Travel photography tips from travel bloggers
travel guides and tips

13 top travel photography tips for beginners

Share this post with a friend!

This article may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy and privacy pages for more information

Are you thinking about getting into travel photography and have no idea where to begin? I’ve got you covered.

Travel photographers need to quickly adapt to their surroundings. You need to think on your feet and develop a range of photography skills.

Travel photography incorporates city shots, landscapes, street photography and portrait photography.

Travel photography tips for beginners

If you want to go from amateur to pro travel photographer, you will need to learn a wide range of styles and skills.

I have compiled a list of travel photography tips for beginners from some of the best travel bloggers around so you can start taking better travel photos today.

Travel photography guide

Great photography involves telling interesting stories, you want to give a real sense of time and place and to give a window into other parts of the world.

By following some important rules, such as working with the right light, going out at optimum shooting times and using the correct camera settings, you have the beginnings of a perfect travel photo

One of my favourite things about travelling is capturing gorgeous images of my surroundings.

I want a photograph to freeze a moment in time and retain some of the essence and feel of the place as well as the mood.

Follow these pro photography tips and start capturing some magic today!

. #travel photography incorporates landscapes, cityscapes, street photography & documentary styles. Get #photogophy tips from pros with this guide! Click to Tweet

Travel Light

It’s easy to get carried away with packing for your first travel photography trip.

It can be really tempted to take every single bit of kit on a trip but you really need to consider things such as baggage allowance and travel insurance costs.

You don’t want to be carrying around a lot of expensive and fragile equipment if you don’t have to.

Camera gear

It’s much better to plan ahead and to travel light rather than haul a huge kit around.

I would recommend just taking one camera body, a small selection of lenses, lightweight tripod or Gorillapod, memory cards, flash unit and a camera bag.

Travelling lighter means it will be easier to get from place to place and to take photos on the move. You don’t want to be digging through a massive bag of kit every time you see a good photo opportunity.

Look for something unique

I’ve always loved travel photography – it makes you see a place in a different way.

You notice the minor details you might miss otherwise. If you’re in a popular tourist destination there are likely hundreds of ‘samey photos’ out there, you need to make yours different.

I usually take one quick snap, in case the conditions change suddenly leaving you without ANY photos.

Travel photography tips from travel bloggers

Camera focus

I then look for something more unique for my next picture. Perhaps a low angle, a reflection in a puddle, a change to the exposure and therefore the mood of a picture? 

Another really important photography tip is to remember is to learn to handle your camera and get your focus right. It may be manual focussing your lens or fixing the focus with an AEL button.

But either way, you need to be in control of what your camera is choosing as the main focus point.

And if it’s a portrait or a picture of wildlife, that point should ALWAYS be the eyes. Get down to their level if needed! Chosen by The Globe Trotter GP

Travel photography tips from travel bloggers

Keep practising your photography

One of my best travel photography tips is that practice makes perfect. YouTube tutorials, good equipment and stunning locations will indeed upgrade your game.
However, if you don’t play the part and actually take lots of pictures, you won’t go anywhere in the photography world.

Carry a camera with you

Of course, carrying a camera with you at all times (even if it is just your smartphone one!) and being curious as a child helps too.
That way you will start looking at everyday things from a different perspective, come out with interesting points of view and portrait things differently.
Slowly, that curiosity of yours will lead you to start developing your own photography style.
So grab your camera, do not be afraid of acting silly and pointing it at the most random things, careful when photographing people, that’s a completely different story and one that deserves your utmost respect!
Start experimenting and trying random photography techniques as if there was no tomorrow. Chosen by A world to travel

Think about lighting

Lighting is one of the important factors when it comes to travel photography.
It can create a stunning photo or a crappy one. If you want to take a well-lit photo of yourself, or when you are taking someone else’s photo, always face the direction of sunlight to give you maximum advantage.
Light falling on you would provide a better lit photo, which would reduce the amount of editing needed.

Golden hour photography

Try different perspectives and play with light from different angles. Either taking pictures from ground level or top-level always provides a very different perspective than taking pictures at eye level. This can drastically change the aesthetics of the photo.
Sunrise and sunset would provide the best lighting possible with a burst of colour. Remember to be prepared and keep your camera on you when travelling.
When it comes to lighting, you can sometimes find that some parts of your pictures can be underexposed or overexposed.
This is completely fine if you are shooting your pictures in RAW. RAW pictures have a lot more detail in them and whilst post-processing the quality and the details are retained.

Travel photography tips from travel bloggers

Silhouette photography

One of the primary rules in elementary photography is to avoid shooting against the sun.
Shooting against the sun if the backlighting can be controlled, can provide dramatic results, even enhancing the photo. In this case, the sun could be behind the subject, in the frame or outside the frame.
Silhouette photography could add an element of mystery to your photos. In this case, have a subject with a clearly defined shape, switch off the flash if present and have more light in the background than the foreground.
In order to have distinct silhouettes, make sure the frame is as uncluttered as possible. Chosen by The Roving Heart
Travel photography tips from travel bloggers

Choose the right Lens

Whilst there is a wide range of photography styles in travel photography, choosing what lenses to use will hill you take much better photos.

If you only have the room or budget to select one lens, I would choose a fast zoom such as an 18-200mm or 28-300m.

Sometimes you’ll find the focal point in the distance, but other times it could be right next as such a variable focal length lens that starts with a wide-angle and follows through to telephoto is perfect.

Travel photography lens

I would also recommend a mid-range travel zoom lens. you will get a balance between the high image quality of a prime lens and the flexibility of a superzoom.

You want to pack as light as possible for travel photography, so I would pick 2-3 lenses that will give you a range of shooting options.

Use a tripod

If you want to improve your photography, you should get a tripod if you don’t already own one. Then most importantly you need to learn to use it AND take it with you when you travel.
One common problem is that people buy a tripod but then leave it at home. Getting a compact travel tripod can help make it easier to pack.

Tripods for low light

A tripod can help you get shots you can’t get without it such as taking photos in low light situations, doing astrophotography, long exposure shots, and time-lapse photography. They are also great for group shots and for making stable videos.
Check out our guide to travel tripods for how to use them, how to choose the best one for your particular situation and budget, and a list of recommended models at various price points. Chosen by Independent Travel Cats 
Travel photography tips from travel bloggers

Rule of thirds

One of my best photography tips is to really use the rule of thirds. The rule of thirds is a photographic technique that draws emphasis on certain objects in the photo and makes the image aesthetically pleasing.

On most cameras, you can turn a setting on which splits the screen into nine squares by splitting the screen with two horizontal lines and two vertical lines.

Putting the focus on objects at any of the lines’ intersections draws attention to them.

Placing the horizon

The rule of thirds is great for photos with the horizon in; it is more aesthetically pleasing to place the horizon near one of the thirds lines rather than in the centre of the photo.

It’s also a fantastic way to place emphasis on the sky, the sea or land, depending on what you want the particular draw of the photo to be.

Another great tip for the rule of thirds is to leave the centre of the image free of any focal point.

This means that the eye is drawn to other areas of the photo, and it is much more eye-catching this way! Chosen by Claire’s Footsteps 

Back up your photos

I’m always meeting travellers who have lost their phones or cameras. Thankfully some of them had comprehensive travel insurance to cover them.
Most are obviously annoyed at having to spend their money and time and effort on purchasing a new gadget if they weren’t insured.
However, those that are devastated by losing their device, always have one thing in common. Not only have they lost their phone or camera, but they have also lost all their photos.
This is one of the many reasons you need proper travel insurance, to make sure you are properly covered when you are travelling.

Store photos online

So how can you prevent this? The best way is to always try and have a local backup copy and at least one online, stored in the cloud.

This can be hard especially when travelling, and always on the go as the wifi can be temperamental. However, it is worth the effort.

My advice would be at least once a week, find a place near you, with good wifi and upload speeds, and have a coffee there.

It’s worth sitting for an hour or so if it means all your photos and videos from the last week are now safely backed up.

Online cloud services I recommend for backing up are, iCloud for iPhone users, Google Photos for Android users, and Flickr for people with cameras, as they include 1000gb of full-resolution photo storage for free.

Having your photos stored online in at least two places is ideal, just in case, there are any issues in the future with one of these services.

Travel photography tips from travel bloggers

Share your photos

Online storage solutions also include sharing options, so you can easily send links to friends and family, and fellow travellers so they can see your photos and download if they so wish, (often at full resolution).
This is great as it means you don’t always need great wifi to share your photos with people if they’ve already been uploaded previously, as you are just sending them the link, not the actual photos.
It may take a few minutes to set up online photo backups, but trust me, it’s worth it in the end. Chosen by No Real Plan 
Travel photography tips from travel bloggers

Know how to use your camera properly

My travel photography tip is to be sure that you know how you use your camera properly.
Be it a smartphone, a mirrorless camera or a DSLR, to get the most out of your camera it’s really important that you know what all the different features are on it.
The worst thing is to miss a shot because you weren’t quite sure how to set up your camera properly.

Travel photography tips from travel bloggers

Camera manual settings

There are a number of different ways to can learn how to use your camera properly. The manual is a starting point, but they tend to be fairly dry and challenging to read.

A better option is to look up YouTube photography videos or search the web for either photography courses, or guides written specifically for your equipment.

Photography skills

Some key things you should focus on learning are how to quickly change the focus point, how to manually adjust ISO and how to disable the flash.

This is essential for travel photography as many locations don’t allow for flash photography.

Other photography skills you need are how to adjust shutter speed and aperture and how to quickly adjust the exposure (exposure compensation).

Whilst most cameras today will work well in Auto for around 80% of the shots you want to get, that 20 % are often the shots you really want.

So learning how to make the most of your travel camera is essential! Chosen by Finding the Universe

Travel photography tips from travel bloggers

Tell a story with photos

The photographs we take of the places we visit narrate the stories about the place before we could even gather words to describe. The pictures remind us of the moments we lived and the experiences that were long forgotten.

Thus, we need to feel the pulse of the place when kicking off to take photos.

Capturing the essence of the place certainly is an art that needs to be perfected.

I have learned that photography needs you to be slow while travelling. Running around places will drain you and you won’t be able to take good pictures.

Photography narratives

One of the many photography tricks is to take pictures during golden hours (an hour after sunrise and an hour before sunset), to catch a good light which is a vital ingredient for awesome photography.

It’s a perfect time as there are fewer crowds, natural light and ample time to experiment. But remember that these hours are short-lived and you need to be there before the magic light disappears so make sure to plan ahead.

The time of the sunrise and sunset depends on the season and the time zone.

Photography composition

Stay out late to capture the dance of colours while the sunsets. It’s all about that magical golden light in photography.

Keep in mind that the golden hour isn’t sunrise or sunset time but shortly before and after sunrise and sunset.

You need to be prepared for your composition because the golden hour can sometimes only last minutes, are you may have lost that ideal lighting by the time you set up your camera.

You can never really go wrong with golden hour, your pictures are sure to be amazing even if you are an amateur photographer. Chosen by Travel Melodies

Chose the right mode

You need to decide whether you want to shoot your photos in RAW or in JPEG format.

RAW is an image file that contains unprocessed data from a digital camera’s sensor. RAW images are better for post-processing, so if you like to edit your photos in Lightroom, this is the option for you.

JPEG is the standard format for most smartphones and point-and-shoot cameras. Shooting in JPEG might be the better option for beginner photographers, especially if you don’t know how to properly edit yet.

Photo editing

I personally would start off shooting in JPEG whilst you are learning travel photography. As you become more confident with shooting and editing, then you can switch to RAW and start playing around with photo editing.

I personally use Adobe Lightroom to edit my photos and would highly recommend it.

Scout photography locations

If you are looking to get epic travel photos, do your research before you arrive at a new destination.

This will help you decide what type of shots you want to get and how to get to potential locations.

You can also do some groundwork when you arrive. Go to the local tourist information centre and ask their advice as to good photography locations.

You can also read travel blogs or buy travel guide books for the destination to see if there are any particular places that are great to photograph.

I would recommend that once you have done your research, you prepare a ‘shot list’ to help you plan a photography itinerary for your trip.

What did you think of these pro photography tips? Did it inspire you to get out there and document your travels? What are your top travel photography tips? Let me know in the comments below!

Planning your photography trip

Ready to book your photography trip? Use these awesome travel resources to get you started:

Check out all the best travel resources on my bumper travel resources page!

Love this post? Why not pin it and share it?

Do you want to take better travel photos? Do you wish you could take Instagram-worthy shots when you are on the road? Read this travel photography for beginners guide to start taking better photos today. I have compiled a list of Travel photography tips from travel bloggers so you can start taking better travel photos today by following their photography tips and advice. #travelblogger #photography #camera #photo #Instagram

Do you want to take better travel photos? Do you wish you could take Instagram-worthy shots when you are on the road? Read this travel photography for beginners guide to start taking better photos today. I have compiled a list of Travel photography tips from travel bloggers so you can start taking better travel photos today by following their photography tips and advice. #travelblogger #photography #camera #photo #Instagram

Do you want to take better travel photos? Do you wish you could take Instagram-worthy shots when you are on the road? Read this travel photography for beginners guide to start taking better photos today. I have compiled a list of Travel photography tips from travel bloggers so you can start taking better travel photos today by following their photography tips and advice. #travelblogger #photography #camera #photo #Instagram

DisclaimerThis post may contain affiliate links that earn me a small commission but come at no additional cost to you. By clicking these links you are supporting Pip and the City and helping to keep the content free. Massive thanks for your ongoing support.