Amid the wedding days, engagement sessions and family photos, photography has always remained my passion and a huge source of joy for me. So you could say that when I am visiting new places outside of destination weddings, travel photography is my hobby.
As you can see on my Instagram, I have always mixed in images from around the world with my client work. That is because these locations and the photo ops they produce inspire all of the photography work that I do. After years of capturing stunning places from Hungary to Rome to Mexico to beaches near my home in Southern California, I have some tips to share.
Don’t be intimidated by fancy camera equipment, or my professional work. The travel photos tips I share below apply to anyone, no matter if you are shooting on a DSLR or an iPhone.
You’ll see throughout my own travel photos that I share in this post, and here on IG, that this is perhaps my biggest tip – don’t only capture the people you are traveling with. Of course, it may feel obvious to occasionally snap away at iconic buildings and landmarks. And an especially delicious meal isn’t likely to escape your social feed. However, I encourage you to take it a step further.
Capture local plants, architectural details, transportation, the locals. And do it all with the eye of an artist. If that does not come naturally to you, keep reading. Many of the remaining tips below will explain what I meant by that.
With the mixed up schedules of long travel days, chances are you’ll see some gorgeous golden hours near dawn and dusk. Take advantage of this! Any photo can be elevated with soft and glowy or contrasting light. Start to notice interesting light and shadows indoors and outdoors.
Though the point of this post is to encourage you to capture beautiful images no matter the tool, I do recommend bringing a film camera along to your next vacation if possible. Even if it is only a disposable one!
Shooting with a film camera may feel intimidating, but I actually think there is less pressure. Let go of your expectation of perfection and instead focus on capturing the imperfect moments too. It is much easier to live in the moment when you only have a shot here and there instead of endless digitals. This way, you get the benefit of being present in your vacation while also capturing the memories. Plus, you won’t come home to an overwhelming memory card.
Get as much practice as you can before your trip though. It is so disappointing to find out none of your precious film turned out.
Often what makes a photo one you want to keep looking at is the composition. Work on being aware of the space around your subject, what is left in and out of the frame? Do you prefer your subject to be centered or off?
Look at this photo I took in Hungary as an example – It shows a simple row of empty chairs. But what makes this image engaging is the color palette, the unexpected pattern in the floor, and the overall composition.
Have you ever been traveling and happened upon a scene that took your breath away? Take a moment to appreciate that moment, and then immortalize it through photography. As you travel, keep an eye out for scenes that belong in a postcard. Not only the obvious ones, like the Eiffel Tower or Colosseum, but surprising ones too! “Postcard moments” are not only about the landmarks. They are about quiet scenes that perfectly convey the emotion and colors of a special place.
If you are taking a special trip, consider working with a destination photographer. Not only to get help with stunning shots of the surrounding architecture or plants, but to get family photos or a couple session in your favorite place. Maybe you’ve dreamt of family photos on the beach. Or perhaps you are going on a babymoon to the mountains and want a special way to remember it. Click here to see lifestyle sessions I have done that are similar to what you could plan for during your next trip.
I often share my upcoming travel plans on Instagram, and love to book limited sessions when I am in a new area. For example, I will be in Oahu this fall (2022) and am opening up my availability while there! Click here to contact me about a shoot during your next trip.
For more destination photo inspiration, visit my pinterest. I am constantly adding new curated inspiration there!