How To: Take Amazing Travel Pictures

Updated: Sep 11, 2019

I love photography and I’m always on the lookout for inspiration, tips and tricks. I thought it could be helpful to share some of the essential tips I’ve found to be really beneficial - no matter what you're shooting with.

#1: Lighting

Lighting really is key and the time of day will really change this. The same location at midday vs after sunset has a very different look, especially when you need shadows or tones to work in your favour. Take note of what you’re wanting to capture and how the light and colours are working at that certain time of day.

Sunrise I know, the last thing you want to do on your holiday is get up early. But even if you chose a day or two here and there, maybe if you have an early bus to catch, set your alarm a few hours earlier and go for an early morning walk. You’ll be amazed at how different a city feels at sunrise, plus the absolute best part is that there will be hardly anyone around getting in your shots.

The first picture was taken in Kotor at 6am. The second, at 10am.


Do long shadows distract what you’re wanting to capture? When the sun is highest and brightest you can get some really beautifully coloured pictures without any heavy shadows.

The first picture was taken in Oia at midday. The second, at 3pm.


Contrary to popular belief, taking photos at sunset is not when you should whip out your camera. The blaring sun against the shadowed landscape makes for an impossible composition. Instead, wait for just after the sun has set and the hues in the sky will become beautifully pastel and maybe even reflect off the clouds.

These photos were taken 10 minutes apart in Cinque Terre after sunset:

Or these, taken at midday and at dusk in Santorini. Both work beautiful, but dusk gives a completely different feeling:

#2: Rule of Thirds

There’s a reason Instagram has that nine-square grid when you’re cropping your pictures. The Rule of Thirds is a famous technique in photography, video and art and helps to create aesthetically pleasing images. I've drawn some rough lines on the below to give you an idea of a few tricks:

Put your focus on the centre square:

When photographing landscapes, try aligning the horizon with one of the horizontal lines, usually the bottom one.

Try balancing the majority of the detail in 3 squares:

Or perhaps most of the information only in the bottom horizontal squares:

It’s all about positioning the most important elements in different variations of the squares, to create a balanced composition.

#3: Think outside the box

Yes, you’re in Pisa. And yes, you want to get a picture of the Leaning Tower and yes you want to look like you’re holding it up. But what other shots can you take? Have you thought about how it looks when you’re looking straight up at the building?

Or down onto the swimmers at the beach?

What does the Parthenon’s ceiling look like?

Personally, I think this is why drone photography is really taking off lately. Photographing something you've seen a million times and making it feel new is a real skill.

#4: Pick your focus

Take It’s hard to try and crop things out of your shot, especially when there is so much to capture! But try to be restrictive and pick one key feature to focus on. Is it a person? Or a building? Choose your centre focus and let the rest of the scene work harmoniously behind.

#5: Perspective & Depth

One of the most easily forgotten tricks is to add depth into your shot, to create something new and appealing. Something as simple as shooting between leaves or flowers, or finding an unlikely feature can give the image a whole new perspective and put your own spin on famously photographed locations.

Want to know how to take great travel pictures of yourself? This can be a little tricky if you’re travelling alone, so take a read of How to: Take pictures when you’re travelling solo.

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