How To Take Travel Photos Like A Pro
You might not have thousands of followers on Instagram but that doesn’t matter. Show everyone you know you’re up there with the best when it comes to taking beautiful holiday shots. Here’s everything you need to know to make your photographs look professional, even when you’ve just snapped them in the moment with your smartphone.
Try to include people in your photographs. It doesn’t mean that you have to have a lot of group photos or planned poses, you can use the locals within your scene. This is an easy way to show the day-to-day of a place – the local pastry shop, people walking their dogs or chatting over a coffee.
People will make your photographs more personal, but they will also give a sense of perspective and scale when you’re stood in beautiful vast spaces or next to huge monuments. People will always add to the story you want to tell.
Pay attention to detail
Not every shot needs to be big, so take some time along your journey to notice the little things too. Is there some interesting tiling? How about a flower growing through cracks in the pavement? A small moment can be all you need to capture a place or a feeling. The details will also help you find an interesting focal point, like footprints in the snow or trickling water over rocks.
Equally, look out for the things you don’t want in your photo. You might look back through your photos and suddenly notice a plastic bag in the distance drafting behind your friend in the picture. Take the time to make sure everything in the frame is exactly where you want it to be.
Make the usual more unusual
Often, you’ll be travelling to places which have landmarks and typical tourist spots. Instead of taking the same photo as everyone else, why not move your focus to something else and have the landmark in the background? Maybe you see a group of dogs being walked beneath the Eiffel Tower or someone on roller-blades zooming past the London Eye.
Pro tip: invest in a small tripod to keep your phone still and avoid blur.
There’s nothing wrong with using filters
There are a lot of apps which will help to enhance photos taken on your smartphone, all you have to do is decide what style you like. Do you want to shoot everything in black and white? Do you want all of your pictures to be full of color and vibrant? Pick something you like and stick with it to create a more refined look for all your photos.
Pro tip: Don’t take photos within the apps as the image definition will be a lower quality.
Go under water
If you’ve ever wondered how other people have taken their photos underwater, there’s a simple trick: they’ve used a waterproof phone case. Not only will this allow you to dive in for photos mid-swim but it’ll also be helpful for those sudden changes in weather – if there’s a sudden downpour you don’t have to head indoors, stay outside and take shots of people and places in the rain. Water’s also great for reflections in photos. Get down close to the edge of puddles, pools and lakes for some really unique shots.
Use the traditional rules of photography
Rule of Thirds
Try and use the rule of thirds when you’re preparing to take your photograph. To do this, you need to imagine (if you can) that there are lines that divide your image into a grid of thirds – three boxes across the top, middle and bottom. The focal point should fill one third of the image. This will help to stop the temptation of placing your subject in the middle of the photo.
You can lead the eye of whoever is looking at your photographs to where you want them to look – this called using leading lines. You just need to find something in the landscape that will naturally draw attention and then continue a line for the eye to follow, like the trail on a hill which leads up to your focal point, the peak.
Use the landscape around you to frame the main focus of your image. If you want to capture a floating balloon, can you frame it through an open window or a doorway? Always make sure that what you use for framing doesn’t take away the attention what you want the focus to be on.
Framing is also a great way to play with symmetry. Using patterns and having a balance within photographs is a simple way to make your photo easy on the eye.
Pro tip: Don’t use the flash on your smartphone, this will lower the quality of your image.
Smartphone owners, rejoice. Now you’re ready to go out into the world and take some beautiful pictures. Read our blog about Instagram-worthy destinations - Everything You Need to Make Your Summer Holiday Epic - and discover the next location to show off your new photography skills.