Have you become inspired to enhance your travel photos? Whether you have become obsessed with creating a better Instagram feed, or just want to relive your travel memories, this post is for you. Now is the time to dive into some simple, yet effective, strategies to create stunning travel photos that stand out.
These tips will help you out with light, poses, and what to pack on your next travel adventure. If you are frustrated with how your photos are coming out, then these tips are for you. Training your photography eye takes time. However, with the right strategies and a little practice, you will be taking incredible travel photos in no time.
The ability to capture the right photo takes work. A quality camera is just the starting point. Now you must challenge yourself to learn how to take an amazing photo for your next getaway. Whether you enjoy taking pictures for fun, or aspire to work as a photographer, here are the best tips to get you started on your journey.
Where to Start to Create Incredible Photos?
You could just head out and start taking pictures. However, if you take some time learning how to set up your photos, it will help your travel photos stand out. An hour upfront could save you tons of time trying to fix your travel photos once you return home from your trip.
There is no right or wrong way to take a photo. But if you are serious about improving your photos, then you are going to want to consider the following strategies:
15 Tips to Create Incredible Travel Photos that Stand Out
1. Get Comfortable Being Yourself to Create the Most Authentic Travel Photos that Stand Out
It can be uncomfortable to take unique photos when in a crowded location. But get used to it! You should not shy away from taking stunning photos just because you are surrounded by a ton of people.
The more you do it, the more comfortable you will become. Who cares who is watching you!
However, if you want to ease into taking photos around people than head out early in the morning. Get an early start to your day for less people in the background and more privacy. But after awhile you will not even notice other people around when you are taking your travel photos.
2. Look Natural
Candid poses are some of the best, especially if you are not a very photogenic person. Capturing a moment is best done without a strict pose. These are the most natural and really capture the true moment.
Although, these can be hard to get if you are the only photographer in your travel group. If you are unable to get candid poses, then try to replicate them as best as you can. Natural poses will add quality to your travel photos that make them stand out.
3. Pay Attention to Your Posture
Posture, posture, posture. Make sure you stay aware of your body position for any posed photos. Try to avoid being slumped over, or having limp arms in your travel pictures. Your body posture can easily ruin your photos.
Keep in mind these tips when posing: avoid a slumped back, open up your chest, and keep energy in your body. If you have a problem with maintaining proper body posture, then try to use your surroundings to assist.
Do not become lifeless. If you are always slumped over, make sure to sit against a wall to stay upright. Or if you notice your arms always look out of place, then try holding an object to make your body position appear more natural. Props can go a long way with improving your posture.
Either way, always make it a priority to do a quick check before the photographer clicks the button.
4. Do Your Homework Before You Get to Your Destination
Research a place before you get there. If you know what is around the area, then it can help improve your photos dramatically. However, still leave room for being spontaneous. If you see a spot that would be perfect for a photo, then stop and take one.
You want to avoid leaving a destination without capturing the photo you really wanted. Just a few minutes researching before you leave your house could allow for you to snap that perfect photo. Too many times you will leave a destination and see another picture of it that you wish you were able to capture while you were there.
Thus, you are going to want to look for some inspiration ahead of time. Take an idea from someone else and put your own personal spin on it. Thoroughly knowing your travel destinations helps to create the best photos that stand out.
5. Research Poses to Take Better Travel Photos
Take time to learn a ton of different poses. This can be extremely helpful when you are in a rush, especially when trying to take photos during sunset. You will become familiar with what poses you like in which types of landscapes.
Having a reservoir of poses in your mind can help to determine which ones fit the landscape the best. Of course, you will likely narrow down your list to just a few of your favorites. But having backups in mind will help tremendously.
6. Learn the Power of Light to Create Travel Photos that Stand Out
As you take more and more photos you learn that light is a powerful tool to creating stunning photos. The best times for lighting are around the hours of sunrise and sunset. These hours of the day provide the softest light for portraits, especially in the outdoors.
Your landscape matters for what time of day is best to shoot. Early morning, after the sun has come up a bit, can provide great opportunities for popping the blues in oceans and lighting up the shadows of a forest. You must understand your subject and plan accordingly to capture the best image.
Always pay attention to your surroundings. A simple step behind a tree to block the sun, or making sure you are not facing directly into the light will improve your travel photos. Typically, the middle of the day should be avoided. At this time harsh shadows and extremely bright highlights make portraits difficult. If you must shoot at this time, make sure to use a ND filter and avoid being in the brightest light at your location.
Understand what you want to shoot and plan which part of the day would be best for capturing an incredible travel photo.
7. Find Your Light
Light can make or break a photo. In addition to shooting at the best times, make sure to always pay attention to where the light is in your photo. Stay flexible to adjusting your position.
Keep in mind to avoid harsh light on faces, and whenever possible shoot in the shade during the brightest hours of the day. Post-edits will not make up for bad lighting in your photos. It will be extremely hard to edit afterwards and will never leave you with a perfect picture.
If unsure you can always do a test shot. Harsh sun or rough shadows on your face will keep your travel photos from standing out.
8. Get Up Early and Stay Out Late
Early morning and late in the day around sunset will be your best opportunities for creating stunning travel photos. On top of better lighting, the early morning gives you a higher chance of traveling to destinations when they are not crowded.
Waking up early and traveling off-season can be helpful strategies to avoiding the crowds. If you want to start creating photos that stand out, then you must be willing to put a little extra work into your photography. In addition, you will never regret watching more sunrises in your life, especially in a beautiful destination.
9. Create a Plan Before You Head Out
Save yourself the frustration now. This is where doing some research can go a long way with improving your travel photos. Prepare for your photos before you reach a destination. A plan can get you to a destination with the best lighting conditions, and allow for you to capture a unique image from a different angle.
An idea before you head out will allow for you to improve your photography. Otherwise, you will reach locations at the wrong times, or be running around to find the best spot before the sun goes down.
Create a plan before you go and your pictures will improve.
10. Pack With Your Photo Locations in Mind
Have you studied your favorite travel photos? One thing many have in common is that the subject stands out from the background. Do you think having a green dress in front of a jungle will stand out? Definitely not.
In fact, if you want to create a stunning photo that pops, you are going to have to plan your wardrobe out prior to leaving for your trip.
Traveling involves precise packing. You need to plan your outfits to create stunning travel photos. Always think about where you are going to shoot the most and bring outfits that will pop against your background.
Color contrast provides another dimension to your travel photos. Additionally, bring clothes you are comfortable in. It does not matter how nice your outfits look if you do not look comfortable in them. You will be able to tell in your photos.
11. Use the Rule of Thirds to Create Stunning Travel Photos that Stand Out
The key to creating stunning pictures is positioning. When you position yourself in your scenery, the rule of thirds can be extremely helpful. Breaking your background into thirds helps to position yourself in a flattering location.
Using the rule of thirds works for everything in your photo. Additionally, the rule of thirds helps you to place key parts of your background. Avoiding a photo with too much sky, or foreground, can ruin your chance at creating a photo that stands out.
12. Angles Completely Change Your Photo
Finding the best angles takes work and some experimenting. Always try to change it up, until your find a few that work very well for your style of photography. The angle at which you take your photo will determine your composition, how you look, and the story you tell.
Certain angles have the power to bring your image to life. You can improve your angles by turning your position, moving the camera, or using your environment. For example, you may see a rock in the foreground of your subject. Try changing up your angle to create a unique image using what is around in your environment. Who knows, you may end up creating your favorite image of the trip!
13. Change Up Which Direction You Face
Early mornings can be rough. Don’t worry. If you are having an off day, or just do not feel like posing, than you can just face away from the camera. Pictures of you looking off into the distance can be just as incredible.
Pictures of your face are great; however, sometimes change it up and face away from the camera. If you feel as though you look unnatural, use this position. This allows for you to still be in the picture while emphasizing the background.
14. Always Capture Real Emotions in Your Photos
Capturing a real laugh, or the look of defeat on a difficult climb up a mountain are way better than just a posed photo at the top. Nothing paints a better picture than true emotion. Authentic emotion in your travel photos will make them stand out from the rest.
Meanwhile, always make sure to have fun and joke around while you have a photo shoot. Never let capturing the perfect photo stop you from enjoying your time traveling a new place.
15. Keep Experimenting to Create Amazing Travel Photos that Stand Out
If you have the time, always try new poses and angles. The only way to know what works the best is to experiment with new ideas.
Of course, while traveling you will not always have the time to take a bunch of different poses. However, when available, do not be afraid to try something different.
Create Incredible Travel Photos that Stand Out
The key to taking the right photo is to always be seeking inspiration. Getting ideas from social media, experimenting, and taking the time to practice your photography will leave you with creating incredible photos in no time.
If you are looking to dive deeper into adventure travel photography, check out 30 Adventure Photography Tips to Create Stunning Photos or 10 Tips to Create Incredible Drone Photos.
Figuring out what works for you will take some time. Once you find those poses that work for you, taking incredible pictures will become easy. Try out a few of these strategies and you will see your travel photography skills skyrocket.
Of course, these tips will only be the starting point. Always stay open to expanding your creativity. Check out Jimmy Chin, or other adventure travel photographers for more epic ideas. Now get out there and start shooting!