10 Vacation Photography Tips: How to Take Better Travel Photos

Good vacation photography is an essential skill if you want to share your experiences on social media and preserve your travel memories. It can be a really fun hobby, too! But how do you take good pictures when traveling? Read these easy photography tips below so you can take better travel photos whenever you travel. 

CONTENTS – In this article, you will learn expert vacation tips so you can get incredible travel photos on your next trip, including:

Best Tips For Taking Incredible Travel Photos

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and rightfully so! It can be challenging to describe the beautiful things you saw during your travels, but a picture can say it all. 

The truth is travel photography entails a lot, from vacation snaps, nature photography to capturing shots of popular monuments and other amusing and fascinating scenes you may encounter during your trip. 

Whether you are like the 65% of Americans planning to travel more this year or simply looking to pursue a career in travel photography, you would want to ensure your travel pictures exhibit the beauty you see before you. 

So you need to ask yourself, “How do I shoot better travel photos?” Here is how you can best capture your moments:

1. Know the Right Locations

Here is one of the best travel photography tips for beginners that you can do from home.

Knowing the right location plays a significant role in the quality of pictures you will take. Your pictures may not be the only ones coming from a particular destination–especially a relatively popular one. 

You shouldn’t let this pop your bubble. On the contrary, this is an advantage! 

You can find means and ways of allowing your pictures to tell a different story. By researching your location before you travel, you can find out more about it and explore ways to tell a unique story.

2. Talk to the Locals

A fascinating thing about travel photography is capturing the daily activities of local people within a location. It gives onlookers and observers a sense of the everyday lives of local people from other parts of the world. 

Before you go ahead to do the same, you should speak to the local people. It is better to ask for consent before you take photos of them not to invade their privacy. There may also be some social and cultural rites that need to be preserved, and you would want to ensure you do not disrespect them. 

Talking to the locals helps you explore and learn more about your destination, including its culture and language. It also fosters good relationships.

Be clear on the types of photography as well as the subject matter/style you’re hoping to capture, whether that is:

  • Aerial Photography
  • Architecture Photography
  • Botanical Photography
  • Environmental Portrait Photography
  • Event Photography
  • Fashion Photography
  • Food Photography
  • Landscape Photography
  • Photojournalism
  • Portrait Photography
  • Self-y Photography
  • Sports Photography
  • Street Photography
  • Other photo interest

A local person can be very helpful in helping you find the right place for these types of photos. In most travel circumstances, you’ll want to include a blend of styles and subject matter. But if you have a preference for one particular kind, let that be known.

3. Get Reliable Photography Equipment

Well, to get great travel pictures, you need a reliable camera and other photography essentials. Be sure to take your charger, spare batteries, a tripod, and various lenses (we will look at that later). 

It is essential to go along with this equipment to ensure you are always prepared to take the perfect shot. You can also use drones to take beautiful bird’s eye view images, but be sure to clarify if these devices are acceptable in your preferred destination. 

You should also ensure that you take out camera insurance to preserve your investment should it go missing or get damaged.

However, using your smartphone is also a great way to capture moments during your travels. It is essential to ensure you have ample space to keep all the pictures you take. 

A good way to clear your smartphone space is to use an app to find duplicate photos and automatically delete them. That will ensure you save more space.

Related Article: Best Gifts for Travel Photography Lovers

4. Utilize Versatile Lenses

Travel photography’s freedom and unpredictability are mainly attributed to the wide variety of lenses you can use to capture various moments in a unique way. 

For example, some travel photographers prefer zoom lenses to avoid missing those once-in-a-lifetime moments because you have to switch to a prime lens. 

A prime lens can offer you a large aperture to prevent extended exposure and the need to use flash units. 

The most versatile lenses provide an ideal combination of ability and flexibility for shooting in low light. 

Compact lenses are likewise perfect for maneuvering while traveling.

5. Don’t Ignore those Little Moments

Nothing is more captivating than the little quirks that often go unnoticed during a shooting. Keeping an open mind about your travel destination can help you capture the little moments and make the most from them. 

It could be a flower on a balcony, the ground’s patterned tiles, or colorful socks hanging on the clothing line.

The best photographers capitalize on the ideal time to shoot, too. The “golden hour“–the last hour before sunset and the first hour after sunrise–adds a gorgeous glow to just about everything.

You will find it fascinating to see the difference these small details can make for your shoot, so keep your eye out for them!

6. Get Social on Social Media

Social media is an excellent place to start if you are interested in travel photography. In addition to sharing your own photos, these platforms are a fantastic place for searching shooting locations.

It helps to get clever with your keyword searches to find the right approach to inspire your shooting to the next level. Seek out travel photography hashtags while you’re at it to increase your own organic reach on social media platforms.

Generally, travelers are friendly, so you can make a personal connection. That means you don’t have to hesitate to contact your favorite photographers with a question. You can start by complimenting their projects and proceed to ask for location ideas and tips.

7. Blend with Your New Surroundings

What is worse than having someone smiling and pointing at your camera in the corner of your shot? Although it can be tricky, it is essential to try and blend in with the scene as much as naturally possible to avoid “photobombing.”

You can benefit here from using small, discrete camera lenses or even your smartphone. Street photography is a genre in itself, but it’s now common to see photographers attempting blind shots from the hip in specific scenarios.

However, this can be tricky and require some practice, skill, and experience. So you might just want to practice this technique randomly at home. By the time you take your vacation, you’ll be an old hand at taking discrete photos.

And don’t rule out time-lapse photography for some unique shots!

8. Be Patient

For the perfect shot, you need patience. Patience is vital, as you can quickly shoot a fantastic photo or ruin what could have been something magical if you waited a bit for the right moment.

Indeed, society is now super-fast paced, yet travel photography is an exception. Some shots may even require you to wake at dawn to shoot natural scenery.

Practice and patience can be critical commodities at this point. You’ll still want to take some shots right in the moment so you don’t miss it. But also, practice extending the pause to catch another perfect shot.

9. Pack Light

Taking care of your gear is one problem many travel photographers face. You can easily break your camera in transit or even have dust easily ruin your photographs. 

This is why it is crucial to secure yourself and your gear correctly. Unfortunately, this can lead to packing so much, dragging down your movements, and costing a lot of money. 

Worse, you will probably spend a lot of time on your feet for travel photography, and traveling with so much can be unbearably uncomfortable. 

Instead, you’ll want to pack lightweight. The trick is to focus on bringing only the items to help capture the best shots. You will have to be selective with your lenses and other equipment with weight in mind. This might require you to be a little more nimble and creative, which ultimately is a good thing!

Related Article: If you love the idea of packing light, this article features 5 travel essentials to pack in your carry-on.

10. Have Fun with Photography!

Although you may enjoy capturing the beauty of your location, your camera can’t capture it all! Be sure not to be too engrossed in your photograph that you forget to enjoy your time away. Try new food, make new friends, go on adventures, and visit intriguing places.

That way, you’ll create memories and get lost in the beauty of traveling.

And for those memories that can’t be captured on film, you may just want to also keep a travel journal. Even though a picture may be worth a thousand words, the two go hand in hand.

Final Thoughts on Vacation Photography Tips

Travel experiences can be fleeting and life-changing at the same time. When you capture your travels with vacation photography, you can share and relive the adventure long after the trip ends. With these tips, your travel photos are going to be truly beautiful!

Photo credit: Feature photo by Matt Hardy (Pexels), all others courtesy of Canva Pro.

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Jackie Gately

Jackie Gately is a seasoned travel writer, photographer, and marketing consultant who is passionate about travel. She loves casual-luxury experiences, coastal getaways, cultural attractions, and local, wholesome food and wine pairings. A perfect day ends with her toes in the sand or by chasing the sunset with her camera--ideally both.

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