How to Take Better Travel Photos: 8 Tips for Capturing Stunning Images with Your Smartphone or Camera

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As a travel blogger with more than eight years of experience capturing and sharing my journeys through photography, I’m excited to share my tips and tricks with you on how to take better pictures with your smartphone or camera.

Photography is an incredible way to capture memories and share them with others. It’s amazing how a single picture can tell a story and evoke emotions.

So, let’s dive into eight different things to think about when taking pictures to make sure your travel photos stand out.

Sunrise Over the Incredible Bagan.

Understand Your Device

This is one of the most important aspects of photography. No matter how good your camera is, it’s only as good as the person using it. Take the time to learn the features and settings of your smartphone or camera. Experiment with different modes and settings to see what works best for your style of photography.

Focus on Composition

 A good composition can elevate a photo from average to extraordinary. Consider the rule of thirds when framing your shots. This involves dividing the frame into thirds both horizontally and vertically and placing your subject on one of the intersecting points. Additionally, experiment with different angles and perspectives to add interest to your photos.

A Mentawai shaman hunting in the jungles of Siberut island, Sumatra.

Use Natural Light

Lighting is everything when it comes to photography. Try to take pictures during the golden hours (early morning and late afternoon) when the light is soft and warm. Avoid taking pictures in direct sunlight as it can create harsh shadows and overexposure. This also merges into the planning your shots section. 

I never use a flash in my travel photography. I feel it takes away from the natural beauty of the picture. It is also something that can bother other people that are around while you are taking pictures.

Natural light can add emotion to your pictures.

Use Different Angles

Experiment with different angles to add interest to your photos. Get low to the ground for a unique perspective, or take photos from above for a bird’s eye view.

Of course always stay safe while taking photos, don’t risk your own safety for a picture!

A close up of a crimson dropwing, Thailand.

You may also be interested in: Equipment Advice for Epic Travel Photos

Focus on Details

 Sometimes, the small details can make the biggest impact in a photo. Pay attention to textures, patterns, and colors to add depth to your shots.

This will a little practise to get your eye in but it can really take your photos to the next level.

These painted skulls fill the front of many tourist markets in Mexico, Puebla.

Keep it Simple

 In photography, less is often more. Don’t clutter your photos with too many elements or distracting backgrounds. Keep the focus on your subject. 

Think when you are taking picture “where will the viewers eye be drawn”. You can also ask your friends to view your pictures and ask where their eyes are drawn. This can help you to improve getting the focus on your subject. 

Edit Your Photos

Editing can enhance your photos and give them a professional look. However, don’t go overboard with editing as it can make your pictures look artificial. Start by adjusting the brightness, contrast, and saturation. Then, use selective editing tools to enhance specific areas of the photo.

My top tip when editing is less is more. You want to edit the picture just enough so it isn’t really noticeable to the viewer. It takes practice and you probably won’t get it right away.

Practice, Practice, Practice

The old cliche “Practice make perfect” but it does ring true. Simply put the more you take pictures, the better you’ll become.

Don’t be afraid to experiment and make mistakes, no one starts as a pro. Learn from your failures and keep practicing.

You may also be interested in: How To Take Care of Your Camera While Travelling


In conclusion, taking pictures while traveling is a wonderful way to capture memories and share your journey with others. By following these tips, you’ll be able to take better pictures with your smartphone or camera and create stunning visuals to showcase your travels. 

Don’t forget one of my favourite photography quotes “It’s not enough to just own a camera. Everyone owns a camera. To be a photographer, you must understand, appreciate, and harness the power you hold!”
– Mark Denman

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