The 12 Travel Photography Tips that Helped me Most

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There’s no denying that travel and photos go hand in hand. After all, you’re having the experience of a lifetime, visiting places you thought you’d only ever dream about or stare at through a computer screen… so of course you want to do all you can to remember every single moment!

However capturing what you see with your eyes in a photograph can at times be challenging, especially if you’re new to photography or just bought a new camera that you haven’t learned to operate yet. I too struggled with knowing how to capture my travel photos in the early days of blogging and when I look back now I can’t help but to cringe at some of the snaps I took!

To ensure this doesn’t happen to you and you start taking great amazing travel photographs sooner rather than later, I’ve put together the top 12 travel photography tips that have helped me most when snapping my holidays!

lake bled slovenia

1. Research Locations Before you Arrive

Hands down my best tip for taking better travel photos is to stop winging it and do a little research before you arrive. Sure, winging it is always good fun, but if you’re after the best snaps of a new city, you’ll need to know where to go to get them first! My favourite tools for researching photography locations are Pinterest and Instagram.

For Pinterest I simply search the new destination I’m travelling to, i.e. “Paris”, and see what comes up. After a few hours of endless inspiration I’ve got a list as long as my arm that I want to tick off in a few days – all in search of those magical moments!

For Instagram I have a few ways to research a new location, but my favourite is to search for the tourism board’s Instagram and scroll their feed as it will be a great source to find the best photographs showing off the location. Some tourism boards do this better than others of course, but if you’re heading to a destination like @Tasmania, I promise you there’s no better way to find the best photo locations than their Instagram feed!

2. Morning & Afternoon Light

Perhaps the one single factor that always has to be considered when taking not just travel photos but any photos, is light. Most photographers will tell you that mornings at sunrise and early evenings an hour before and during sunset are hands down the best times to take photos. I’m a huge believer of this too and almost always take my photos first thing in the morning and at sunset – the colours are much more impressive and give a beautiful tone to photographs.

3. Weather Depending

A huge factor I think many travellers overlook is weather. As someone who loves all seasons equally (yes, I’m one of those crazy people who absolutely adore winter), I love to travel any time of year. However I couldn’t help but to notice that my photographs of Paris were much more colourful and lively in Spring than they were in Autumn or Winter. Thus I would suggest considering the weather factor with any of trips and keeping in mind that your photos will be significantly impacted by weather, so plan accordingly!

4. Learn to Edit, Subtly

It has taken me years to really find my signature editing process and surprisingly to most I sit down to coffee with and divulge all of my ‘secrets’ to, my editing process is incredibly simplistic. Early on in my blogging days I thought I could edit photos to look exactly how I wanted them to, even if that meant over saturating colours to make the image look more colourful and summery. I have since learned that subtle changes are best, as well as that I would prefer to spend longer getting “the shot” than I would sitting at a computer editing the photograph later. One great tip a photographer told me a couple years ago was to edit your photos as you wish, then go back and reduce your edits by 50%.

5. Find out the Apps + Programs the Pros are Using

Whenever I meet up with photographers or fellow bloggers that I admire, I almost always ask what photo editing software and apps they use. While most professional photographers use Photoshop (something I am yet to conquer), many of the people I admire manage to still edit their photos through iPhone apps only – something I too am fond of, especially being on-the-go so much! My process is fairly simple, usually only requiring a few tweaks through the Instagram app itself. I’ll almost always increase the brightness, saturation, decrease highlights, adjust shadows and increase the sharpness. Et voila!

6. Pack Only What you Need

Although it might seem like a trivial tip to give, I can promise you over-packing has often been more troublesome for me over the years than under-packing has! Once upon a time I would pack all of my cameras, lenses and tools… and I mean all of them! I’d pack two professional cameras, a small hand held camera, an instant camera, a handful of lenses…. even iPhone lenses! These days I know how to plan for the type of trip I’m taking and leaving anything unnecessary at home. The truth is that if you’re unsure whether you will use something, chances are you won’t.

7. Landscapes are Better with People in Them

When I first started solo travelling almost five years ago, I would always be asked by friends, family and eventually readers of my blog why I was always facing away from the camera. Its so funny to think back now at how many times I answered that question and defended by decision to be a part of the photo and not the actual photo itself. Of course nowadays everyone seems to be doing it and I can totally see why! Having a person in your frame tells a story and makes the viewer picture themselves there in your shoes. People also create a sense of scale for monuments, sights or attractions on your travels.

8. Ditch the Observation Deck

It took me far too many years to realise that the best photos weren’t to be taken from the observation deck or designated photo spots for travellers. More often than not the best views will be those you have to work for – climbing up mountains without tracks, jumping over “no entry” signs or entering a sight/attraction before opening hours. Proceed with caution but be brave!

9. Timing is Everything

On that note, beating the tourist rush is absolutely integral to landing a great photograph. Most travel guides say to arrive at popular attractions as soon as they enter to avoid the lines to enter, but really you want to add another hour before that to snap great photos before any of the tourists are even out of bed!

10. Look at Postcards

Sometimes I arrive in a new city with absolutely no prior research or planning whatsoever (I know, I know… in direct contrast to tip #1!!) Whenever this is the case or my memory fails me as to where I’ll snap great photos of the city I’m visiting, I almost always head for the souvenir shops and look at postcards. Not only do they reveal the most popular sights/attractions in town, but will also give you a variety of ideas on angles and times of day to photograph them!

11. Invest in Camera Equipment that Suits your Needs

When I purchased my first DSLR camera I was a salesperson’s dream come true! I walked into the shop thinking that the most expensive piece of equipment must be the best and what I would need in order to take great photos. I have since learned that this is not entirely the case. Sure, investing a great deal of money can land you some pretty amazing equipment, but if you aren’t capable of using it you’ll still be taking mediocre photographs!

I have since sold the first two DSLR cameras I had and moved on to Olympus mirrorless products. Both of my cameras are much smaller and lighter than my original choices and best of all…. cheaper! I use an Olympus OMD EM5 Mark II and an Olympus PEN E-PL7.

12. Practice Makes Perfect

I know this tip might seem irrelevant or even obvious but I really can’t stress enough how much your photos will improve the more time you spend practicing! Even when I have a beautiful sunset or sunrise in front of me, I frantically run around finding new angles and play with lighting in the hopes to get better photos. I’m also always researching tips online like how to take photographs of stars or the rules of composition. You can never stop learning and improving!

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    July 19, 2016 at 2:42 pm

    very nice tips. Honestly, i really like your tips. I hope i will receive such tips in future also. So please keep moving forward.

    Sarkari Post
    July 18, 2016 at 7:34 pm

    Really i m gonna love this post. very useful.. thank you so much

    July 18, 2016 at 7:33 pm

    thank for the tips! Hope that I could read more and more useful article like this. Keeping moving forward!! <3

    Sarkari Post
    July 18, 2016 at 7:32 pm

    Article contains very important information..

    July 12, 2016 at 1:28 am

    Thanks for writing such a helpful post Brooke! I’ll definitely be using some of these when I go to Chiang Mai for the first time in a couple of days 🙂

    July 9, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    Great tips! I love the tip on editing your photos and then go back and reduce 50% of the editing. Thats so helpful because I think many people tend to want to over-edit and sometimes that can ruin the photo!

    Ali Bourke
    July 8, 2016 at 6:11 am

    Great tips – thank you!

    Ali x

    July 8, 2016 at 1:34 am

    Editing pictures is my favorite part after a trip. I get to relive my adventure and spend time making pictures come to life!

    the adventurer
    July 7, 2016 at 4:05 am

    Really a great list of tips! I just came back from a trip to Europe and really took the time to get the shot I wanted. It takes patience but like you said, better to take the time to get the shot rather than editing on your computer for hours

    July 5, 2016 at 11:16 pm

    Great tips Brooke, I’m definitely gonna try some of those 😀

    July 5, 2016 at 9:26 pm

    Thank you for your great tips!
    I use also Instagram as inspiration and idea bord for good spots 🙂


    July 4, 2016 at 8:35 am

    Your photos are definitely some of the best in the travel blogging world.
    I’d love to read a blog post where you start with an original photo and then walk us through how you tweak it… even if it is discrete and simple, like you say.

    Susan J. Smith
    July 3, 2016 at 10:21 pm

    I appreciate this post. I also do a travel blog (for fun) and find that the photos are such a big part of my blog. People always tell me they love my shots but that’s not why I do them. I love the fact that taking pictures helps me to slow down and really appreciate the experience. I was interested in your comment about shooting what are on Postcards. I was on a National Geographic trip to Norway and Svalbard once where the Nat Geo photographer on board the Explorer told us to see what’s on the postcards and then try to do something more original. Tough to do but interesting advice. Susan at

    July 3, 2016 at 7:11 pm

    Hi Brooke, do you edit your photos by using any professional softwares? I understand you don’t tend to use photoshop, but any other programmes you would recommend? (picmonkey, aperture etc?) Thank you in advance 😀

    • Brooke Saward
      July 4, 2016 at 5:54 am

      Hi Cory! I just use the iPhoto app on my laptop + mac for a few tweaks here and there / spend more time working on the shot on location 🙂 xx

    July 2, 2016 at 10:45 pm

    Such great tips, thanks for sharing. Definitely agree that landscape photos look so much better with people in them! Really helps give depth to the photo!

    July 2, 2016 at 10:11 pm

    Hey Brooke, make a plan to visit India, it’s a country full of different culture according to regions, I am sure yo will enjoy this.

    July 2, 2016 at 5:11 pm

    Love this article, always super useful. And it’s true that you definitely see the difference when you take a landscape snap with or without someone in it !

    Rohan Patel
    July 2, 2016 at 3:26 pm

    Awesome tips brooke, and i do believe morning and afternoon light plays a vital role in photos… i have seen huge difference in both of them.

    July 2, 2016 at 12:44 pm

    This is so helpful! I have the same question about the lens you use for the Olympus pen if you don’t mind sharing!

    • Brooke Saward
      July 3, 2016 at 6:30 am

      14-42 mm 🙂 Sorry I always forget to include! I have 3 or 4 other lenses for it but NEVER take this one off! Its a winner!

    July 2, 2016 at 7:28 am

    The editing tip is so true! I’m only just getting the hang of it (maybe) – some of my older posts look like they’ve been dipped in acid! xxx
    Lucy @

    July 2, 2016 at 6:40 am

    Although I appreciate the tips, I do think it’s irresponsible to tell people to jump over “do not enter” signs. Those signs are there for a reason, and usually a damn good one. Sometimes it’s to prevent any impact on the environment or native species, and often it’s to keep people safe from dangers that are not always immediately apparent to a non-expert. If you see a shot from an impossible-looking angle by a pro, chances are he/she got special permits and worked with locals and/or authorities to ensure extra safety precautions.

    Kristen @ Muddle + Joy
    July 2, 2016 at 4:38 am

    It’s so true that landscapes are better with people in them — heck, I think ALL pictures are better with people in them! It’s the story that makes the picture, or at least seeing a person allows you to imagine yourself there. It adds an element of both mystery and possibility. Great trips!

    July 2, 2016 at 12:41 am

    Thank you for common sense real tips that are so-o true.

    sophie nadeau
    July 1, 2016 at 8:46 pm

    Pictures really do tell a thousands words… and lighting is definitely key!

    July 1, 2016 at 7:29 pm

    Awesome post

    July 1, 2016 at 7:22 pm

    Thanks for the tips as i’m going on holiday soon so these will be great help!!X


    July 1, 2016 at 7:13 pm

    Great tips! Thank you

    July 1, 2016 at 6:31 pm

    Great tips!

    Kate |

    Rosie Bate
    July 1, 2016 at 6:16 pm

    Such a brilliant post – I’ve always loved your photography!
    I was wondering what lens you use for your Olympus PEN? I’m planning to invest in one before my travels this summer and unsure whether to invest in an extra lens to the pancake lens in the kit. Would love any advice!

    Rosie xx

    • Brooke Saward
      July 3, 2016 at 6:31 am

      Hey Rosie! I use the 14-42mm lens for my PEN and never take it off 🙂 xx

    July 1, 2016 at 2:08 pm

    I really love this post. Thanks for your sharing. Hope that I could read more and more useful article like this. Keeping moving forward!! <3

    July 1, 2016 at 10:13 am

    Thanks for the tips! Honestly, I’ve been into the “face the back” style of photography, especially @helloemillie’s Instagram!