9 Tips to Improve Your Travel Photography

1. Plan your shots

I use Instagram to research and scout locations I would like to photograph, and use the Save feature to make an album of all the bookmarked shots. Making note of all the locations you are interested in shooting can help you plan an efficient schedule and save time for relaxing and exploring at leisure. 

2. Be respectful of the location and the locals

Many travel destinations will have colorful markets that make for great photo backdrops. One tip if you want to take photos in a market or a shop, is to be sure to ask for permission of the owner, or even better, buy something from them! You will feel more welcome and at ease and the photo you take can be a nice memento of the place where you purchased your souvenir. Dress appropriately, and set an example for your followers that will be inspired by your photos.

3. Be respectful of the animals

Especially if you plan to share your photos on social media, be conscious of the environmental impact of the activity and whether all animals involved are treated ethically and safely. Never ride an elephant or photograph a sleeping tiger that is most likely drugged and abused. Even if you visit a place that may insist they are a “rescue” or “orphanage”, do your research. Do your research for your followers too- when sharing your photos, include a reminder how important it is to only visit places that treat animals ethically. Unfortunately because there are so many unethical places out there, an image you take at an ethical place can inspire someone to visit a place that is unethical if they don’t know any better.

4. Be respectful of other travelers

In some cultures it is rude to take someone’s photo, especially if you don’t get their permission ahead of time. Be courteous of those who you are including in your photo and alternatively, always be respectful of the people you are trying not to include in your photo! Many of us prefer photos with no one else in the background, but if you are shooting in a crowded area this is not always easy to achieve. Be patient and polite and understand that the other visitors are there for the same reason you are. Read my next tip to learn how you can better your chances of a crowd-free photo!

5. Get up early!

The best lighting is when the sunlight is soft in the early morning or late in the afternoon. Midday sun is the harshest, and is the least ideal for taking photos. Cloudy days are great for taking photos as the sunlight becomes diffused, and the clouds can also add depth and drama to the background. The biggest advantage to shooting in the early morning (around sunrise) is that you will beat the crowds and be able to make the most of your day!

6. Consider the composition of your photograph

I personally think great travel photos are background focused- you need to show where you are! Take photos that you literally cannot take anywhere else- show something unique to the location you are visiting. Too often I see a photo captioned "Beautiful view of the Eiffel Tower" only to click through and see a selfie that could have been taken anywhere! 

7. For photos to be shared on social media, Smartphones are excellent cameras

The quality of photographs shot on a smartphone has improved dramatically over recent years, and below is a selection of some accessories and tools that could help you create the perfect photo while traveling. For the solo traveler, one trick is to use a tripod and wireless remote to take your own photos. Underwater housings and drones can also help you see new perspectives and shoot interesting angles.

8. For photos to be shared on a webpage or blog, Consider investing in a higher quality camera

I have always believed that the best camera you have is the one you know how to use. For this reason I have always preferred point-and-shoots over DSLR cameras, partly because for me many of the DSLR's features were unnecessary and because the added size of the DSLR took up valuable real estate in my luggage while traveling. There are many great point-and-shoots out there that have all the features you need as a travel photographer or travel blogger. Check out the list below for some options, including the camera I use: Canon G9X Mark II. If you are not yet sure which one to invest in, there's a great site called Lensrentals.com that lets you rent cameras and equipment. Click here for $25 off your first order.

9. Protect your investment

Travel photography has its risks, especially if you are a woman: carrying around expensive tech and appearing distracted (having your eye in the viewfinder of your camera) can make you a target for theft. Consider protecting your investment with accessories to make your equipment more secure or purchase insurance for your camera. Our favorite piece to travel with is an external battery that doubles as a backup hard drive for your photos!


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