15 In Photography/ Travel/ Travel Tips

Travel Photography: For Beginners


Fundamentals are important, but sometimes you have to hit the ground running. You may want to learn photography when you find the time, but what if you’re suddenly embarking on a trip and don’t have time to learn let alone practice? It doesn’t matter so much if you get a bad photo of the local market or a nearby city, but if it takes a 10 hour flight and hefty budget, then you’re going to want to get some good photos the first time around. So here are some tricks that I’ve picked up that might prove useful to you, if you’re not an experienced photographer but will be traveling very soon!

  • Take the same photo more than once. Have you ever gotten that perfect shot, only to find to your dismay that it was slightly blurry zoomed up on the computer? I try to snap a couple more shots as “insurance” to increase odds of getting a sharp shot. Some people are going to be horrified that I’m telling you just to take a lot of shots rather than trying to explain proper form, but I found that if you’re in a crowded area like a tourist hot spot, there’s bound to be people running into you and jostling your camera so it’s a good idea to take more than one shot anyway.
  • Try out different exposures, especially if you shoot using the screen. Never trust the screen 100%. I swear there have been so many times where I thought the brightness of the photo looked just right, only to come home and find that the photo was too bright and had areas that were blown out. Photoshop can’t really fix something that is pitch black or blown out white, so take a photo when the exposure meter is centered and when it’s a few notches below and a few notches above.
  • If you cranked up the ISO while taking photos inside a dark cathedral, don’t forget to bring it back down when you step outside. Otherwise you might find that the resolution of your outdoor photos may be a bit on the grainy side.
  • Take the iconic shots with your phone too. This will make it easier to show your friends and family, either on your phone or through a message. This will also make it easy to throw up some photos on Facebook or Instagram and give you time to edit your camera photos without feeling pressured. You might also want to take an extra snap in square mode if you’re into Instagram as the ratio for the regular format won’t always look nice after cropping.
  • Get the cover shot. There is nothing creative or special about the cover shot that features the building or statue straight on, but it’s nice to have. Whether you decide to make a scrapbook or write a blog post, it’s nice to have a cover shot to open with before you start showing the pretty details. There have been times where I forgot to take a shot of the front door or the front facade of a building and found myself wishing I had. I personally find it awkward to start a post with a close up of a lamp on the side of a building unless it’s a post that deliberately focuses on the lamps.
  • Learn to use the video function, even if you’re not a fan of videos. I personally find video editing to be a nightmare, so I don’t really take many videos. Still, there were some clutch moments though when I knew that I just had to capture the moment on video. Like when the Big Ben struck noon when I was standing directly beneath it, or when the bells of Notre Dame rang while I was up on the tower.
  • Be wary of clowns and street performers. Keep in mind that some street performers may get upset if you don’t pay them after taking a photo or video. I was also harassed by a clown that blocked my view of the London Eye, telling me he’d move out of the way if I took a photo of him and demanded money.

Your turn ♥ What are some tips that you found helpful for travel photography?

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  • Great tips! Thanks so much – especially the warning of street performers or artists.


    • Kim

      No problem Roisin! Yes, I wish someone would have warned me that street performers could get pushy and aggressive. Even though I wasn’t taking a picture of them (I was trying to get a picture of something behind them, like the London Eye), they were demanding money :/

  • I recently learned how to read the camera’s histogram to get the proper exposure on the spot! Because like you, I’d go home and find that the little screen didn’t accurately depict the exposure. I wrote a blog post about how to read a histogram, if you’re interested: 3 Photography Post-Processing Tips

    • Kim

      Oooh thanks for the link! I should probably learn how to toggle the histogram while taking photos while I’m at it!

  • These are great tips! I do the same with iphone and SLR pics, it’s nice to be able to use both as they have different effects. I always hold down my shutter and move the camera slightly for slightly different angles of the same shot, as sometimes you never know if a tourist is in your shot, or your friend’s hand somehow has made it’s way on to the edge of the table of a food shot! Though the best thing is really to understand how your camera works and learn as much as possible – I’m still learning that’s for sure!

    • Kim

      Yes I think it takes some time to learn all the functions of your camera and also to be able to use them in practice consistently. I wholeheartedly agree that it’s SO important to understand how your camera works, but it’s also nice to be able to get some nice shots while you are building up to that ;) I definitely have the experience of having a friend’s hand peeping into the corner, or sometimes even my strap! haha

  • These are seriously so spot on! I especially agree with taking a few on your phone- like you said, it’s easier to show people, and sometimes if it’s a busy place, it can be easier to snap one without messing with any exposure or manual settings.

    • Kim

      Yes! sometimes phone piccies can be a godsend :D I also find that some of my friends are ok with a quick phone snap of food, but get impatient with a dslr so that’s another time I like to use my phone instead!

  • You have some great tips here! A lot goes into photography that people don’t realize!

    • Kim

      Definitely! I think there are some people who don’t understand why some people (like me) take “so many photos.” They only see the few shining shots and don’t actually understand what goes on behind the scenes ;)

      • So, so, so true! Ah, now I’m thinking about how I used to annoy my friends during meals while taking (and re-taking) photos, hahaha.

  • Great tips Kim! I like that you get the cover shot too. Sometimes I’ve shared the stereotypical shot and people have pretty much said how uncreative it is. But actually, there’s a reason everybody takes photos of certain landmarks in certain ways… because it looks good that way!! lol. So I totally agree, always get the cover shot before getting more creative! :)

    • Kim

      Totally! There are even times when I wish I had returned at a different time or a different day because I wanted to get it with a clear background rather than a blown out, cloudy, uninteresting one, hehe. I’m always a little envious when I see a picture of the same spot from the same angle, but with a nice pretty sky.

      • Haha me too! I hate it when it’s overcast and grey. It makes it just about impossible to get a good picture! lol

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