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8 Simple Tips for Taking Amazing Travel Photos

iphone photography travel

Family vacations. Adventures with your closest friends. Exploring solo. We’re always so amazed by the travel photos that come through our printers and get turned into canvas prints and framed prints. You don’t have to be a pro photographer to capture stunning photos. Whether you have a DSLR, a point-and-shoot, or a regular smartphone, you can take beautiful photos that will reel people in.

For those of you that love going on new adventures and revisiting places you love, here’s a list of 8 simple tips for taking amazing travel photos:

1. Apply the Rule of Thirds

This rule is one of the first things that amateur photographers learn as they get comfortable with wielding a camera and lens.

Imagine your image broken down into thirds, horizontally and vertically, so that there are nine equal parts. The Rule of Thirds states that you should place points of interests at the intersections so you can create a more visually balanced image.

rule of thirds photography, two puffin penguins

Two adorable puffin penguins hanging out on a rock.

2. Be Mindful with Instagram Filters

We get it, Instagram filters are fun to use. You know what they say though, you can’t have too much of a good thing. When it comes to filters, use the one that highlights the best elements of your shot, but don’t overdo it to the point where it looks like you’ve added three different filters to one photo.

Itsukushima Shrine in Hatsukaichi, Japan

The Itsukushima Shrine in Hatsukaichi, Japan.

3. Use Natural Lighting

Play around with how natural lighting affects your photo. Take the Golden Hour, for example. To get that warm, glowing light, shoot images during the hour after sunrise or the hour before sunset; that’s when the sunlight is softer. Indeed, this will require that you wake up early, but it’s totally worth it! Just take a look at the photo below:

cute puppy in wheat field wearing BB8 costume

How can you go wrong with an adorable puppy in a BB8 costume?!

Taking photos on a bright, sunny day is perfect for bringing out the colors in an image.

colorful surf boards, palm tress and blue sky

Surf’s up, dude.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with taking photos on cloudy days, in interiors with light entering through doors and windows, and using backlight for a moody, dramatic effect.

Want your travel memories to last forever?

Turn your travel photos into wall art


4. Get Lost!

Having a plan and an itinerary when traveling is important for provide some structure to your trip, but without some pleasant surprises, how can you truly have an adventure?

Purposely getting lost and exploring the destination is exciting because you’ll come across photo opportunities you wouldn’t have had otherwise. Just remember to always take safety precautions and be alert as you normally would when traveling.

busy market in singapore on a rainy day

A busy market in Singapore on a rainy day.

5. Photograph People

Sweeping landscapes and stunning architecture always make for great photos, but you shouldn’t miss out on the special feeling of capturing a bright smile on someone’s face or a person in their element.

If you want that close-up shot, you’ll have to ask for permission. It will probably help to demonstrate genuine interest and actually have a conversation with them. You can even tip them or buy a souvenir (if they’re a vendor) after you take the photo to show your appreciation.

a man and his horse in Saqqara, Egypt

A man and his horse in Saqqara, Egypt.

6. Use Leading Lines

Simply put, leading lines in an image draw the viewer towards a point of interest or vanishing point, like they’re taking you by the hand and guiding you to a pot gold. For example:

leading lines, roads and nature

See the way the leading lines connect the foreground to the background? This is how they create depth and dimension in an image.

7. Experiment with Different Angles

Have some fun with taking shots at different angles. How does the subject look from a bird’s eye view vs straight on? How will your photo turn out if you shoot lying on your back? You might turn some heads if you contort your body into some unusual poses, but getting an epic final result is definitely worth it.

photographer taking photo of skateboarder

A photographer doing what it takes to get that action shot.

8. Get Up Close and Personal

Zoom in on objects to uncover interesting details that you wouldn’t otherwise see. You can’t deny the beauty of rolling hills of powdery white snow amidst a clear blue sky. That being said, a perfectly formed snowflake in all its symmetrical glory is a totally different kind of awesome. It’s all about gaining a different perspective and discovering the hidden treasures around you!

snowflake up close macro photo

It’s the little things in life that count – this snowflake is certainly one of them.

Want your travel memories to last forever?

Turn your travel photos into wall art


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