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Travel Photography Tips: Capturing Great Vacation Photos

Eiffel Tower and red car in Paris

Yes, the iconic Egyptian pyramids are photo-worthy, as are Paris’ Eiffel Tower and the majestic Big Ben clock tower of London, but that doesn’t mean your vacation photos need to look just like those of every other tourist to visit these popular destinations. Save it for postcards. If you want unique and memorable photos of your holiday, follow these travel photography tips.

Get Prepared Before You Travel

You can be presented with the best photo opportunities, but it will mean nothing if your camera or smartphone's battery is dead or you run out of storage space. Before you hit the road, sea, or sky, make sure you pack:

  • Portable Charger/Power Bank: Ensure you have a fully charged portable charger to keep your phone powered throughout the day. A lightweight power bank makes it easy to recharge your phone on the go.
  • Charging cables and adapters: If you’re traveling to a foreign country, you may need a plug adapter so you can charge your devices from the wall socket.
  • Extra storage: Use cloud storage services like Amazon Photos or iCloud to back up your images automatically. Alternatively, carry a portable external hard drive for regular backups.

    Focus on The Journey

    Well-known author and founder of Cancer Recovery Foundation International, Greg Anderson, has been quoted as saying, “Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.” Clearly, Mr. Anderson has never been locked in a minivan full of tired, cranky children for several hours while on a “fun” family road trip! But in all seriousness, he’s right: you should focus (your camera) on the journey, even if, at the time, you think you never want to remember the moment your son thought it would be funny to stick pieces of McDonald’s fries up your daughter’s nose while she was sleeping. Years down the road, you’ll laugh about it. I swear.

    Baby toddler sleeping in the carseat

    Taking a family selfie on a road trip in the car

    Little girl and dog ready to go on a road trip

    Print Your Travel Photos Now

    Ask Yourself What Travel Photos You Would Enjoy Viewing

    Rather than just being snap-happy and photographing anything and everything – yawn – imagine yourself sitting down to look at a friend’s travel photos. What type of images would you enjoying seeing from their trip? Sure, you might be interested in checking out famous landmarks, but you’d probably also like to see other things like:

    • Places you won’t see on travel websites or postcards
    • Local cuisine and markets
    • Culture and customs
    • Transportation
    • Local signs and currency
    • People going about their everyday routine
    • Accommodation, whether it’s luxurious or not

    Woman in bath relaxing in a luxury spa resort

    Businessman in a capsule hotel

    Create a Photo Essay That Tells Your Story

    Before you start shooting, think of how you can use your travel photos to tell a story. Yes, you want to highlight your vacation, but narrow it down to a more specific topic. For example, if you’re on a trip to Disney World and your son is super stoked about going on Space Mountain, be sure to photograph the emotions and events leading up to the ride (for example, the anticipation and excitement when getting ready in the morning and the impatience of standing in line on location), the ride itself, and the after-effects of the ride. You can use these photos to create a collage, even adding text if you like, and print them on canvas or other medium to display in your home.

    Photographing The Locals

    If you’re travelling to another country, part of the excitement is learning about and seeing different cultures and customs. To photograph an environment that’s as authentic as possible, try to visit locations that aren’t popular tourist destinations. Also, don’t just have the locals pose for your camera, try to photograph them going about their day-to-day activities. Remember though, you are photographing people, not zoo animals, so treat them with respect. Should you ask for their permission before photographing them? Sometimes yes and sometimes no. Darren Rowse from Digital Photography School shares his approach to finding a middle ground in his article, Photographing People When Traveling.

    Travel photography tips photographing people

    Man selling fruit on the streets of Egypt

    Monks sightseeing Hua Hin Mountain

    Traveller taking a photo in Paris, France using their smartphone camera

    Shoot Using General Composition Techniques

    For great travel photos, be it family vacation photos or honeymoon images, you should keep general composition techniques in mind. Here are a few other tips:

    • Use natural light: Especially during the golden hours (shortly after sunrise and before sunset) to capture stunning photos.
    • Try different angles: Don’t just shoot from eye level; experiment with different perspectives.
    • Rule of thirds: Use the grid feature on your phone to help balance your composition. Understanding the Rule of Thirds can help strengthen the impact of your travel photos.
    • Leading lines: Utilize natural lines to guide the viewer’s eye through your photo. 
    • Candid shots: Capture moments as they happen naturally for more authentic images.

    Printing Your Travel Photos

    Travel Photography Printed in a Photo Book

    Once you’ve captured all those amazing travel photos, you’ll want to showcase them. We offer a variety of products to print and display your memories beautifully. Here are a few popular options to consider:

    • Canvas Prints: Perfect for creating a stunning wall display. The texture of the canvas gives your photos a professional and artistic look.
    • Metal Prints: For a modern and sleek appearance, metal prints are durable and offer vibrant colour reproduction.
    • Acrylic Prints: These prints provide a glossy finish and depth, making your images pop with clarity and brightness.
    • Photo Books: Create a travel photo book to tell the story of your trip from start to finish. It’s a great way to keep all your memories in one place.
    • Poster Prints: If you prefer a classic look, poster prints are a versatile and affordable option.

    Turn Your Vacation Photos Into Art Now

    I’ll leave you now with some excellent travel photos to look at that will hopefully inspire you to capture your own memorable vacation photos.

    Monkey busking in Russia

    Hiker in Himalayan Mountains

    Fried grasshoppers at a local market in Thailand

    Selling bread at a market

    Traditional red phone booth in London with Big Ben clock tower in the background


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