How to take better travel photos

One of the great joys of travel is being able to capture some stunning memories which we can bring back with us when we return. And with the wide variety of smartphones and digital cameras available today there are way fewer restrictions to taking travel photos than we had when this Polaroid camera was in its heyday!

But there are still a few things to consider when you are about to snap that photo which could just make your pics the ones that everyone is talking about. Let’s look at a few tips.

what can you add to the photo?

As you travel the world it is very easy to be in awe of some of the almost magical locations which exist, and everyone who visits is sure to take a heap of photos before leaving each one. But perhaps before you press that shutter or phone button, think about what memory you really want that photo to stir in you 12 months from now? A photo of the Eiffel Tower is pretty amazing at any time, but what if you first had your loved one stand in front holding some great mementos of your trip to France? That photo will bring back all sorts of memories when you go home, no matter how many years have elapsed.

stop – breathe – check

Don’t you just hate it when you get home with thousands of travel photos – only to start deleting half of them because they are blurry, not level, you have a light pole sticking out of your head, etc, etc, etc. So many potentially great photos are ruined because we are in such a hurry. How silly is that, when you remember it took you 12 months to save up for the trip and here you are rushing and ruining your photos. So, next time try practicing this simple 3-step rule. STOP – BREATHE – CHECK. By following this simple procedure before you take every photo you will be surprised how many problems you can overcome by stopping, taking a deep breath, and checking to see how good the photo you have in mind looks. You might decide to move your partner, change your angle or height, turn the camera or phone vertically or horizontally, or wait until that person walks past. Do these things and you will be able to take some awesome photos you will be proud of.

where are you?

Don’t be afraid of capturing other people in your photo together with signs which immediately indicate where the photo was taken and why. It might be a greengrocer selling local produce where a chalkboard in French advertises some onions and garlic. Or it could be a street vendor under a French street sign selling locally-made bread rolls. Add some interest to your photos and you will value them later. An obviously note here is that you should never take photos of police or military officials without being sure of your rights to do so in that country, and never take photos of government buildings, military bases or airports without knowing it is okay to do so.

think about the time

If you know ahead of time that you will be visiting a well known landmark, think about whether you don’t mind other tourists being in the photo, or whether you really want to get as complete an image as possible without people being in front of the landmark. There are ways of course that you can ‘remove’ people with long exposures, and afterwards in software like Photoshop, but with a little planning you might be able to time your arrival at sunrise or sunset when the tourists are missing. I remember seeing a classic tourist photo of the Taj Mahal and there were thousands of people in front of it. And it really was a terrible photo!

DON’T be afraid to use apps or post processing software

Yeah, I known there is this age-old discussion about whether it is ‘okay’ to use some post processing software to improve your photos. But I am not talking about swapping faces or making large people thin! To me it seems common sense that if your photos can be improved by such simple things as darkening the bright highlights or lightening the dark shadows, you would want to do it. Most smartphones have a variety of photo apps to do just this, and if you use a computer there are literally millions of choices. So try it out and see if the overall quality of your travel photos does not improve.

So there you go. Five simple tips, but ones which really could make a huge difference in the overall improvement of your travel photos. I hope they make you a better photographer and tourist, and that you come home from your travels with many, many awesome snaps of your holidays.

Living each adventure,
Christine and Trevor Barre
Promoting a healthy, active, fulfilling lifestyle for all ages. Let us encourage you to Live Each Adventure. #BrandAmbassadors

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How To Take Better Travel Photos

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