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Once upon a time, a camera was a luxury, and on a family holiday, you generally had to share it. Though these days cameras have become an essential, and every traveler has one.

Travel and photography go hand in hand these days, and with the accessibility of advanced technology, even amateur photographers and beginners can take incredible shots.

One thing most travelers have in common is a desire to take better photography. Which you can easily do with these tips. You can also find more travel photography tips at Cultured Kiwi.

How to Take Beautiful Travel Photography: 5 Beginner Tips

Know How to Use the Camera

Photographer Camera RF

Before heading out to grab your camera, make sure you’ve got the right camera equipment and the proper lens. Your first consideration should always be the quality of the images and how large they will need to be.

A high-end digital SLR camera will yield better resolution and clarity but can be expensive to buy. While most people start with knowing how their camera works, knowing what makes a good camera to begin with puts you in a better position for great photography. 

If you’re unfamiliar with your camera, set aside some time before you head out on your trip to learn the ins and outs of how it works. Experiment with different functions and buttons, watch Youtube tutorials, and spend time taking photographs at home.

After-all, practice makes perfect, and you’ll see a vast improvement in the photos you take if you’re using a camera you’re experienced with.

Researching what makes good travel photography is also a great tip; look at travel photos by professional photographers and discover what they are doing differently. Look at how they compose their photos, the colors they use, and if there are any common themes to what makes great photography.

If you’re planning to take more than one photograph of the same location, consider using multiple cameras. For example, if you’re taking a sunset portrait in a small town at night, make sure you have an SLR or other interchangeable lens camera on hand, and then take a few photographs after the sun goes down.

This is given that you’re absolutely into photographs and you’ve already had a selection of cameras to choose from. Otherwise, you can still do great by making do with whatever you have. There’s no need to suffer bringing many gears when you have one camera that you’ve already mastered operating.

Determine the Composition of the Photo

Venice Italy Europe

Photo composition is important, because your subject matter needs to express to the viewer that it’s about travel.

When in Philadelphia, you don’t need to include the famous ‘Love’ statue in every picture, but ensuring that little hints such as famous landmarks or even street signs are included can help.

In addition, great travel photos don’t always make it obvious to the viewer where they were taken. Instead, they should be interesting enough that an observer just has to ask, ‘where was this taken?’

Good travel photos tell a story and create a picture in the viewer’s mind via great composition and juxtaposition. If you’re taking pictures of objects, be very thoughtful about the angles you capture. Also, try to capture people interacting with the environment in the most interesting ways.

While there are many tips that may get you confused, there are basics that work to be a very good starting point. Read through this photography checklist here.

Pay Attention to the Source of Light

Sydney Habor Bridge at Sunset

Light is essential in photography, and poor lighting can really ruin your shot. 

If you’re finding that the lighting is off in photos you’re taking, you can move your subject matter, or, if the subject is fixed, move your own positioning.

If neither is possible, it’s up to you to determine whether the shot is worth a stake out. Often, great photography comes to those who are willing to wait for the right conditions. This could mean waiting an hour for cloud cover.

To take the best photos, ensure that the sun is behind the camera so that the image you are taking is illuminated well. You may find that shooting into the sun will make colors in the photo appear washed out. 

If your sole purpose for traveling to to take stunning photos, make sure you check the weather in advance so you can be prepared for off lighting. Also, leave flexibility in your itinerary so you have enough time for the conditions to change in your favor.

Knowing the Best Time to Take the Photo

Typically, the best photo opportunities are early in the morning, about an hour after sunrise, or in the evening about an hour before sunset. At this time the lighting is just right, and your images may have a golden shine!

Before you go to any of the great destination locations, decide on the best time of year to take your photographs. If you plan to take photographs during the summer, be sure to check with local wildlife, tourist information, and weather forecasts.

During the spring or fall, look for flowers and foliage and any animals that may be present. Try to avoid taking photos around midday when there is a lot of overhead light. 

Editing Your Photos

Editing Your Travel Photos- Use a Free Online Editor Like Fotor

Photography is a huge part of the travel experience, though it’s rare to come home with shots which don’t require any editing.

Once you’re done taking travel photos, you should be able to edit your photos with ease. There are many different software packages that allow you to do this and most of them are available online.

Whether it needs cropping, or adjusting brightness to finding the perfect contrast and saturation, sometimes that precious moment was captured in the wrong way.

Even for those who take amazing photos, a lot of the time it’s the editing stage that separates the pros from the amateurs. Programs like Lightroom or Photoshop allow for professional editing, though you can work up to these with simpler programs first, like Picasa.

Ultimately, the more time, effort and work you put into your travel photography the better they look when display them digitally or as a photo print.

Final Word

Whether you’re looking to fill out the pages of an old travel photo album or simply want fresh content for your Instagram account, you’ll likely put up with that occasional look of unkind judgmental travelers. But that’s fine as you don’t want to miss out on capturing the true essence of that moment.

While taking pictures can help you get closer to that moment, there’s also a big role in planning. As with anything else, the more preparation you have, the better your picture results will be. The tips enumerated above can help you have a good start in your pursuit of taking great travel photos.


Nikon D5300 24.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera

Canon PowerShot SX50 HS 12MP Digital Camera

ZoMei Z818 Light Weight Heavy Duty Portable Travel Tripod

Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; an online magazine dedicated to opening your eyes to the wonders of the wild & natural world.

Having visited 50+ countries across all seven continents, Megan’s travels focus on cultural immersion, authentic discovery and incredible journeys. She has a strong passion for ecotourism, and aims to promote responsible travel experiences.



  1. Knowing how to use my cam is something I am stepping into now Meg; 4 years after getting it LOL. Amazing how settings help you snap jaw-dropping shots.

    • Never too late to improve on photography Ryan! I’m similar actually, I got my DSLR 5 years ago and still haven’t fully discovered all it’s functions. I still learn new tricks with it everyday!

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