Top 9 Tips for Taking Better Travel Photos
Let’s talk about how to take better travel photos. Why would travel agents care about this? Your personal travel photos are the life of your social media. Yes, it’s fun to use some UGC (user-generated content) once in a while. And your clients are probably happy to share some of their vacation pictures with you. But you can’t always control the image quality or get exactly what you need to go with your message. Instead, try to rely more on your own travel photos. You don’t have to invest a lot in photography equipment (your iPhone will probably be just fine for this purpose!). But it is important to learn a few tricks of the trade in order to create photos that stand out and get your followers’ attention. Are you ready?
9 Tips for Taking Better Travel Photos
- Plan a few shots
- Pay attention to composition
- Try something unique
- Get comfortable in front of the camera
- Optimize the golden hours
- Be courteous of locals
- Write down caption ideas
- Backup your photos
- Get insured
1. Plan a few shots
Would you rather have a picture of the Eiffel Tower lit up at night or would you prefer a shot of your rustic picnic spread out in front of it? It seems a little cheesy to plan things in advance but by doing this you can save yourself a lot of time on your trip. Instead of spending valuable time fussing around with different photo ideas, you can grab your perfect shot and get back to simple travel enjoyment. If you need some generic photos to help with your content this is a great opportunity to make your own. Sometimes it’s hard to find a photo to go along with a specific blog article or social media post. Here are a few photo ideas that all travel agents can use in their content:
- Front of your passport
- Airports and airplanes
- Specific landmarks
- Hotels and resorts
- Poolside shots
- Unique foods
2. Pay attention to composition
Even if you don’t have professional photography skills, you can learn a few tricks for giving your photos a quality edge. Learn a little photo composition and some lighting techniques to improve your photo-taking. Nomadic Matt is a popular travel blogger with some great tips on improving your travel photography composition.
3. Try something unique
This is extra important if you are using these photos for your travel brand. We see thousands of images flash past us all day. So instead of doing the cliche pose holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa, try something that will really catch your followers attention …and maybe get a laugh!
4. Get comfortable in front of the camera
Generally speaking, social media users prefer to see photos with people in them. Why is this? Some say it’s because it adds authenticity or helps create more of a story. But whatever the reason, it’s time to get comfortable in front of the camera. It might be a little awkward at first, but you will get used to it with practice! Have your travel companion help you or make use of a tripod or selfie stick.
5. Optimize the golden hours
The golden hours — those magical hours just after sunrise and before sunset where everything is bathed in soft light. A photographer’s dream. But you don’t need to be a professional to take advantage of perfect lighting. If you want a beautiful shot of your seaside breakfast or an evening stroll down a cobblestone street, plan accordingly!
6. Be courteous of locals
Don’t take photos of strangers without asking. This isn’t a trip to the zoo. We say it often, but it bears repeating — treat your destination like it’s someone’s home, because it is! Be careful when taking pictures of people (and possibly their homes). If you want to take a picture of or with a stranger, ask first!
➡️ Related: Why You Should Meet Locals While Traveling
7. Take time each night to write down caption ideas
When we travel to a new city we are absorbing a tremendous amount of new information. We always think we will remember it all, but the human brain only retains a small percentage of what it hears and sees. Take about 10 minutes to write down a bit of information about your most important photos of the day each night. Include where you were, anything unique that happened there, something you learned, or a travel tip for your audience.
8. Backup your photos
It’s one of the worst feelings in the world, but it is all-too frequent. You take hundreds of beautiful photos only to lose them all at once. Whether human or technology error, this is not a lesson you want to learn the hard way. Figure out how you will backup your photos and get your system set up before you leave for your trip!
9. Get insured
If you do decide to opt for a nice camera, tripod and the works, it is so important to make sure you have travel coverage that will protect your equipment if it is lost or stolen. Not all travel insurance policies will replace the full cost of camera equipment and the ones that do will probably require a paper trail. Check into your travel insurance policies before bringing your nice camera abroad!
➡️ Read next: How to Use Each of Your Social Platforms