looking. And should you’re an novice journey photographer, you’re most likely most excited by taking photos of you and your mates anyway.

That stated, the period of selfies is kinda over. So take into account all of the above methods when taking photos 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 the right way to 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 Need to Edit? Plus, What’s JPEG vs RAW?

You don’t wish to need to “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 let you know, you may too.

While you go into the superior settings of your telephone’s digital camera, there’s a place the place you may select whether or not you need your digital camera 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 digital camera’s picture sensor retains of every picture.

When you select JPEG, your digital camera will routinely do some very primary processing and assist you to do some additional primary enhancing to make your images look a bit nicer.

Simply not that a lot nicer.

However while you shoot in RAW, you should utilize enhancing software program to take all of that further info captured by your digital camera to edit your picture.

I’m certain 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 appeared.”

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

Check out these two images.

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 manner higher. The picture is way crisper.

That’s as a result of when you’ve got the RAW file — which I did — then you should utilize 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 completed. (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 aim.)

You are able to do some enhancing in your telephone, or in Google Photograph. There are additionally free enhancing apps like Snapseed. Personally, I exploit 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 actually, even a bit enhancing could make a world of distinction.

Amount can imply extra high quality

Questioning the right way to take higher journey images? 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 change into.

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 whole variety of pics I’ve taken is…nicely, 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 must take this many images. I’m type of a nut.

However as with all ability, the extra you observe, the higher you’ll change into.

Extra ideas for taking higher journey images

Listed below are just a few extra issues I’ve realized on the right way to take higher journey images:

  • Transfer round as you are taking your images. Greater than as soon as, I’ve thought I’d taken all the very best pictures — or thought the topic was too boring to make a great image — solely to maneuver up or down, or sideways, to find a more energizing angle.
  • Analysis a location forward of time. I admit that I’ll go to Instagram and get your hands on pics of various places I is likely to be excited by. Or I’ll Google “finest place to take photos in Amsterdam.” There’s nothing unsuitable with benefiting from the work of others. Even should you go to the identical spot to take a photograph, all types 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 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) enhancing, no less than take into account cropping your photos. 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 simply won’t have even identified have been there.
  • Develop your “photographer’s eyes” and all the time maintain them open. Truthfully, I feel images has helped me take a look at my environment far more carefully. And now I all the time discover sudden alternatives for nice 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 wished to take an image of and thought, “Oh, I’ll get that later.” Besides after I return, the sunshine is unsuitable. 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 quite a bit!)

An important tip of all

Take the photographs you need for the explanations you need.

You’re most likely not studying this text to change into knowledgeable photographer. As amateurs, we take journey images as a result of we get pleasure from it, and to seize our recollections of the locations we’ve visited and the individuals we all know.

Certain, you’ll most likely share your images on social media, however nobody will admire them the way in which 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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