How To – Beginners Guide To Travel Photography

Travel Photography for Bloggers

To me having a good visual aid to help tell your travel stories is as important as everything else when being a travel blogger. Not everyone is a born photographer though and it might not come as naturally to take good photos while travelling.
I am by no means a professional but I have had 15 years of travelling and Travel Photography experience and I have learnt a few things along the way that might help anyone that is a bit lost or wants to improve their photos.

Back in 2007 I went on a trip to Costa Rica and Bahamas, this is probably where I wish most that my photography skills and equipment was better. The photos were by no means bad but they were low quality and I took more photos of faces or random places when I should have focused on telling more of a story with the photos I was taking. You learn as you go though and through the years I have become way more conscious of how I want to photograph the area that I am visiting.

Travel Photographyย is not always about having the most expensive equipment although a good quality phone or camera ( note that it doesn’t not mean the one with the highest price tag ) it’s more about who is taking the photo than anything else.

My Gear:

Canon 5D Mark III with 24-70mm lens
Gopro Hero 5
Karma Grip
Sirui Tripod
Iphone 7+

Know your gear

There is nothing worse than taking a whole bunch of photos with your brand new camera only to stare at a very dark, completely over exposed or blurry screen when you check your pics. Always check your settings before you start shooting because spending that little bit of time might save you frustration later.

Knowing what your gear is capable of also makes it much easier to take good photos. Some lenses are better for landscape and will distort faces while some do much better in low light than others. Get to know everything before going on a trip so you know what to use in different situations.

So before you go buy a crazy expensive camera, rather see what your current one can do.

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Leading lines are important

To make something interesting and draw their eye to your photo it needs a few things. Its almost like a little recipe although one that should be tweaked as you see fit because at the end of the day photography is about being creative. The human mind does work in certain ways though and it likes seeing certain things. Roads, bridges and coast lines all make for great leading lines and mostly awesome photos but there are plenty of other ways to draw someones eye in. From the curve of a swimming pool to an interesting tree branch, leading lines are everywhere if you start looking. Up your game by creating a point of interest within your leading lines like someone walking or having a mountain range or sunset at the end of it.

Capture moments that tell stories with your Travel Photography

My boyfriend Michael ( @thelawry on instagram ) is a boss at capturing moments that tell a story. He has been on some pretty crazy adventures and always comes back with images that speak to your soul. This is something you might have or might not have but trying is the only way you will know. These photos might not always be easy to take and will sometimes be uncomfortable but the end result and the story that comes with it will make it worth it.

Know your location

One of the things I always do before going on a trip is finding out as much about the area as possible. I check the tides if its near the ocean, the weather for the time I will be there and of course all the interesting and epic places. I check instagrams from the area and read blog posts. Then I try and figure out how I can create an image at those spots that is different to everyone else. I also always check where the sun sets to avoid any disappointment. Travel Photography is all about being prepared but also working with what you have.

Don’t rush it

Its almost impossible to take one photo and have it be perfect. I sometimes take hundreds at one location and you obviously don’t have to be crazy like I am but my motto is the more you take the more you have to choose from. That doesn’t mean just putting your photo on burst and snapping away without a second thought though. Snap a couple and change your angle or maybe take a few with changing light conditions. Take with people and without and always check your photos after each few shots.

Invest in a Tripod

Ok so I know I just said that you don’t need to buy a lot of things to be a good photographer but tripods can be lifesavers when it comes to good quality photos. You can experiment with star piotos or use it to get yourself in a shot as well if you are travelling alone. In low light it can help with the sharpness of a photo or if you use your phone you can use it to create awesome slow shutter photos.

Turn around

Ok so this one is a bit weird but also very true and as soon as it happens to you it will make sense. There has been so many times where everyone is taking lets say photos of the sunset and I turn around and it actually looks way more epic behind me. What I mean by turning around is don’t always go take the photo everyone else is taking, look around and you might see things in a completely different way that will make people question where the spot is even though it might be a familiar one.

Have fun

People love fun travel photos and its easy to see why. Someone jumping into a lake or paddle boarding on crystal clear water makes you want to do it as well right? Travel is about a lot of things but most people travel because they want to enjoy themselves and believe it or not they love seeing other people do the same. Gopro’s are perfect for capturing those adrenaline pumping adventure shots and they are also pretty easy to use. Use them under water or do other cool things to make people go wow! It will definitely give a different spin on wherever you are travelling.

Go inside

Are you staying somewhere cool and unique? Try and take a photo inside to give people a different perspective. I love seeing photos taking inside hotel rooms, cool cabins or even tents! Set up a shot to make it more interesting than your standard run of the mill brochure photo. Drink a cocktail on the balcony or sit in bed eating breakfast and reading a book. Create situations that your readers will want to find themselves in.

Post processing is important for Travel Photography

I use Lightroom, Photoshop and sometimes VSCO to edit most of my photos. You can buy a monthly subscriptions to Lightroom & Photoshop on the Adobe website for $20 a month which is something I highly suggest to everyone.

If you shoot in RAW format on your camera its very easy to fix things in Lightroom like photos that are slightly over expressed or to enhance certain colours. Photoshop is great for removing elements that you might not want in your photos and doing a whole host of other awesome things.

You can have those two programs on your phone as well and then another phone option is VSCO which I love using when I don’t have a whole lot of time to edit photos for lets say a tweet.

Everyone has their own unique style and I am not telling you guys to take photos that look like mine, I am simply offering some ideas on how to make your photos even more awesome!

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28 Comments

  1. March 5, 2017 / 5:09 pm

    These are great tips. I’d like to take better photos when traveling, but am often too wrapped up in what we are doing to take the time to focus on the photo. It’s all about priorities. Your photos are gorgeous and inspiring me to get better.

  2. March 5, 2017 / 6:24 pm

    Photography and me don’t get on well AT ALL! I’d love love love to take better photos but have no idea what I’m doing and so for that reason I haven’t even invested in a decent camera. My trusty old iPhone seems to be doing the job okay for now but I’d love to “take the plunge” some time in the hopefully near future. I’m sure all these tips will come in handy for then, as well as now! Definitely need to run out and buy myself a phone-friendly tripod. Your photos are absolutely brilliant!! The colours, the set up, everything!

  3. March 5, 2017 / 10:08 pm

    Some great points here about travel photography, my reason for having bad photos when I first started traveling is because I’m old and digital cameras were just starting! Interesting comment about the leading line in the photo, I’ll remember that. Your husband has an amazing Instagram account, 61k followers is a lot to build up!

  4. March 6, 2017 / 7:11 am

    I am a professional photographer and i cant agree more with you. The points you have mentioned are extremely important and spot on from perspective of what defines a good composition. The pictures you have put up on the blog itself are excellent and worth applause.

  5. March 6, 2017 / 7:47 am

    You say you’re not a professional but to me, your photos are of that standard. I’m seriously considering investing in the new GoPro. Would you recommend it for someone who doesn’t do many water based activities? I’m saving this post for later when I can practice your tips properly with my camera.

    • Carlinn
      March 6, 2017 / 7:55 am

      Thanks so much! Yes I definitely would recommend a gopro even if you never go into the water haha ๐Ÿ™‚ The new hero5 has amazing image quality and very cool settings and modes. We also film most of our videos with it. Enjoy!

  6. Lauren
    March 6, 2017 / 10:24 am

    I studied photography for years and some of the stuff here is so bang on and just common sense when it comes to photos. Your photos on the other hand, amazing! I’ve never been able to take a good photo, mainly because I haven’t found what I’m looking for in a shot, in a very long time

  7. March 6, 2017 / 4:21 pm

    Thanks for this thoughtful and well written post with many helpful tips. I will try to keep these in mind when taking photos from now on.

  8. Joi
    March 6, 2017 / 7:26 pm

    Very beautiful Photos, and tips for traveling and taking pictures, very useful. As a photographer myself, I enjoyed this post. thanks for sharing.

  9. March 6, 2017 / 7:59 pm

    Your photos are amazing. Thank you for sharing your professional tips. I would love to be able to shoot photos this good. Even half this good would be good.

  10. Riely
    March 6, 2017 / 11:03 pm

    First of all, I thoroughly enjoyed all your photos here in your post, plus I looked up your boyfriend Michael on Instagram and you are right, he is a boss at photography! I have been wanting to invest in a quality camera for awhile and learn how to take better pictures. This has been very helpful. Thank you. Love the aesthetic of your photos.

  11. March 7, 2017 / 10:53 am

    Thanks for this post. Some great points and tips for beginners. I have just bought myself a new camera for my next trip ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope to use it well

  12. March 7, 2017 / 11:53 am

    Some absolutely fantastic tips here! I am heading to Bali on Sunday and will try some of these out. I particularly like you cabin photo and the tip to be in your inside shots to stand out from a typical ‘brochure’ shot.

  13. March 11, 2017 / 5:57 pm

    Beautiful photos and very useful tips! The only thing I’d try to avoid myself is the post processing… Sometimes when you travel, time is precious and possibilities to sit down are few. If I’d love to learn one thing, it’s to shoot photos old-school: so that I that what I see through my lens is the result I want to have.

  14. March 11, 2017 / 6:47 pm

    You have brilliant photos! I think I just struggle to find the great shots when I have limited time away or come up with interesting pictures were I don’t look awkward and posed!

  15. March 11, 2017 / 6:59 pm

    Beautiful photos! ๐Ÿ™‚ I definitely agree that you don’t have to have the fanciest equipment and that you should really know how to use your camera! I have an 8 year old Nikon D60 that isn’t fancy at all, but it does take some great photos.

  16. March 11, 2017 / 7:17 pm

    Wonderful photos and great tips! I’m still working on my photography skills so these help a lot.

  17. March 11, 2017 / 7:47 pm

    Such a great photos, I really love the tint to them, makes them! Thank you for the tips, I have been trying to improve my photography skills lately and this post is spot on.

  18. March 11, 2017 / 8:19 pm

    Thank you for this! I’m gonna make sure i do most of these. I still have so much to learn about photography.

  19. March 11, 2017 / 9:09 pm

    Beautiful pictures! Absolutely stunning! Great tips!

  20. March 11, 2017 / 9:33 pm

    Thank you, thank you thank you!!!! I am REALLY struggling with Photography.

  21. Steph
    March 11, 2017 / 10:05 pm

    Thank you for sharing these tips! I find this really useful ๐Ÿ™‚ I definitely agree about the point to ‘turn around’. I usually do this just because I don’t like crowds and I can’t bare to join the masses of tourists photographing something, but it can be such a great way to get more creative too! I am wondering if you can suggest a tripod that is lightweight for travel? Mine is great for domestic travel but is definitely a no-go when I fly.

  22. rosi C.
    March 11, 2017 / 10:15 pm

    great advice and read. I love travel photography. going to photo groups helps me out.too

  23. March 11, 2017 / 10:58 pm

    You take the most stunning photos! Thank you for all of the amazing tips!

  24. March 22, 2017 / 3:31 pm

    Thank you for sharing your secrets! I love love love your photography style! What are your favorite VSCO filters?

  25. July 23, 2017 / 1:49 pm

    Such great tips and advice! I absolutely love seeing all your incredible photos and I’m keen to learn all the tricks of the trade ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. October 19, 2017 / 8:06 pm

    First off, your photography is incredible. And I’m a picky photographer that is rarely impressed. And second… How did you take the photo of the rock above the clouds? It’s stunning.

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