6 practical tips to easily improve your travel photography

Bernina Express Foto Linda D Røygaard-2

Shooting some snowy photos onboard the Bernina Express in Switzerland. Photo: Linda Røygaard

Photography can seem easy and straightforward. After all, it’s just point and shoot right? Well, there’s definitely more to it than that – if you want a nice result at least. Because we’ve all seen our friends on Facebook upload a ton of random photos from their recent holiday, with heads cut off, a random person walking into the frame or a group-photo taking against the sun.

The thing is, you don’t even have to be an expert on all the technical stuff to make a lot of improvement. You just need a decent camera (or even a phone these days), and a bunch of practical tips to keep in mind, and you will see immediate results.


Patience pays off in photography

Be patient

Don’t just point at shoot. Unless a spontaneous moment suddenly occurs. Often, if you spend just a few more seconds preparing your shot, you will get a much better photo. Look up, and realise that you might just have to wait a bit for a cloud to pass, and the light will be so much better. Or wait for that stranger to step out of the frame of your photo, or opposite, for someone to randomly walk into it, to give the photo some life. Wait for the bird to take off, for the boat to arrive at the harbour, or for the cars to move as soon as the light turns green. I’m not telling you to pull out a chair and sit back for hours, but often just a little patience will pay off big time.

See also: 10 pros and cons of pursuing a career as a travel writer



Bringing another element into the scene can add colour and atmosphere

Work the angle and the “frame”

One of the easiest things to adjust is the angle from which you shoot your photo – and thereby also how you “frame” the shot. You ideally want to shoot with the sun in your back, or at least not directly against you. You might want to try and get some flowers in the foreground to add some extra colour and atmosphere, or you might want to shoot it from a ground perspective to make things look more impressive. And remember to look out for street signs, lamp posts and other objects in the shot, that you don’t want to obstruct with important elements of your photo.



Walking to the edge of the beach might give you a completely new perspective

Don’t be lazy – walk

Coming back to working the angle, many people are too lazy and just shoot from where they stand when they get the idea for the photo. But don’t be lazy. Walk. Sometimes just walking a few minutes will open up completely new perspectives for the photo, you will get a better light, or you will be able to get distance to disturbing elements (or people) that you don’t want to include.

See also: 10 valuable lessons that travelling has taught me



Planning what time of the day to get your shots can mean a big difference for the light 

Light – plan your timing

Most people know that light is one of the all-important keys when it comes to photography. So if you want more than just some random holiday snaps, you might want to plan your photos a little bit. Check the weather forecast, plan what time of day to visit certain attractions in order to get the light from the best angle – and get your indoor shots while waiting for better weather. Also, check when the sun goes up or down if you’re going for those atmospheric photos.


Malasana Madrid

Let yourself get a little lost from time to time and you might stumble upon exciting photo elements

Get lost on purpose

We’ve all seen the classic shots of the tower in Pisa, the shots of the Eiffel Tower from Champ-de-Mars and Big Ben from Westminster Bridge. But sticking to the classic ‘tourist trails’ will also give you the classic tourist photos. So why not let yourself get lost for a while. Put the map (or your phone) in your pocket, and let your curiosity lead you down different streets and alleys, and let the camera be your guide to new exciting photos – which leads to my last tip…

See also: Look up from your phone for the love of… cities!



Look up when you walk around cities, and you will start to notice many great photo opportunities

Look up and down

You will get surprised about how many exciting elements and architectural treats we miss out when navigating our cities on a day-to-day basis. We’re mostly too busy looking ahead, or more sadly at our phones, while walking through the streets. But try to look up next time you walk through a city. Or down to the ground for that matter. You will start to see little sculptures you hadn’t notice before, interesting rooftops, “hidden” urban art and street signs, or even a unique manhole cover, that might be worth a shot.

Please share this post if you found it useful, and feel free to comment below if you have any practical photography tips of your own…

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By Brian Schæfer Dreyer