A Beginner’s Guide To Travel Photography

Mary Joseph
Mary Joseph May 24, 2023
Updated 2023/05/24 at 12:32 PM
A beginner's guide to travel photography

Want to enhance your travel photography skills? Discover valuable tips for capturing stunning travel photos in 2023, regardless of your experience level.

Travel photography allows you to encapsulate the allure and soul of your destinations, creating lasting memories, igniting a sense of adventure, and potentially earning income.

Understanding the impact of travel photography is crucial. It not only lets you revisit your memorable travel experiences but also motivates others to discover the world.

 Spectacular images of unfamiliar destinations and cultures awaken a strong desire for adventure.

Moreover, travel photography enables artistic expression and the exploration of various angles, lighting, and composition.

It provides an opportunity to convey your distinct viewpoint and encapsulate the essence of a location in a fresh and unseen manner.

 Whether you’re a novice or an experienced globetrotter, these tips will elevate your travel photography game.

Becoming skilled in photography is a gradual process that requires a significant amount of time and continuous learning.

However, with practice, your abilities will improve. Once you acquire the ability to frame and compose shots effectively, the remaining aspects become effortless.

A Beginner’s Guide To Travel Photography

Understand Your Camera:

Regardless of the type of camera you use – dSLR, mirrorless, smartphone, or film camera – the initial tip for travel photography is to familiarize yourself with your equipment.

Make sure to familiarize yourself with the contents of your camera bag. Take the opportunity to carefully read the instructions, experiment with the buttons and camera settings, and spend ample time holding it in your hand to develop a strong connection with it.

Dedicate time to studying the camera’s menu so that you can quickly adjust settings when necessary, without wasting precious minutes scrolling through it during crucial moments.

Remember to familiarize yourself with the limitations of your camera. Assess its performance in low-light conditions and determine whether the image quality deteriorates.

Check if it remains sharp when fully open or if you need to adjust the aperture for optimal clarity. Verify if it has built-in image stabilization.

When you handle your camera, aim for a sense of comfort and a thorough understanding of its functionalities. This knowledge will facilitate capturing improved photos more efficiently and effortlessly.

Concentrate On The Blue And Golden Hours:

Light plays a crucial role in travel photography, and it’s likely that you’re familiar with the golden and blue hours, which are often discussed in this context.

The Golden Hour refers to the period when the sun is at a low position in the sky, creating a mesmerizing and warm illumination that spreads over the surroundings.

It typically occurs during the first hour after sunrise and the last hour or two before sunset.

The Blue Hour refers to the period when the sun is beneath the horizon, causing the sky to display a captivating blue colour.

To enhance your travel photography, a valuable tip is to adapt to waking up early and staying out late, maximizing the opportunities during these specific times of the day.

If you’re not naturally inclined to be an early riser, it’s beneficial to become accustomed to setting an alarm.

Numerous remarkable travel photos of popular tourist destinations, such as the Taj Mahal, capturing empty scenes, were taken by individuals who arrived early.

Photographing during the midday can yield impressive images, but typically, the bright blue sky may appear overexposed unless captivating clouds are present.

Additionally, on sunny days, the lighting can be excessively harsh. Instead, utilize this time for street photography or to explore and identify potential photo spots and viewpoints for capturing stunning sunrise and sunset shots, which can be revisited later.

Don’t judge the beauty of a sunrise or sunset too quickly. Stay patient because the clouds may clear or the sky may unexpectedly burst into vibrant colors.

Prepare Your Shots:

Prior to your arrival at the tourist destinations, take some time to plan your shot list, outlining the specific images you wish to capture.

Seek inspiration from various sources like Instagram, Google Maps, travel guides, and magazines.

Take note of these images and organize your day based on the best time for capturing them, such as sunrise or sunset.

This approach will assist you in capturing the desired shots and provide you with a clear sense of purpose and guidance.

It’s important to understand that top photographers utilize tools like Google Maps and social media to create a list of shots, and it’s recommended that you familiarize yourself with these methods as well.

Understand Composition:

You may be familiar with the significance of framing a shot correctly, and if you’ve ever read a photography guide, chances are you’ve encountered the concept known as the “rule of thirds.”

Having good composition can make a significant impact on travel photos, distinguishing them from average shots and potentially turning them into award-winning images.

Various guidelines exist to enhance the visual appeal of photos, such as avoiding placing the subject in the centre and refraining from cutting out elements from the frame.

Now, let’s briefly discuss the Rule of Thirds. This principle involves dividing your image into nine equal squares, which is often available as a grid line feature in many cameras’ display options.

To apply the Rule of Thirds, position your subjects and points of interest, such as a person, along these lines and squares.

The rule of thirds suggests that our eyes are naturally drawn to certain mathematical proportions, so it’s beneficial to use this concept in your photographs.

Additionally, pay attention to leading lines, angles, and shapes that guide the viewer’s gaze within the image.

For instance, a river flowing from the side leading up to a waterfall in the top left corner or foreground that curves and leads the eye towards a church positioned at the top of the photo.

With increased practice, you will acquire this skill.

  • It’s crucial to understand that rules can be disregarded.
  • Familiarize yourself with the rule of thirds for analyzing your shots, but feel free to explore other compositions if you believe they would be effective.
  • Incorporating people into your frame adds intrigue to a great shot, so consider including them.

Framing, Framing, And More Framing:         

Ensure that the entire peak of a mountain is within the frame or that your friend’s entire body is captured in the photo.

While it’s not always necessary, as it can be beneficial for a composition to have elements cut off, you should make the decision. Additionally, consider utilizing natural elements in the scene to create a frame within your picture.

When using the viewfinder or LCD screen, avoid solely concentrating on the subject. Take a moment to scan the entire frame to avoid unintentionally cropping out important elements.

Imagine gazing through a window at a building or a graceful tree bending over a serene lake.

Change Your Position:

A beginner guide to travel photography

One crucial tip for travel photography is to be active and change your position frequently.

When you arrive at a location, don’t simply capture an image from where you’re standing. Instead, invest a few minutes in exploring the surroundings to find a more optimal angle or arrangement.

Take the time to approach the subject closely, step back, shift to the side, and take into account the focal length of your lens.

For instance, consider the situation where you want to capture an iconic photograph of the Taj Mahal. It would be disappointing to realize later that you were standing 2 meters to the left of the centre, disrupting the desired symmetry.

Consider incorporating intriguing rocks along the river instead of solely focusing on the water by strolling to the riverbank.

Alternatively, capture numerous travel photos at the same locations to maximize your memory cards and provide a wide range of choices when selecting your preferred image later.

Ask For Permission From Others:

Travel photography goes beyond capturing scenic sunsets and stunning architecture globally. It also encompasses the individuals encountered along the way.

However, for those of us who tend to be reserved, how can we capture remarkable portrait photos without coming across as impolite? The solution is straightforward: politely request permission.

It is considerate and courteous to request permission before photographing someone. If you have had a positive interaction with them or notice a perfect moment to capture a beautiful portrait, simply approach them with a smile and ask for their consent.

Many individuals will gladly agree to be photographed if you ask, but remember to honour their decision if they decline.

What if you desire to capture a genuine and unposed photograph of someone? There are alternative approaches to avoid bothering the person.

Instead of making it evident that you are photographing them, behave naturally and take numerous photos of the surroundings.

Another method is to keep your camera lowered and aim the lens towards them. If you have a zoom lens, utilize it to capture the person from a distance, such as from across the street or in a market.

Making Them Feel At Ease:

To put individuals at ease, it’s common for them to feel uneasy posing for a stranger. However, if you shift the focus to something else, their discomfort may diminish.

For instance, you could suggest they pose with an item from their store, such as a rug, or showcase their wedding ring.

By doing so, they will understand that the photo has more to it than just their presence, and it will also enhance the shot by introducing captivating elements.

Apply A Tripod:

A tripod is an indispensable camera accessory for travel photography and a must-have in your camera bag. It enables you to capture fantastic photos in low light conditions and explore creative options such as long exposures.

Using a tripod has the added benefit of prompting a slower and more deliberate approach to photography. Instead of hastily capturing shots, you will carefully consider the ideal tripod placement and composition for each photo. Investing in a compact tripod is essential for improving your skills as a travel photographer.

Be Authentic:

It’s perfectly fine to capture those well-known shots of landmarks like the Eiffel Tower or Machu Picchu for social media. These images are stunning and often showcase popular places from unique angles that everyone desires to see.

However, remember to be creative and stand out. Seek out fresh perspectives that haven’t been captured countless times before. Make it a personal mission to take a few distinctive photos that you can truly take pride in.

Feel free to experiment with different exposures, such as overexposing or underexposing, and incorporate motion blur. Your imagination is the only limit to what you can achieve.


To excel as a travel photographer, it’s crucial to invest time and effort in practice. The key to improvement lies in actively capturing travel photos. Remember, you don’t necessarily need to visit famous tourist spots or own top-of-the-line equipment to succeed. Consider photographing your family members, teaming up with a photography enthusiast friend for mutual encouragement, or simply using your smartphone to capture beautiful sunsets.

Recent News

Share this Article
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *