How to Take Great Travel Photos: Advice from 11 Dope Photographers

As much as we don’t want to admit it, the importance of taking great travel photos cannot be ignored. But with over 800 million people using Instagram alone, whether the goal is to create memories, update friends and family on your travels or to collaborate with brands, the chances of getting your imagery to stand out can often feel pretty bleak.

So we found 11 photographers who stand out in the midst of millions.

Learning how take great pictures – especially when travelling – doesn’t happen overnight. The person behind the lens often works tirelessly to improve their craft, so if you want to be noticable, do the same!

Here is some advice on how to improve your photography skills and produce beautiful photos from 11 talented photographers:

1. Lee Litumbe || @spiritedpursuit

Whether you’re using a smartphone or DSLR, the key to taking great photos starts with good light. Always shoot against direct light (unless you are going for very romantic wedding/engagement style photos), and use the rule of thirds to help when composing your shot.

From there, you’ll need to experiment to cultivate and develop a unique style for yourself. To do that, determine what type of story or emotions you want to convey through your images, then just work from there.

If you’re using a DSLR, take time to learn about all the features your camera has and invest in learning about how to edit images in post production. Most people think beautiful images are simply captured (which can sometimes be the case for candids and landscapes), but the reality is that most are actually produced and created. Practicing and experimenting is what ultimately will help you develop your skills.

2. James Anthony || @iamjamesanthony

When I travel and take photos, I try to always capture the mood of an environment. I love landscape shots that capture a whole scene. I always try to think of what I would love to see for years to come; something that I want to be timeless.

Composition is probably the biggest concern, so make sure the photo is visually appealing to the eye. Creating lines that draw the eye to a particular place within the image.

Clarity facilitates in making an image pop as well. I like to look at an image and feel as if I am still there.

3. Holly-Marie Cato || @h_cato

A post shared by Holly-Marie Cato (@h_cato) on

Separate yourself from the tourists; as a travel photographer I thrive of showing real authentic places or at least a new perspective on something familiar.

At destinations where you have very little time, striking up conversations with locals to find out where they hang out or places they advise, may completely derail your initial plans. But if you’re like me, who feeds off authenticity, these experiences will feel greater and translate into richer imagery too.

4. Ashley Renne || @travellushes

My favourite way to make my travel photos extra special is to edit them in Lightroom. If you are using a DSLR, I suggest shooting your photos in RAW format instead of JPEG, which will give you greater control during the editing process.

That way, you can really make your images pop!

5. Erick Prince || @minoritynomad

A post shared by Erick Prince (@minoritynomad) on

Before you go, learn the basics of photography and your gear. Photography wise, learn the rule of thirds, exposure triangle, and storytelling. Gear wise, learn how to adjust aperture, ISO, and manual focus if you have it. Learning the basics will instantly make your photos better.

When you get there, document the place. Travel photography should be about the place, the people, and the culture. Remove yourself from the narrative temporarily and seek out images which tell the story of that place. Engaging with locals is the perfect way to capture authentic shots and experiences.

When photographing popular places, look for a different perspective or take on common shots. Move away from the crowds and explore a bit. Finding something unique is a matter of effort which sets the spectacular shots apart from the average.

6. Eulanda Shead Osagiede || @dipyourtoesin

Shooting better travel photos means seeking to understand where the technicalities of photo taking meet with the story in front of you, or in some cases, the story you actually want to tell.

Think about the photos you want to capture. Use Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration, but seek to develop your own style versus copying viral photos.

Instead of putting your camera on automatic, if you have a DSLR, use aperture priority or manual. Don’t depend on how the camera interprets the scene, spend time understanding how to adjust your white balance, ISO, and aperture. Your photos will thank you for the effort!

Lastly, ditch the overused filters and let your photos sing acapella. If you’re editing photos on the go, use the Lightroom mobile app. It’s fast, easy to use, and it gives you a wide range of editing functions.

7. Quinn Russell || @travellersbazaar

When taking travel photos, use lines of perspective and think of your photograph as a work of art. You need to frame the subject. While it doesn’t have to be perfected and staged, a framed subject matter helps guide the viewer to see your perspective.

My best advice is to study and practice, then repeat!

8. Tanya Weekes || @tanyaweekes

Travel like a local and photograph the smaller details to give more insightful and less generic pictures.

For instance, in The Gambia, people eat together from one bowl, the local shop will serve you fresh bread wrapped in newspaper, and you will see cows randomly crossing the roads. These details might be not be seen if you are staying in a fancy beachfront hotel and don’t explore beyond that.

Also, for sharper, clearer images, don’t forget to clean your lens often! Dust and grease on your iPhone lens is very easy to build up and will result in dull and cloudy pictures.

9. Osose Oboh || @ososee

A post shared by Osose Oboh (@ososee) on

Lighting is everything. Find a shady of very sunny spot, face the direction of the sun, and watch your skin glow in the photo.

Also, don’t be too critical! Some of the best shots happen as you’re experiencing a new culture or place. So have fun, capture everything and when you look back, you’ll be happy you did.

10. Angelica Smiley || @smileyadventures

I always take pictures of moments, whether it’s drinking and eating with friends or laying out on the beach. These moments can easily be missed when you’re having fun.

Take pictures of things you may not see as amusing because I’ve come home to realise that I didn’t take enough pictures of things that represents the country, like street signs to local store fronts. It’s okay to take multiple photos of the same subject until you get it right.

In terms of logistical advice, always carry extra SD cards, make sure that they are in the right format and actually work before you travel. Never leave your camera in a check-in bag in case it gets lost or stolen when you go to claim it.

11. Moulaye Diarra || @livelyjourney

A post shared by Moulaye (@livelyjourney) on

Get to know your environment. I tend to always take a walk around the vicinity of my accommodation in every city I visit, while stopping to talk to new people and trying new foods. Doing this helps me to connect with the city, which reflects in my images.

Trust your tools – you don’t need a fancy camera to take great pictures. Some of my best images were captured with my iPhone!

Most importantly, remember to have fun! Don’t travel with the sole goal of posting amazing images to social media. Enjoy yourself, capture something memorable, then share with everyone.

Looking for some inspiration on where to use these tips? Click here to read Exploring Malta: My First Impressions

Melanin Travel

Encouraging you to keep exploring the world through advice, inspiration and experiences.