5 Tips To Take Better Travel Photos

Published by Jamie from Photo Jeepers

David enjoys photography and exploring areas off the beaten path in the jeep. Jamie plans and organizes the travel itineraries and details. We share our photos and stories to Inform and Inspire you to explore new places and capture your adventure with photographs. Contact us if you have questions about Arches, or any other National Park in the Western United States.

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What makes you decide to visit a particular location? Is it the landscape, the beach, the architecture, the history or food? The places you visit have their own unique look, character, and ambiance. You want the photographs of your travels to capture the sites or activities that drew you to visit that destination.

Here are 5 of our favorite travel photography tips to improve your images so they trigger memories and convey what you saw and felt as you viewed a scene or participated in an activity.

GET UP EARLY & STAY OUT LATE

 
 
 

Golden light is the most important ingredient to create stunning photos. This light occurs during golden hour, which is an hour after sunrise, and an hour before sunset. The soft, warm morning or evening light adds a quality to images that can’t be replicated.

When you wake up early there will be fewer tourists and other photographers. If you want a photo of a famous landmark without other people in the scene, be there right when it opens and you may have the place to yourself! Also, the evening usually isn’t crowded since most people like to end their sight seeing in time to eat dinner.

Taking photos at noon with direct sunlight is not ideal for travel photography. But traveling usually means a full day of seeing the sites. Try to keep the sun at your back, position yourself so an object partially blocks the sun, select a low angle, or focus on the shade. If there are clouds in the sky, utilize the shadows to create dimension in the scene.

RESEARCH LOCATION

The House on Fire Ruin was a must-stop for us on a recent trip as we explored the four corners area in Southeastern Utah. To capture the ruin with the reflected light, we had to be at the location at a precise time and on a day with no clouds.

If you have a specific image you want to photograph, you must research what is necessary to get that photo. Do you have the right equipment? What time of day, season and weather conditions are best? What is required to reach the location? Be prepared so you can enjoy the time photographing the scene successfully.

 
 

RULE OF THIRDS

 
 

The rule of thirds is a basic technique that can be applied to any subject to improve the composition and balance of your images. This essential composition technique can be used in all types of photography to produce images which are more engaging and better balanced.

A photograph with an off-centre composition is more pleasing to the eye and looks more natural than one where the subject is placed right in the middle of the frame. This rule also stretches you to notice and make creative use of the empty areas around your subject.

CENTERED COMPOSITION

 
 

Yes, there are times when you need to disregard the Rule of Thirds. Humans find beauty in natural symmetry because it provides balance. An image with centered composition evokes a feeling of peace and tranquility. Horseshoe Bend is a good example of a scene that needs to be centered.

Photographing reflections (a link to our article on photographing reflections:  https://photojeepers.com/how-to-photograph-reflections-to-create-stunning-images/)  is a good time to use symmetry in your composition. In the above photo, I’ve used the rule of thirds and symmetry to compose the scene. The sign in in the lower third of the photo and the horizon line is centered. Often you can combine several composition guidelines in a single photograph.

CREATE DIMENSION

 
 

Foreground, middleground and background are basic composition elements. The photo above has the following layers: the lake, the trees and the mountains. The human eye naturally recognises each layer and mentally separates them out, turning a 2 dimensional photograph into a 3 dimensional scene with more depth.

Emphasise a scene's depth by including interesting subjects at varying distances from the camera. Practice visualizing these elements as you compose the scenes you want to photograph.


Take your travel photos to the next level by putting these tips into practice - utilize the golden hour light, research the locations you visit and experiment with composition.  

Improve your photography skills in no time, without expensive gear! We offer 30 FREE Photo Tips to help you take incredible travel photos.  (use this link:  https://photojeepers.com/free-ebooks/)