9 Tips For Better Travel Photography

A question I get asked quite a bit is if I have “any travel photography tips?” If this is something you have been wondering as well, then this article is for you! Here are my top photography tips for people who want to perfect their travel photography:

1. Get “the shot,” but then look for other angles as well.

In regards to the topic of popular travel shots, I see a lot of people lean one way or another. On the one hand, you have people who are very focused on replicating every picture they see online. On the other hand, I see a lot of people who are obsessed with being original and only take photos that they think are unique. I wouldn’t recommend either extreme for you. I am a firm believer in moderation, so I encourage you to balance both mindsets. Get “the shot.” It’s popular for a reason and replicating it is great practice for you. Recreating images you’ve seen will help you learn. But don’t just take those photos. After you get the shots you’ve been liking on instagram, find other angles that catch your eye. Pay attention to the shapes, colors, and textures that surround you and get creative with your pictures.

film-008-againweb film-008-againsweb

2. Get lost and talk to the locals.

Just like it is important to take unique photos of trendy places, it is also important to find less known places to photograph. I mean, getting pictures of monuments and popular shops is great and all, but you should also photograph more than just what you’ve seen all over social media. Put the map down sometimes and choose a path based solely on what catches your eye. And talk to the locals. As you explore, meet interesting people and ask them where they like to take pictures. Trust me, you will find some amazing places to shoot and then your instagram won’t look like everyone else’s.

fancy-doorWhen I was in Hawaii last month, one of my favorite days was spent exploring this little street off the coast. I saw that ↑ blue door when driving and instantly pulled over. It’s so cute right? ???? Anyways, I was only planning on getting a photo of the door, but then I found beautiful plants, charming homes, and adorable little goats. I ended up having one of the most enjoyable photography experiences, all because I let myself break away from the schedule.

3. Make sure you take an equal amount of vertical and horizontal photos.

Another thing I see beginner photographers do quite a bit is get into a habit of taking all of their photos at one angle. This is not a bad thing, but it is a limiting thing. Though there’s nothing wrong with preferring horizontal or vertical photos, it can keep you from having the right pictures for future projects. For instance, some photo albums look better with only horizontal images. Or if you are a pinterest lover, you might have noticed that vertical images get much better responses than horizontal ones do. So take advantage of both angles. Horizontal and vertical images are both beautiful.

IMG_1411-for-web film-008-again-3web

4. Take photos at different f-stops.

F-stops are what control your depth-of-field. A large number f-stop will bring everything in your lens into focus. A small number f-stop will concentrate on wherever you focus your camera and then blur the background. Depending on your style, there will definitely be some f-stops which you prefer over others. For instance, I use the f-stops 10 and 11 (and up!) much more than any others. I tend to like my photos to look just like I saw them with my eyes, so I want everything to be in focus. There are definitely times that I want to blur a background, though. Using an f-stop like 5.6 gives a dreamy look to your backgrounds and is great for taking pictures of people and objects such as flowers. So play around with the f-stops!

5. Implement the human element.

As much as I love taking scenic photos without people in them (the pictures look so un-touched and mystical this way), there is also something beautiful about adding people to your shots. Implementing the human element puts the size of everything in perspective. You know, giving you the chance to show everyone just how tall that mountain actually is or how wide those Redwood tree trunks really are. And if your subject is wearing an outfit that compliments the scenery, the photos can become much more interesting and magical works of art than they might have been without the person. So when you travel, definitely take photos when other tourists or locals are “in the way.” Or if you have a tripod handy, get in front of the camera yourself!

rule-of-thirds rule-of-thirds-example

6. Learn the Rule of Thirds.

If there is one important photography rule to learn, it is The Rule of Thirds. The principles of this rule is that you mentally divide your image using two vertical lines and two horizontal lines (as shown above). Then, you position your points of interest along those lines or where the points meet. This rule helps you create compositions that are more natural and pleasing to the eye. Of course, there are times to break this rule. As with all things, though, it is best to learn the rules before you break them. So study the pictures of talented photographers, see how many of those images have the rule of thirds, and then apply this rule to your own work.

7. Shoot all of your photos in RAW.

I’m sure you have heard a million photographers encourage shooting in RAW. And maybe you’re sick of hearing it because you just hate how it eats up your memory card and hard drive space (I hear ya!). But I honestly cannot stress its importance enough. Trust me, the control you have over your images in post processing is completely worth the enlarged file sizes! So please, please, please take all of your photos in RAW.

sunset-photo-tips

8. Leave your mornings and evenings free for photography.

While you can get some amazing shots at any time of day, the best hours to take photographs is, without a doubt, in the mornings and evenings. The light is much softer at these times, allowing you to get shots without the stark shadows and highlights from afternoon sun which will give you much more editing possibilities when you post-process each photo later.

summer fruit whale-watching

9. Don’t get carried away with the contrast and saturation.

This is one of the biggest mistakes I see beginner photographers make. Since they are unfamiliar with all of the ins and outs of editing, they simply crank up the contrast and saturation levels to extremes. Please don’t. 🙂 When it comes to saturation and contrast, less is definitely more. It is better to gradually adjust the hue and saturation of each individual color in lightroom than to just jack the saturation of the entire image up to 50+. For most images, I would recommend just boosting the images saturation to +10 and then only working with the individual color saturations after that.

finished-for-webAnyways, those are my travel photography tips! I hope they were helpful for you ♥︎ What are some of your favorite things to photograph? Or do you have any stories of great photography days? Let me know in the comments!

xo, mikéla

9 Tips For Better Travel Photography

A question I get asked quite a bit is if I have “any travel photography tips?” If this is something you have been wondering as well, then this article is for you! Here are my top photography tips for people who want to perfect their travel photography:

1. Get “the shot,” but then look for other angles as well.

In regards to the topic of popular travel shots, I see a lot of people lean one way or another. On the one hand, you have people who are very focused on replicating every picture they see online. On the other hand, I see a lot of people who are obsessed with being original and only take photos that they think are unique. I wouldn’t recommend either extreme for you. I am a firm believer in moderation, so I encourage you to balance both mindsets. Get “the shot.” It’s popular for a reason and replicating it is great practice for you. Recreating images you’ve seen will help you learn. But don’t just take those photos. After you get the shots you’ve been liking on instagram, find other angles that catch your eye. Pay attention to the shapes, colors, and textures that surround you and get creative with your pictures.

film-008-againweb film-008-againsweb

2. Get lost and talk to the locals.

Just like it is important to take unique photos of trendy places, it is also important to find less known places to photograph. I mean, getting pictures of monuments and popular shops is great and all, but you should also photograph more than just what you’ve seen all over social media. Put the map down sometimes and choose a path based solely on what catches your eye. And talk to the locals. As you explore, meet interesting people and ask them where they like to take pictures. Trust me, you will find some amazing places to shoot and then your instagram won’t look like everyone else’s.

fancy-doorWhen I was in Hawaii last month, one of my favorite days was spent exploring this little street off the coast. I saw that ↑ blue door when driving and instantly pulled over. It’s so cute right? ???? Anyways, I was only planning on getting a photo of the door, but then I found beautiful plants, charming homes, and adorable little goats. I ended up having one of the most enjoyable photography experiences, all because I let myself break away from the schedule.

3. Make sure you take an equal amount of vertical and horizontal photos.

Another thing I see beginner photographers do quite a bit is get into a habit of taking all of their photos at one angle. This is not a bad thing, but it is a limiting thing. Though there’s nothing wrong with preferring horizontal or vertical photos, it can keep you from having the right pictures for future projects. For instance, some photo albums look better with only horizontal images. Or if you are a pinterest lover, you might have noticed that vertical images get much better responses than horizontal ones do. So take advantage of both angles. Horizontal and vertical images are both beautiful.

IMG_1411-for-web film-008-again-3web

4. Take photos at different f-stops.

F-stops are what control your depth-of-field. A large number f-stop will bring everything in your lens into focus. A small number f-stop will concentrate on wherever you focus your camera and then blur the background. Depending on your style, there will definitely be some f-stops which you prefer over others. For instance, I use the f-stops 10 and 11 (and up!) much more than any others. I tend to like my photos to look just like I saw them with my eyes, so I want everything to be in focus. There are definitely times that I want to blur a background, though. Using an f-stop like 5.6 gives a dreamy look to your backgrounds and is great for taking pictures of people and objects such as flowers. So play around with the f-stops!

5. Implement the human element.

As much as I love taking scenic photos without people in them (the pictures look so un-touched and mystical this way), there is also something beautiful about adding people to your shots. Implementing the human element puts the size of everything in perspective. You know, giving you the chance to show everyone just how tall that mountain actually is or how wide those Redwood tree trunks really are. And if your subject is wearing an outfit that compliments the scenery, the photos can become much more interesting and magical works of art than they might have been without the person. So when you travel, definitely take photos when other tourists or locals are “in the way.” Or if you have a tripod handy, get in front of the camera yourself!

rule-of-thirds rule-of-thirds-example

6. Learn the Rule of Thirds.

If there is one important photography rule to learn, it is The Rule of Thirds. The principles of this rule is that you mentally divide your image using two vertical lines and two horizontal lines (as shown above). Then, you position your points of interest along those lines or where the points meet. This rule helps you create compositions that are more natural and pleasing to the eye. Of course, there are times to break this rule. As with all things, though, it is best to learn the rules before you break them. So study the pictures of talented photographers, see how many of those images have the rule of thirds, and then apply this rule to your own work.

7. Shoot all of your photos in RAW.

I’m sure you have heard a million photographers encourage shooting in RAW. And maybe you’re sick of hearing it because you just hate how it eats up your memory card and hard drive space (I hear ya!). But I honestly cannot stress its importance enough. Trust me, the control you have over your images in post processing is completely worth the enlarged file sizes! So please, please, please take all of your photos in RAW.

sunset-photo-tips

8. Leave your mornings and evenings free for photography.

While you can get some amazing shots at any time of day, the best hours to take photographs is, without a doubt, in the mornings and evenings. The light is much softer at these times, allowing you to get shots without the stark shadows and highlights from afternoon sun which will give you much more editing possibilities when you post-process each photo later.

summer fruit whale-watching

9. Don’t get carried away with the contrast and saturation.

This is one of the biggest mistakes I see beginner photographers make. Since they are unfamiliar with all of the ins and outs of editing, they simply crank up the contrast and saturation levels to extremes. Please don’t. 🙂 When it comes to saturation and contrast, less is definitely more. It is better to gradually adjust the hue and saturation of each individual color in lightroom than to just jack the saturation of the entire image up to 50+. For most images, I would recommend just boosting the images saturation to +10 and then only working with the individual color saturations after that.

finished-for-webAnyways, those are my travel photography tips! I hope they were helpful for you ♥︎ What are some of your favorite things to photograph? Or do you have any stories of great photography days? Let me know in the comments!

xo, mikéla

  1. Renee

    April 1st, 2017 at 5:00 am

    Your photography is honestly beautiful! Thanks for sharing your tips! 🙂

  2. Davelyn

    April 1st, 2017 at 9:05 am

    Thanks Renee!

  3. Mich Joseph

    April 2nd, 2017 at 2:36 pm

    Fab tips!

    Mich x
    https://michjosephblog.wordpress.com

  4. Davelyn

    April 3rd, 2017 at 8:06 am

    Thanks Mich!

  5. laurajaneatelier

    April 2nd, 2017 at 11:12 pm

    These are such great tips, I love your photos
    xo
    http://www.laurajaneatelier.com

  6. Davelyn

    April 3rd, 2017 at 8:06 am

    Thank you! xo

  7. Aleksandra

    April 2nd, 2017 at 11:58 pm

    These are some really stunning shots!

  8. Davelyn

    April 3rd, 2017 at 8:07 am

    Thank you Aleksandra!

  9. Kelsey

    April 3rd, 2017 at 8:09 pm

    Love love love these tips Mikéla! I found myself nodding enthusiastically to every point you made. I always say learning photography is part original and part “copying.” Like sometimes I “copy” shots because I love it and often I find out that that style doesn’t really work for me, but it helps me get creative and stop shooting just vertical or at the same angle. SOOOO funny because I fought the “raw photo” advice for so long… and I have no idea why! Just pure stubborn-ness I guess 🙂

    Also I just LOVE those first three photos you posted. Like they belong on someone’s walls they are so gorgeous.. and make me want to go to Hawaii stat! xo

    Kelsey | http://www.abalancingpeach.com

  10. Davelyn

    April 4th, 2017 at 1:34 pm

    I was stubborn about using RAW too haha. I absolutely hated how much space they take. My 1 terabyte hard drive makes everything so much better now though 🙂

    Thank you! They are my favorite photos from the entire tip and I am actually planning on having them printed and hung on a wall together. 🙂

  11. Floortje

    April 4th, 2017 at 5:35 am

    Love your photography! Thanks for sharing your tips dear

    Xx,

    || FLOORTJELOVES ||

    http://www.floortjeloves.com

  12. Davelyn

    April 4th, 2017 at 2:41 pm

    Thank you! xo

  13. Ashley

    April 4th, 2017 at 10:16 am

    These are such great photos tips, lady- and I agree, RAW is where it’s AT!

    -Ashley
    Le Stylo Rouge

  14. Davelyn

    April 4th, 2017 at 2:58 pm

    Thanks Ashley!

  15. roguedadmd

    April 4th, 2017 at 3:03 pm

    These are great tips! It’s always great to hear what other photographers recommend to give yourself a refresh. I definitely need to get out there more with my camera and just shoot what’s around for practice and inspiration.

    xx Yasmin
    http://banglesandbungalows.com

  16. Davelyn

    April 4th, 2017 at 4:30 pm

    Thanks Yasmin! And I do too. I always shoot a ton on trips, but I need to photograph more around home too. xo

  17. shannon

    April 4th, 2017 at 6:39 pm

    So many amazing tips! Your photography is always so stunning! Love all the gorgeous colors!

    <3 Shannon 
    Upbeat Soles

  18. Davelyn

    April 6th, 2017 at 10:12 am

    Thank you Shannon!

  19. justatinabit

    April 4th, 2017 at 10:19 pm

    I love all of your tips and the flower spots are so dreamy. I also didn’t know about the contrast and saturation tip. I hope I don’t increase mine too much! I’ve actually never adjusted the hues for each color before but will start trying that out!

    Tina
    http://www.justatinabit.com

  20. Davelyn

    April 6th, 2017 at 10:13 am

    You definitely don’t Tina! I always love your photos 🙂

  21. Rach

    April 5th, 2017 at 2:45 am

    I definitely think these tips are so helpful! I agree and having a variety of angles makes a difference! P.S. I love your swimsuit!!!

    http://www.rdsobsessions.com

  22. Davelyn

    April 6th, 2017 at 10:13 am

    Thank you Rach! xo

  23. Lauren

    April 5th, 2017 at 4:25 am

    I love these tips! I am definitely guilty of taking most of my photos vertically! I need to be better about switching it up!

    By Lauren M

  24. Davelyn

    April 6th, 2017 at 10:15 am

    I know how that is 🙂 I go back and forth between loving one more than the other and am always having to remind myself to switch it up.

  25. Amy Arnold

    April 5th, 2017 at 5:33 am

    I am not great at this so thanks for the tips!

    Amy Ann
    Straight A Style

  26. Davelyn

    April 6th, 2017 at 10:15 am

    Thanks for reading Amy!

  27. Ela

    April 6th, 2017 at 8:42 am

    You’re definitely one of the pro photographers, I really like your photography and I believe I have so much to learn from you! One of the things I should start doing is taking photos in RAW, I have enough storage on my SD card but I keep avoiding it. Thank you for the great tips, I’m sure I’ll be using most if not all of them 🙂 x

    Ela BellaWorld

  28. Davelyn

    April 6th, 2017 at 10:16 am

    Aww thank you Ela. That means a lot to hear you say that ❤️

  29. katie

    April 6th, 2017 at 6:33 pm

    These tips are AMAZING! Bookmarking these tips for all my summer trips. How did you learn photography? You are seriously talented.

    ​xx katie // a touch of teal

  30. simplyalexandra12

    April 7th, 2017 at 12:38 pm

    These are great tips! I definitely forget to think about the number of vertical vs. horizontal photos and the rule of thirds. I know them both… but get side tracked taking the photos. I guess that’s ok though, I usually love what I come up with. 🙂 I love the micro shots of the flora. 🙂 I like to photograph food and streets most. 🙂 XO – Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

  31. Cielo Fronteras

    April 9th, 2017 at 8:50 pm

    These photos are AMAZING! Great tips! =)

    – Cielo
    Mermaid in Heels

  32. Gabrielle

    April 10th, 2017 at 3:14 am

    This is a fabulous guide! Your travel photography is completely beautiful; the images in this post have set me off daydreaming about warm-climate holidays! Totally with you on appreciating the Rule of Thirds, and good point about not notching up the saturation when it comes to travel photography. Have a lovely week!

    aglassofice.com
    x

  33. Jacquard Flower

    April 10th, 2017 at 3:24 am

    Such great tips. Thanks for sharing them.

    Gemma x
    http://www.jacquardflower.uk

  34. Alina Bostan

    April 18th, 2017 at 11:18 am

    There’s still so much I need to learn about photography so your advice and tips are super helpful. I definitely need to check out my camera settings about sooting in RAW as I never have before. PS I love your swimsuit x

    Beauty with charm

  35. Rachel Holliday

    April 19th, 2017 at 1:16 am

    These tips are perfect hun! I need to remember the rule of thirds, as I often forget it. Haha at the saturation and contrast- on my first few posts, I waaay over did them

    Rachel xx
    http://www.thedailyluxe.net

Leave a Reply

@YOURUSERnAME

Instagram: @simplydavelyn

%d bloggers like this: