As a traveler, we all want to take outstanding pictures from the places we go to. And that’s what we want you to achieve with these simple travel photography tips for beginners.

Every camera has an automatic mode, sure. But you have to take control to get exactly what you want. With the automatic mode, you will always get what the camera wants instead

In order to take full control of your photography, you just need to follow these travel photography tips for beginners to see immediate results.

In this post, we will not only share tips to improve your  travel photography overall, but we will also provide some suggestions which will make your experiences even more enjoyable.

Travel photography tips for beginners: shot at golden hour

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Travel photography tips for beginners: Basics.

Composition

The composition is the most important and basic rule for travel photography tips for beginners.

You need to know how to transmit with your photography. And that is easier than it sounds by following a basic rule: The Rule of Thirds

What is the rule of thirds?

The rule of thirds is a guideline which applies to the process of composing visual images. The guideline proposes that an image should be broken down into thirds (both horizontally and vertically) so that you have 9 parts. Those important compositional elements should be placed along these lines or their intersections. We show you an example below from digital photography school

Travel photography tips for beginners: rule of thirds

Studies show that aligning the subject with these points creates more tension, energy, and interest in the composition than simply centering the subject.

Understand your camera

To me, one of the easiest way to improve significantly your photography is by knowing your camera.

It does not matter if you are doing daily photography or travel photography,  learning your camera settings should be your priority

Read the manual, understand the functions. Check if it has a boost performance mode, how to do continuous shooting, how to quickly change modes from video to photo, etc.

It really makes a massive difference when you know exactly where to find what you want, before missing an opportunity.

You can even preset your favorites modes so you don’t need to be changing adjustments every time. Simply spend some minutes on it and I guarantee you, you’ll soon see results.

The light is important

To me, this is what really can make your picture look incredibly good or going completely wrong.

With the right light, you can get a good texture, vibrancy of colour and luminosity on your subjects

For example, at midday sunlight falls almost vertically on your subject, which results in sharply-lit high-contrast photos that don’t look so pleasing to the eye.

So, what is the best light for photography?

The best light or the best time of the day to take pictures is known as the golden hour.

The golden hour is the period of daytime shortly after sunrise or before sunset, during which daylight is redder and softer than when the Sun is higher in the sky.

This is best the best time to take pictures due to softer shadows and highlights, which is more pleasant to the eye.

You can learn a lot more about the light on this post from Creative Live

My advice for this one is, get up early, especially if you are traveling. You won’t only get a better picture, but chances are that any famous spot you want to visit, is going to be way less crowded (if it is at all) at that time.

Find the right perspective

Photography can become so plain and boring if you just shoot at eye level.

Instead, try different angles and perspectives.

Shooting down to up or up to down when following lines can be a really powerful and different composition.

Also, shooting totally in vertical all the way up or down.

Try different variations and experiment. You will be surprised by some pictures you did not think they worth it to turn amazing!

girl going down stairs

Research the place you are going to

This is another simple, yet powerful tip.

In most of the cases, you may know where exactly are you going and what you are going to find there. However, sometimes there are many interesting things can miss if we give for granted those are the best spots or subjects for your pictures.

The easiest way to do some research is with Google. Just type your destination and check on images to see if there is something which catches your eye and you did not know about.

Another great tool to discover cool places is Instagram. By using a hashtag with the destination you are going, you are likely to find lots of inspiration! i.e “#London”

Finally, and with this one, you cannot only find cool pictures but valuable information, use Pinterest to do some research.

With all these ideas you can rest assured you’ll find inspiration enough!

Choose the right gear

There is not really wrong gear. What we mean with choosing the right gear, is to make sure it adapts to your needs.

For us, our must-have gear are:

For example, if you just want to take some good shots for Instagram a phone might just do the trick.

However, if you want to have more flexibility or even do some photography edition, a phone camera will hardly be enough.

The same will happen with the accessories. If you just want to take a quick shot at night, a pocket tripod might be enough. On the other hand, you will be very limited to take long exposure pictures at different heights or even taking a self-portrait of you at eye level.

That is why it is important first to know what is what you want to do with your photography. 

You will hardly need the same gear if you are going to the beach, than visiting a city. So think which kind of photography is the want you want to focus on, so you can have the best gear accordingly.

Another example. if you are planning on going to a Safari, your best option would be a good zoom lens.

With the practice, you will get to know what your perfect travel photography kit is.

If your first doubt is to know which is the best mirrorless camera for traveling, is your lucky day because we got you covered there.

Think before shooting

When I first started, I don’t think I spent time at all on this.

What is what you want to achieve with your shot?

Do you have a person in your foreground and want to focus on the subject and blur the background, or do you want all to be perfectly sharp because is an impressive landscape?

It may look simple, but honestly, it makes a tremendous difference. If you think before shooting, knowing exactly what you want your picture to show, is a good practice.

Be creative

This is the best of the travel photography tips for beginners we can give. Why? Because this is going to make things way more interesting and keep you creative.

Have you ever played with long exposure? what about light painting with long exposure then? Have you heard about timelapse and hyperlapse?

There are many cool things to do and stay creative.

Play with different shutter speed to take some great action shots, or with the aperture to focus on your subject.

The key is to try to create something new, not to the world, but to you. This is important because it will help you grow as a photographer when you try new techniques

Marina bay sands picture in the phone

Always have a spare battery

This might look like a really basic travel photography tip for beginners, but made no mistake, is a huge one we all do!

To me, the investment on a second battery regardless of your camera, or drone, is a must. Especially if you are a traveler.

We have been to many undeveloped places in Southeast Asia, where they only had a few hours of electricity. Now imagine in the modern world, how many people wanted to make use of it and many gadgets we all have!

If you are limited to one single battery in situations like that, you may regret it for the rest of your life.

Another example, when I trekked the Annapurnas, some places really had limited sockets and if you were too late, you would not have any chance. So did I want to miss the impressive landscapes of the Annapurna simply cause I had one battery which I could not charge? Hell no!

So remember, is going to be a good investment for peace of mind and to make sure you don’t miss any special highlights of your trips!

Use a tripod

Tripods are a valuable tool in photography. Especially for long exposure or low light conditions.

There is no way you can shoot a long exposure picture without a tripod.

Also, in low light conditions, having a tripod can help you a lot in getting a better picture, of course, you need to set the right values first, a tripod is not just a magical thing.

It will also be really helpful for you to be in your pictures.

Honestly, I prefer to set the picture I want myself than relying on somebody else. Plus I can take as many as I want and try many different variations ;)

If you want some advice and after trying a lot of different tripods, or favourite is this travel tripod from Peak Design.

Post edition makes a difference

If you want to make a difference with your photography, then you should really consider doing some post edition processing.

Every good photographer, and every amazing picture you see on magazines, Instagram, etc, I can guarantee you are post-processed.

And there is nothing wrong with this at all. Some photographers say they do it accordingly to how they really saw it on that moment or how they felt it.

Truth is, we are all unique and hardly two people will edit a photograph on the same way, and that is also the beauty of it.

You don’t need to this, but I can tell you, that if you do, is going to make a difference.

There is some software which is very easy to use, so don’t need to be afraid.

Alternatively, you can check this amazing photography course for the price of almost nothing, where you will learn this and tons of more stuff.

Raw image of beach in the philippines

Shoot and repeat

As all in this life is all about practice.

You can not make big improvements if you do not go out often to shoot.

If you follow the guidelines above, we can guarantee you that you will see good results soon.

So we can only encourage you to shoot, repeat and learn!

You might want to read:

Want to learn more about how to capture beautiful photos you are proud to share?

photography bundle

Conclusion

If you apply these travel photography tips for beginners, you will see results from today with no doubt.

These tips are the result of what we have learned over the years, so we are confident they will have an impact.

We might not be the top photographers, but for sure we can tell you what it worked and what did not work for us.

Lastly, if you like making travel videos or video edition, you should check how to make a travel video in 10 actionable steps.

Let us know if you have any questions!

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