8 Ways to Take Better Travel Photos

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Pretty much the only thing I bring home from a trip is our photos. Sometimes a ring or a little dish or something, but I’m kind of a minimalist, and I don’t like to buy things everywhere we go. I cherish those memories that we make and the moments we spend together exploring a new place though, so I love having photos to hang in our home or put in a book to look back on and laugh at and hopefully have my children look through one day. I know that might sound cheesy, but some of my very favorite photos of my parents from before I was born are the ones of them on the beach in Portugal or wandering through temples in Thailand. There’s something about those little moments of time that make me connect with my parents and see them in a whole new light, and that makes up a lot of what photography means to me.

Research before you go:

Traveling requires a lot of planning ahead already, but if you want to get the best

pictures while you’re away, you’ll have to plan for that too. You probably won’t have a lot of time to figure it out while you’re on the road, so doing it beforehand will really help you make sure you get the perfect shot. We love to search for spots and ideas on Instagram, Pinterest, and even Google maps.

Take a different perspective:

With that being said, it’s easy to take the same shot you’ve seen on Instagram a dozen times, and while it’s unique to you, you’ll feel more creative when you create your own art. Tell your own story! Even if you’re in the same spot, take the shot at a different angle, turn the corner and find something new, be the creator of your own art. That’s what makes photography so exciting and interesting–finding what’s new and different.

Wake up early:

Some of the best light of the day is right after sunrise. Plus, there normally aren’t as many tourists out at 6 am, so waking up early is a win-win when it comes to photography. Sometimes we even wake up before sunrise, go take pictures right after sunrise, and then head back to our hotel to take a nap before going out again later.

Avoid traveling during the busy season too. Not only is everything more expensive, hotels and activities, but there will be people everywhere, which is not only annoying, but it also makes it harder to get the best photos.

Look for details:

Color, texture, height, lines. Whether it’s the color of the ocean, a wall of skyscrapers, or the lines in the desert sand, it’s the small details that can make an image so captivating. I love standing where the oceans meet the sand and trying to capture those soft bubbles the ocean creates. That’s also why we love our drones so much! There are so many patterns and textures to see from above.

Use People to Add Perspective:

Landscapes are captivating, but what makes them seem even more immense and enchanting is showing how massive the landscape is. Adding people into your photo also adds to the story and allows other people to place themselves in the moment.

Light light light:

My dad’s in real estate and he always says everything is about “location location location.” Well as a photographer, I live by the idea of “lighting lighting lighting.” While the location can be pretty important, the light is definitely what makes the photo. We love shooting right before sunset to capture those soft, creamy yellow tones, but we also love shooting at high noon to get those bright, fun, happy colors. The light really sets the stage for the story you’re trying to tell, so make sure you know what story you’re trying to tell and then pick the time of day you want to shoot based on that.

Always have your camera ready:

You never know when you’re going to stumble upon a pink pelican. It’s real. It happened. And if I hadn’t had my camera out, I never would’ve caught that moment. Capturing real laughter doesn’t just happen. I always have my camera in my hand, so I can just lift it to my eye and snap away. Sure, it’s probably a lot more comfortable to keep it in my backpack, but it’s worth it to capture those one-of-a-kind moments.

Don’t forget to take selfies:

Selfies are fun and exciting and generally the funniest moments to look back on. Some of my favorite photos are the ones that aren’t posed or planned. They’re the ones that I took on my phone when we were sitting on a bench exhausted from a long day of traveling, but there’s a happiness in our eyes that I’ll hold on to forever.

Have fun! Photography is an art form and art is all about using the left side of your brain and expressing yourself, so use your photos to express yourself and show what you’re seeing, how much fun you’re having, and those little moments you don’t want to forget– like the gelato melting before you can eat it because it’s so hot outside, but you’re laughing so hard trying to lick it off your hand before you lose it. Because trust me, those are the moments you’re going to want to remember.