Ideas from an beginner journey photographer on tips on how to take higher journey images.

I’m solely an beginner photographer, however over the previous 5 years as I’ve traveled the world as a digital nomad, I’ve acquired plenty of good compliments about my photograph’s, each on social media and in our newsletter. I’ve even had some requests for recommendation on tips on how to take higher journey images.

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 way to take higher journey images

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

Digicam telephones have made big strides through the years when it comes to high quality. Frankly, what most digital camera telephones can do at the moment is extraordinary.

However! They will’t do every part. Even at the moment, zooming with a telephone digital camera doesn’t produce the highest quality. So if you happen to’re hoping to be knowledgeable photographer or take completely professional-looking footage, you’ll most likely need to put money into a correct digital digital camera.

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

What’s the take-away? Get a digital camera in order for you, however there’s completely no disgrace in merely utilizing your telephone both. The way in which I see it, one of the best digital camera is the one you will have with you whenever you actually need to take an image. And your telephone might be at all times going to be with you. Simply sayin’.

I’d 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 best way during which you organize and body the objects within the photograph.

Critical photographers say one of the crucial vital points of composition entails one thing referred to as “the rule of the thirds.” That’s whenever you divide your image into 9 equal sectors utilizing two horizontal traces and two vertical traces. These imaginary traces can assist 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 would possibly 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 may also 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 traces — proper between Jan and Alice, and even Carol and Greg.

By placing your topic at one of many intersection factors, you permit room for the viewer’s eyes to maneuver across the picture and discover the image, relatively than merely trying on the topic and shifting on.

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

Generally it’s best to, particularly if you happen to can benefit from some aspect that focuses the photograph. Main traces, just like the stone path and partitions within the photograph on the left, beneath, draw the attention to a particular level. In the meantime, symmetry is when completely different components in a photograph match or mirror one another.

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

With regards to composition, all these components can come into play directly: the Brady Bunch rule, symmetry, and main traces.

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

As an example, an image of the Acropolis surrounded by the “symmetry” of some bushes 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 at least one aspect, 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 trying on the Acropolis was THE image.

Additionally, at all times think about 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 as a way to get the image I need.

That is often the purpose the place my husband Brent pretends he doesn’t know me.

And getting right down to your topic’s degree can actually assist seize a greater sense of who or what they’re, whether or not they be youngsters, 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 as a way to take this image…might not have been my most sensible concept.

Lighting/The Golden Hour

With regards to lighting, right here’s a rule that’s fairly agency: the sunshine is often finest at dawn or sundown. Mid-day means the solar might be instantly overhead, and that gentle might be harsh. It could possibly 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 environment. That causes it to be extra diffuse and hotter with a lot of reds and golds. Golden hour gentle can also be kinder to pores and skin tones, and it creates plenty of fascinating shadows.

Alas, the golden hour isn’t a whole hour lengthy. All of it will depend on 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 treasured minutes of excellent lighting. That is one other time when Brent would possibly fake to not know me, besides he’s often again in our house, sleeping.

Then once more, if nice images had been simple, everybody would take them.

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

One more reason I go for the morning golden hour for pictures? As a result of even at common vacationer points of interest, I typically have locations nearly fully 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 essential beginner photographers’ tip: when you’ve taken your images, put aside time to easily savor the expertise.

My favourite morning golden hour moments up to now?

  • 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 concerning the golden hour, both at dawn or sundown: clouds might be both your finest buddy 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 proper peak they will catch the rays, turning spectacular reds and golds and even purple if you happen to’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.

Folks matter

Landscapes are stunning, however you realize what are at all times my hottest images on social media?

Footage of me and my husband.

Which is sensible. Folks actually are fascinating — and Brent a minimum of may be very good-looking. And if you happen to’re an beginner journey photographer, you’re most likely most all in favour of taking footage of you and your pals anyway.

That stated, the period of selfies is kinda over. So think about all of the above strategies when taking footage 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 tips on how to get probably the most pure smile out of your topic: inform them not to consider intercourse. That nearly at all times will get fun.

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

You don’t need to need to “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 in a position to grasp what I’m about to let you know, you may too.

Once 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 data the file created by the digital camera’s picture sensor retains of every photograph.

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

Simply not that a lot nicer.

However whenever you shoot in RAW, you should utilize 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 nearly as good as I assumed it seemed.”

Which is since you’re nearly actually taking pictures in JPEG.

Check out these two images.

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 manner higher. The picture is far 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 a couple of different issues.

And, no, you aren’t “dishonest.” All you’re doing is what skilled photographers have at all times 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 at all times be the aim.)

You are able to do some enhancing in your telephone, or in Google Picture. 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 truthfully, even a bit of enhancing could make a world of distinction.

Amount can imply extra high quality

Questioning tips on how 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 turn into.

Guess what number of footage 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…properly, 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 must take this many images. I’m form of a nut.

However as with all ability, the extra you follow, the higher you’ll turn into.

Extra ideas for taking higher journey images

Listed here are a couple of extra issues I’ve realized on tips on how 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 one of the best photographs — 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 hold of pics of various places I is likely to be all in favour of. Or I’ll Google “finest place to take footage in Amsterdam.” There’s nothing fallacious with benefiting from the work of others. Even if you happen to 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 simple to discover a approach to make the photograph your individual.
  • 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 often the place I get the good things.
  • Even if you happen to don’t do a lot (or any) enhancing, a minimum of think about cropping your footage. Cropping allows you to repair some errors, transfer your topic to a kind of intersection factors, and convey components out in your photograph that you simply won’t have even recognized had been there.
  • Develop your “photographer’s eyes” and at all times maintain them open. Actually, I feel pictures has helped me have a look at my environment far more carefully. And now I at all times discover surprising alternatives for excellent images all over the place.
  • Take the shot when you will have 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 after I return, the sunshine is fallacious. Or I can’t keep in mind the place I used to be within the first place. (This occurs extra whenever 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 most likely not studying this text to turn into knowledgeable 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 most likely share your images on social media, however nobody will respect them the best way you do. They’re your recollections, in spite of everything.

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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