Travel Photography: Everything You Need to Know

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First of all, I’m not a professional photographer.

I just so happen to love travel and love photography, making me somewhat qualified to write a post about the topic of travel photography. 

After so many requests on instagram to write a post that covers everything I know about travel photography, I figured now is as good a time as any to divulge my tips and tricks as well as everything I’ve learned from a decade travelling the world, from Rome to Rio and everywhere in between!

Travel Photography


Travel Photography: Everything you need to know

There are loads of great resources floating around the internet and bookstores to help you take better travel photographs. This article aims to identify the key essentials to help you improve your travel photography skills. Thus it is aimed towards beginners and budding enthusiasts. So… here we go!

The Equipment

With so many options on the market that are great for the amateur travel photographer, it can be hard to know which option is right for you. After trying many different models and kits over the years, I’ve finally pinned down a camera that works for me: and it may surprise you! It’s not a big and heavy DSLR camera (though I have travelled with one in the past), but it does provide me with photos that are just as good, without the worry and hassle of a large heavy piece of equipment to lug around.

Epl7 Olympus


Having previously been weighed down by a heavy DSLR camera body with multiple lenses to switch between throughout each day, I’m ridiculously content with my latest arrangement – what I’m dubbing the perfect travel camera, particularly for bloggers. I’ve previously reviewed my current camera, the Olympus PEN E-PL7, which gives further insight into why I find it to be the perfect travel camera (particularly for solo travellers). However if you just want a quick overview: It is great for vlogging (video blogging) with a flipdown screen, takes a fantastic still in general settings, and has a heap of quick settings to achieve better shots in night photography mode, sports mode, or even trying creative artsy settings is a lot of fun.


Of course the lenses you choose will depend on the camera you choose (for specifics), but generally speaking you should be sure to get your hands on the following:

x1 wide angle lens

x1 zoom lens

x1 nifty fifty (a bloggers’ secret weapon)

We can skip the introductions as to why you need a wide angle lens and a zoom lens – its pretty straight forward that each of these will come in incredibly handy on your travels. But if you haven’t heard of the secret weapon that is the 50mm lens, make no delay in grabbing yourself one of these bad boys ASAP. These lenses produce a perfectly crisp shot and are typically used more than any other lens by bloggers for ‘those’ blog photos. You won’t regret it.



Don’t get too carried away snapping the perfect travel photos to show through social media that you forget to keep some special moments for yourself. A great way to capture moments and remember a place, person or feeling is to grab a quick snap on film. These tangible moments are a great way to keep moments for yourself – there’s still something special about a memory caught on film. I’d definitely recommend getting your hands on one of these bad boys – a Fujifilm Instax Mini.


This is perhaps one of the most overlooked aspects of travel photography, but arguably the most important thing to consider. The photos you capture are highly determined not just by the camera and lenses you choose, but also the accessories that help you take your mediocre photos to the next level. How?

If you want to take great underwater footage, consider a dive filter.

If you want to shoot videos at night or low lighting, consider an LED light.

If you are travelling solo, you can’t go wrong with a travel friendly tripod.

Before you Go

Consider theft: One of the worst case scenarios can be to lose your gear and subsequently your travel memories. Think about the preventative steps you can take to combat theft: be that by purchasing an unassuming camera bag or ‘roughing up’ your gear by covering it in some old tape. Be sure to do your research before you go and find out how safe it is to take your expensive gear with you – then act accordingly.

Back it up: Incase the above does occur, keep all your images backed up on an external hard drive or back up your images using an online provider such as Google Drive.

Insure: Incase you lose, have stolen, or damage your equipment, it is an absolute necessity to buy travel insurance and ensure you have a level of coverage that will include your expensive camera equipment. WOW uses Southern Cross Travel Insurance.

Practise makes perfect: Before you go, be sure to trial all your gear and get to know how it works best and works for you.

On location: Subjects


People are a great way to capture a place. In fact, they may be the best way to capture a bit of everything you think, feel and notice with your senses all at once. Be sure to ask before you take someone’s photo if you think the situation calls for it – it can also be a great conversation starter if you’re looking to meet some locals.


The way that you shoot a place – be it the Taj Mahal or the Hong Kong skyline – can quickly go from mediocre to magnificent just by employing a little creative. Instead of shooting your subject straight on (like every other tourist photo), why not take a photo from below, a fisheye photo from close up, or use a wide angle lens to capture more. Don’t be afraid to experiment and fail in the process. Just fail better next time.

Sunset Brooke

On location: Timing, Lighting, Composition


Timing can mean everything and anything to different people. When it comes to travel photography, much of whether you end up with a great shot or not at all will be as a result of timing. Try to be patient and wait it out if you see a good opportunity for a photograph but need a subject in the frame to tell the story better or need to return when the sun is not so harsh.


It’s natural to want to shoot all day, all the time, and everywhere when you’re on a vacation. However the best images will likely occur in the early mornings and early evenings as the sun is lower in the sky, thus providing a much softer light to photograph with.


Before you start snapping away because something looks amazing to the naked eye, it is imperative to ask yourself: what do I want to capture in the frame? Also just as important as what SHOULD be included is to consider what SHOULD NOT be included. Think about what you’re trying to convey by that photo – is there anything in the frame that would lead your audience to think otherwise? As much as I enjoy an old and faithful Starbucks coffee, it just doesn’t scream “culture” or “foreign experience” – so I’d be likely to leave that one out of frame.

Brooke Romania

Photographing a Journey

Telling a story is for me the ultimate way to take great travel photos. While once upon a time I used to shoot travel photos with myself in mind, to remember my travels, I now shoot with my audience in mind. In one photo – one instagram upload or one short video on youtube, I want to convince my audience to want to jump inside the photo and be right there with me. If you want to take your travel photography to the next level then ditch the logistics, ditch the expensive gear (though it helps), and just remember the golden rule: to photograph the journey. Take lots of photos, take different photos, get creative, get it wrong, go against the grain…. just remember its all about the journey – both your travels and your talent to capture it better.

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    February 2, 2016 at 4:36 pm

    That was every bit of advice I needed to have.
    But suppose you want to take a picture where you are not exactly facing the camera (turned around) in a relatively crowded place (say near the eiffel tower) and you are travelling solo, how do you use a tripod without the fear of it getting stolen while you’re busy posing or something.?

    December 14, 2015 at 7:59 pm

    I would really like your travel photography and thanks for us for this post.

    August 7, 2015 at 3:55 am

    I’m not a professional photographer but I love travel & photography as well! This post gave me some great ideas about how to take my travel photos to the next level! I don’t have a DSLR because I don’t want to carry around heavy equipment with me. I have a small samsung point & shoot camera but I definitely want to upgrade to a better brand. Thanks for sharing, Brooke!


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    Erin Shields
    May 12, 2015 at 2:30 am

    Does anyone know what sort of converter one would need to use the “nifty fifty” canon 50mm lens with a PEN E-PL7 camera? Do you even need one?

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    Irina Fernandes
    March 21, 2015 at 8:10 pm

    I would love to be an amazing photographer! After spending months saving money, I going on vacations but I would love to take amazing photos!

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    March 18, 2015 at 8:32 am

    Such great tips! I just moved to Prague from the United States and am definitely going to think about the audience when I’m photographing all the amazing architecture I see. Thanks <3 !

    Growing Positive
    March 18, 2015 at 2:42 am

    Makes me excited and just want to buy a fancy camera straight away. Can’t wait to go on Holiday to get some good snaps! thanks for the tips, definitely like the idea of telling a story with all the photos you take

    Growing Positive

    March 17, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    Where are some good sites online to buy good cameras?

    The Lisboners
    March 17, 2015 at 5:12 am

    This post is very helpful! Thanks! =)

    Tajirul Haque
    March 16, 2015 at 2:06 am

    Photography is almost an integral part of every trip as everybody loves to capture the beautiful experiences of his or her life. And when the arts and basic techniques are known to the traveler, it gets to a different level. I am not a good photographer and still learning the basics of photography. These tips are surely going me help me a lot. Thank you for the post. I really find this site very very helpful for me.

    Grace | The Beauty of Everywhere
    March 15, 2015 at 10:15 pm

    Great tips! I love the 50mm. Eventually, I’d love to add an Olympus Pen to the mix and take it on hikes etc. But I’ll never be able to give up my DSLR, especially for landscape shots 🙂

    March 15, 2015 at 8:46 pm

    Thanks for the great tips! I’ll definitely be using some of these in the future.

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    March 15, 2015 at 7:43 pm

    This is a great cool post! i learned a lot! Thank you! x

    March 15, 2015 at 2:58 pm

    These are so helpful. Thanks for sharing!

    March 15, 2015 at 9:13 am

    Thanks for the awesome tips! I’ll be checking out that camera ASAP, because it’s honestly such a burden to always carry my DSLR around. Even when I’m just out and about in my city, it can get too heavy for me really quick!!


    March 15, 2015 at 7:44 am

    I also just love to take pictures from places that I visited. And by the way here can find a selection of photos from the places where I had the opportunity to visit, though the photo processed but they perfectly capture the beauty and splendor of the places where I’ve been.

    Rouven @
    March 14, 2015 at 2:19 am

    the 50mm is a real killer lens. Although I’d neither leave my DSLR nor my tripod at home.

    March 13, 2015 at 6:34 pm

    How do you manage all your photo files? You must have a huge hard drive somewhere!

    Characters & Carry-ons

    Kat Smith
    March 13, 2015 at 10:31 am

    This is such a great reference! Thanks for sharing!!

    March 13, 2015 at 10:19 am

    Thanks for the tips! Until now, I’ve stuck with the standard lens that came with my DSLR, but I’d really like to start doing more research on more advanced lenses. If anyone has any resources/tips about lenses, please let me know!

    March 13, 2015 at 8:56 am

    loads of great advice!

    Brittany Stopa
    March 13, 2015 at 2:11 am

    Excellent advice! I have been looking to up my photography game and the combination of equipment and technique you share here will certainly help. Thanks!

    March 13, 2015 at 12:28 am

    Does anyone know what app or software she uses to make her title photos (the pictures with the words on it)?! Or anyone have a suggestion of their own :)?

      March 13, 2015 at 1:17 am

      Hey Maggie! You can use Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator to create that photos with text 🙂
      And in case you want to visit Torres del Paine… Last week I opened my site and I am giving you the best tips ever! And lot of pictures in between to inspire you 🙂

      Have fun!

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    March 12, 2015 at 5:53 pm

    Great article. Thinking about timing and lighting made me laugh out loud as I’ve literally stood in the same spot sometimes for hours waiting for the light or something else to change for the perfect shot.

    Leah of The Mochilera Diaries
    March 12, 2015 at 3:22 pm

    Great photography tips! Timing really can be everything and patience is super important in capturing a shot just the way you want it. I would love to look into some filters for my lenses, as I know they can make a world of difference! Post-processing is really important for bloggers too…I just recently started using Adobe Lightroom to edit photos and the difference is incredible!!

    March 12, 2015 at 11:39 am

    Thank you very much for a helpful post, Brooke. I am thinking of getting a new camera at this moment and looking for a good one for a blogger!
    In my opinion, composition is the most important for photos. It is the essence of photography as arts for me.
    Kozue from Tokyo Direct Diary

    March 12, 2015 at 10:52 am

    “Photograph the journey.” I think that perfectly captures the essence of travel photography.

    Silly Medley: Lifestyle and Travel

    Blizzard Girl
    March 12, 2015 at 8:15 am

    I’m planing on traveling this summer, great tips! Thanks:)


    Blizzard Girl
    March 12, 2015 at 8:14 am

    I’m planing on traveling this summer, these are great tips! Thanks:)


    Kayla-Paige Willsher
    March 12, 2015 at 8:09 am

    Thanks for the tips! I didn’t really have much knowledge about taking great photographs, I just used to click and hope for the best! Obviously there is much more to it than that, Lol! I love all your photos, they are always so colourful and vibrant!

    March 12, 2015 at 6:22 am

    I would love to get a polaroid and make a scrapbook of all my pics afterwards 🙂 I think that would be such a fun idea!
    XO Janina

    Charlotte Buckle
    March 12, 2015 at 5:52 am

    Wonderful advice! I will definitely be looking this over again before my future trip to Iceland 🙂
    C |

    March 12, 2015 at 5:35 am

    Olympus Pen is a really good and practical option for travelers!
    I’ve been using it for a few years now- it makes great photos and in the same time it’s light and compact.

    Marie @ Marie Away
    March 12, 2015 at 4:00 am

    Great tips! I have really been considering getting a mirrorless camera so I’m relying less on my DSLR. It really can be a burden to haul it around.

    I love the tips, especially the last one. Since I’ve started blogging, I’ve realized the importance of finding that picture that captures the journey, or the specific feel of a place, not necessarily just snapping randomly and out of context.

    March 12, 2015 at 3:39 am

    I will definitely be implementing some of these tips on my trip this May to Mexico 🙂

    karsyn benedict
    March 12, 2015 at 3:26 am

    I agree with these! I love taking my film camera when I go away because it’s so much more tangible and it’s fun looking back weeks later!

    Lisa @ Strum Simmer Sip
    March 12, 2015 at 3:17 am

    Great tips! I am new to blogging and am working on improving my photography skills slowly but surely. I think it might be a while before I graduate from my point and shoot Panasonic Lumix zs30, but this will be a great resource to refer back to once I’m ready to upgrade! Any tips on when to take the big leap? Thanks so much xx Lisa

    Rachel @ Vagabondbaker
    March 12, 2015 at 2:50 am

    Great tips!
    I’ve lugged a massive Canon 5D II DSLR for years now and it’s become too much. I’ve just downsized to a Fuji X-t1, a gorgeous retro-style compact system camera like your delicious Pen, I cannot wait to get back out travelling again with it, it has re-energised my photography! From the pics I’ve taken on it so far I’m super-impressed with it!
    Backing up is by far the best tip, I think we’ve all been caught out by that at some point. I erased (formatted) a whole heap of photos from my memory card in haste at a wedding, loosing lots of pictures from KL and the surrounding area: I was devastated!

    March 12, 2015 at 2:21 am

    I got an Olympus last fall as well and it is amazing! I was carrying around a heavy Nikon before and finally gave it up and haven’t looked back :]

    March 12, 2015 at 1:52 am

    Really nice article! We follow your block all the time. We are bloggers of and we use a canon70D, because for our travel blog photography AND movies are very important! With this camera we can create amazing images!

    Rachel @ Roses & Coffee
    March 12, 2015 at 12:18 am

    This post makes me want to buy a camera now! I’ve been thinking about it for a while. I love taking photos and editing them but it’s all been via my iPhone. These tips are really great and might just be the push I need to get a “real” camera 🙂

    March 11, 2015 at 10:40 pm

    Rad post Brooke, another little thing I do every night after an awesome day exploring, is back up my SD card. I’ve been caught to many times by losing it or worse case having it stolen. It’s a good habit I’ve gotten myself into!

    Jasiminne | Posh, Broke, & Bored
    March 11, 2015 at 10:30 pm

    Great post! I’m also a huge fan of the nifty fifty for travelling. Of all my lenses (I wrote a post about my different prime lenses and zoom lens here) if I had to carry only one it would be the 50mm – perfect for street photography, portraits, and almost everything! x

    Jasiminne | Posh, Broke, & Bored

    Tessa / Bramble & Thorn
    March 11, 2015 at 8:43 pm

    Great tips! I’m actually looking for a new camera, and the one you’ve recommended sounds perfect!

    Tessa at Bramble & Thorn

    March 11, 2015 at 7:48 pm

    Thank you for great tips. You are so right with the lightening as it can make such a huge difference. But the most important thing is to back up! When I was in London few months ago I left my camera in a bus and I was so unahappy about loosing all my travel photos. Luckily someone found it and gave it to the lost property. Londoners are my most favorite people ever since this experience! 😀
    Travel notes

    yubaraj bhusal
    March 11, 2015 at 7:36 pm

    Visit our page for Nepal Tour

    Michelle | Lights Camera Travel
    March 11, 2015 at 5:05 pm

    Absolutely, all great tips! I love the DSLR but it is incredibly bulky to travel with. I shoot with a Canon S110 which takes beautiful, crisp shots. Amazing how far high-end compacts have come!

    Kailey @ The Blonde Travelista
    March 11, 2015 at 4:49 pm

    This post couldn’t have come at a better time! I JUST purchased my first DSLR camera (well, mirror less since it’s lightweight and better for travel). So thank you 🙂

    Do you use Photoshop or light room, etc to edit your photos on your computer?


      Luna | Flowers and Pearls
      March 11, 2015 at 10:17 pm

      Congrats! I would really recommend Lightroom for editing photo’s, it’s easy in use and has a lot of options.