13 good tips to make your travel photos a success

Finally the long-awaited vacation has arrived! During your travels, don’t forget to take a lot of pictures of the moments that are particularly close to your heart. You will surely come back with new travel photos and unforgettable memories that you will want to have printed. To help you get the prints that are right for you and that will make an impression, we’ve compiled some good tips in this article.

1- Make sure everything is ready

If you’re going on vacation with your camera, remember to take a spare battery or a second memory card to avoid any unexpected surprises. You may not need it, but if your main memory card fails, it’s always good to have a backup option.

Many cameras are powered by standard batteries that you can find almost anywhere. If your camera uses a battery, you need to plan for it to work until the last day. So make sure you check to see if recharging will be possible where you’re going. It’s always a good idea to carry an adapter for electrical outlets when you go abroad. They are often inexpensive and can be used year after year in many different countries.

Ambitious photographers will take with them a polarizing filter, a neutral protection filter and maybe also a neutral density filter. If you want to take pictures of landscapes or other images that require long exposures, and if you have a bulky and heavy camera, we advise you to equip yourself with a tripod.

If your camera is small, a Gorillapod will do the job perfectly, especially since it is compact and does not take up much space. It is also very flexible and will allow you to change position easily. You can also use the D-System to stabilize your camera, for example by using sand, a packet of rice or a cloth grocery bag. Be careful, however, not to offend the sensitivity of the population in certain countries where food is difficult to access. You can also use specialized cushions that you can find in any good photography shop.

Are you traveling for vacation or to take beautiful pictures?

2- Plan your time

For air travel, it is best to store the camera equipment in the hand luggage and the tripod in the hold luggage. At most airports, your camera accessories, including several lenses, must go through security and be taken out of your luggage. Security personnel will check each lens and sometimes even check for explosives. All this takes time. So go to the airport a little earlier and arrange your equipment so that it is easily accessible and you can pack it up quickly. With compact cameras, you can avoid that long obstacle course. If you take a cleaning fluid with you, also remember to store it in a clear plastic bag.

Avoid motion blur

At dusk, it is recommended that you stabilize your camera and photograph with a self-timer or soft shutter release. The larger and heavier the camera, the larger and heavier the tripod should be. A bag of rice can be an economical alternative, but cannot be used in all situations.

Creating an artistic blur of light

In the case of long exposures of moving objects, you will get blurred even with a tripod. You can use this effect deliberately to give an artistic touch to your shot. This is not suitable for photos of people.

Read More : 10 tips for photographing your first wedding!

3- Are you traveling for vacation or to take beautiful pictures?

For many people, holidays are both. You’ve been waiting a long time for this change of scenery, so you want to turn every nook and cranny into a new photo. For those who don’t take travel photos and are looking for relaxation, enthusiastic photographers will quickly become annoying. A tip: travel with people who like to take pictures so you don’t end up alone with your enthusiasm.

Depending on whether you’re traveling individually or in a group, the time spent taking pictures can be more or less time consuming. The more familiar you are with your camera beforehand, the easier and quicker it will be to capture the shots you want. Someone who only uses their camera on holidays or rare occasions will inevitably need some time to adjust. In these cases, the photos of the last few days are often better than those of the beginning of the holiday.

4- Pictures of your dreams and reality

You know your destination and have seen fantastic images in magazines, on posters or on the Internet. Be aware that these images are often more beautiful than reality: Lightroom and Photoshop do indeed work wonders.  Nevertheless, the basis of such images is always a perfectly worked out photo taken in optimal conditions.

If you are simply on holiday and just want to take a few pictures, we recommend that you make arrangements in advance if you want to take better pictures.

Indeed, it often happens that passers-by, cars or other works interfere with the shooting of the subject, object or landscape that you want to take. In this case, not taking a picture is often the best solution.

However, if you really want to capture that memory and take a picture, a real creative process will have to take place: find a better vantage point, wait until the pedestrians have left or change the size of your picture; get closer to the subject or zoom in; find an interesting detail that will make your picture truly eye-catching. Preparing your photograph properly is for most people a very healthy process.

If your photo is chaotic or doesn’t represent what you originally wanted, it’s best to get rid of it.

5- Capture the atmosphere of your holiday

Atmosphere is a varied concept, a feeling, which is composed of different perceptions: the warmth you feel, the scents you smell, the noises you hear… If everything you see can be captured by your camera, it is important, when you take pictures, to try as much as possible to make visible the other elements that are not directly visible. With a short video clip, you can capture sounds and movements. For a wide landscape, most cameras have a panorama function. The taste of wine or a good dish cannot be captured but you can keep a picture of it. Some settings can be activated to make colors look appetizing. Combine all those little details that will best tell the story of your experiences.

A sunset over the sea can take place just about anywhere in the world. Personalize your image by bringing the delicious coffee you’re drinking or the dish you’re enjoying into the foreground. The same tip applies to portraits or selfies.

Always identify an element that you can associate with another and don’t hesitate to take a lot of shots that you can sort out later. The more pictures you take, the more choices you will have.

Capture the atmosphere of your holiday

6- Experiment!

Everyone reacts differently to the world around them. Some people are more interested in landscapes while others prefer to photograph flowers or animals. When visiting cities, there are often a lot of details to capture, such as architectural monuments or unusual street scenes to take. And of course, don’t forget to take pictures of yourself and your family.

A family photo is very often THE holiday memory to keep and quality is not necessarily the most important point. Photographers, on the other hand, give importance to other things.

Being able to compare several shots with each other will add interest to your photo series. Become an explorer! Also be careful not to miss out on any unusual little details during your trip. A whole world of photos awaits you.

Setting your camera to automatic mode is a useful setting, but it won’t do justice to every shot.

If you have little experience with your camera, you can use the following programs to get the optimal settings: landscape, portrait, action, night with or without flash. There are also other programs in the compact models: beach, sunset, museum, movement, child, food. These special programs are available behind symbols or in menus such as Best Shot or SCN.

Experienced photographers will rather work with semi-automatic settings and take their pictures according to exposure time (Tv/S) or aperture (Av/A). The programs do nothing more than change the combination of shutter speed and aperture (they can also change the colors of JPG files). By adjusting the white balance or color style in the camera, even budding photographers can achieve similar effects.

You can also change the viewing angle on your zoom setting: disturbing elements can be easily hidden if you focus on a wide angle from a remote location. A higher or lower point of view also allows you to take great pictures. Try taking a picture on your knees or from the step of a staircase until you get the perfect angle. Flat-screen cameras are also a great help when photographing flowers at ground level or when you have to hold the camera over your head to take a picture of the sea. A long focal length (telephoto) lens is especially useful when taking pictures of animals in the wild. With the basic kit lenses, you can get fairly flexible zooms. If you’re willing to spend a little more money, you can also buy a lens with image stabilizer.

7- Do you know how to photograph in good weather?

Light plays an important role in the rendering of your travel photos. This is especially true when you photograph landscapes, but also large megacities where pollution can disturb the images – literally. When you’re on holiday, you always hope for good weather and therefore lots of light. The advantage in these cases is that the images are rarely blurred.

Lunchtime is the worst time to take pictures because the sun is at its highest and this creates shadows. The ideal is to take pictures in the morning or evening. However, pay attention to the exposure time as this can cause some details to disappear. Sometimes a warning symbol may appear. Starting at 1/60 second, your picture may start to blur. Therefore, take a posture that allows you to stay still or place the camera on a stable surface.

In the morning or evening, you are usually at a hotel, having breakfast or dinner. So you have to motivate yourself but it’s worth the cost. Take a picture before or after the meal to benefit from the light effects. If you plan to travel alone, the schedules are more flexible. However, you can’t take every photo at the optimal time because time also plays a role. There is a grey sky in your picture, maybe it’s still raining? Don’t despair and take a picture anyway. Certain shadow plays can make a picture particularly beautiful. Of course, no one wants it to rain every day! If it does, look on the bright side. In many situations, you can skillfully render an artistic shot with certain settings or with the flash.

8- Photograph a landscape

The sun warms the traveller’s heart, but interesting photos of voayges can also be taken during a spectacular thunderstorm in which black clouds drift to the horizon. The classic segmentation of an image is usually as follows: 2/3 landscape and 1/3 sky (or vice versa). The sky is dull grey? In this case make sure that the horizon line is placed higher. Banish the sadness of the image and highlight the foreground. Try to find an eye-catching detail, especially for wide-angle shots. Dare to photograph a landscape with the zoom. This perspective is denser and distant objects appear larger relative to the foreground.

Wide-angle or zoom?

With a wide angle (the default position of your camera), you have almost all the flower in your picture but the background is not attractive and the tower is barely noticeable. When you zoom in, the tower appears large and the unsightly lawn disappears out of sight. You can also close the iris more for a clearer background.

Usually, no living creatures appear in a landscape photo. However, for panoramic photos, it can be interesting to have a character in the shot. If you don’t want human beings, you can use something else to catch the eye: sheep, a cow, horses, a fence… Anything that allows the viewer to orient himself.

Make sure the horizon line is straight and does not deviate to one side. A central segmentation (half earth, half sky) usually gives an average result. Try to bring the skyline closer to the edges or use a 16:9 format.

All or part of it?

It depends on the subject. You don’t always have to have everything in your shot. The most important thing is to always combine the important elements with each other.

Highlight the foreground

For these flowers in the foreground, you must activate the close-up shooting mode and remove the auto focus so that it is not accidentally directed towards the beach. With an SLR camera, you should close the aperture as much as possible so as not to blur the beach too much.

The blue sky causes a lot of brightness, which often leads to a problem of exposure: the landscape looks good, but the sky above loses its contour. Conversely, the sky may look intense but the landscape is too dark. This happens especially when taking pictures of mountains and the valley is shaded while the sun is shining on the mountain tops. Many cameras have an HDR function that compensates for the contrast between bright and dark areas. This is even easier when you use a neutral protection filter because no post-processing is required.

Read More : 10 tips for photographing your first wedding!

If your camera does not have this function, you can add light or shadow with exposure compensation (+/-). Positive compensation makes the image brighter and vice versa. After taking the picture, you must set to 0 again.

It is usually not a problem to have a slight underexposure: the color areas become more vivid and the brightness of the image does not disturb the eyes. You can also rework your images later to brighten up shadowy areas. Conversely, when there is too much light, it’s often harder to catch up.

Make beautiful portraits

9- Make beautiful portraits

The disadvantage of taking a picture in a blazing sun is that it forms shadows under the eyes or under the cap. The best way to avoid this problem is to use the flash or take the picture in a place where the sunlight is less intense. Even on cloudy days, the flash can be useful: it gives a warmer atmosphere to the image and prevents the dreaded red-eye effect. It even gives a slight brightness to the eyes, making it appear as if the sun was still shining.

If you are in auto mode, the flash will not fire when there is light. In this case, activate the flash function to force the camera to fire. If the result is a face that is too bright or the effect is not realistic, you can adjust the flash exposure (available in many small cameras). This will reduce the flash output. This function is also useful if you want to take details in a bright place. Filling will give the picture a very professional look.

When you take a selfie at arm’s length, you can see this. The face has a rounded appearance that is far from reality. For more beautiful portraits, you should increase the distance and use the zoom. The best focal length starts at about 50 mm and can go up to 100 or even 150 mm.

10- Photograph the city

The challenge during a stay in the city is to bring order to the chaos caused by the present activity. To do this, use the zoom: it condenses the perspectives and allows you to capture some interesting details from a good distance. The wide angle allows you to photograph tall buildings or narrow streets. However, the disadvantage is the distortion of the lines, which is particularly strong when you tilt the camera up or down.

It can, for example, give the impression that buildings are falling backwards. To counteract this effect, try to find a point of view far enough away that you can take the picture without having to tilt the camera. Even if the defect is still present on a small scale, you can still make revisions afterwards. Be careful, however, of diagonal lines, which are very hard to catch up on. If you manage to find a point of view that allows a deep vision, it can be beneficial to give a kind of abstract aspect.

11- Capture the details

Still life photos can also become curious and evocative details that will enrich your travel photo collection. Remember to turn on close-up mode when you get close to small subjects. With SLR cameras, you won’t be able to get as close as you can with a small camera. If your subject takes up a lot of space and the background is too hidden, you’ve gotten too close. Pay special attention to where autofocus defines sharpness, this is usually the best place to capture all the important details.

If you don’t have a macro zoom lens, you can use the screen to define details. There are also lenses available for various effects. Although the image quality is not optimal compared to a lens that creates a specific effect, it is a less expensive approach that will allow you to experiment.

12- Learn to be creative

When taking classic travel photos, you can sometimes stumble upon original shots by chance thanks to a detail that had not been noticed for example. But there are also photographers who specifically seek to create this kind of effect: series of photos that have a particular subject in common are currently fashionable. Find your favourite subject. It can be a door, a window, a plant, stones, shells… There is no shortage of choices. You can later classify your photos by theme.

13- Going home

When you’re back home, the daily routine quickly returns. It is therefore important to quickly download and file your travel photos. It is useful to organize your pictures methodically so that you don’t get lost in the flood of photos you may have taken. Image management programs such as Lightroom or the photo organizer in Photoshop Element can help you with this: for example, assign stars to your best pictures. It’s quick and easy to find them.

If you organize your pictures by theme, you can also use an index to refine your ranking: family, beach, animals, Best Of… Don’t remember all of what you’ve photographed: if you only focus on the essentials, then your selection will be all the more interesting. Moreover, once the ranking is finished, don’t hesitate to define the themes you preferred.

You can even create other folders where you will store photos taken throughout the year according to your area of interest. That way, you’ll get even more used to the buttons on your camera that achieve the effects you’re interested in, and you’ll be able to take even more pictures!

And don’t forget to have your most beautiful photos and travel photos printed, in a travel photo book, a photo frame or for your wall decoration!