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30 Tips For Better Travel Photos

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For many travelers photography plays a large part in the travel experience, but even with top of the line photography equipment and post processing software there’s no guarantee you’ll come home with the “beauty shot(s)” you were hoping for. Timing, lighting, bad weather, crowds and impatient families all factor in.

HWY 163 Arizona

I’m no professional, but I am an avid photographer and have spent years happily snapping at every opportunity. This makes me an expert, right? Obviously not, but I’ve learned a lot from the photography classes and tours I’ve taken and I’ve happily received advice and tips from fellow travel bloggers, professional photographers, and other snap happy friends.

The Dark Hedges

Speaking of friends I’ve asked some of them for their best tips on how they get THE shot. Whether you’re in front of or behind the camera, into selfies, landscapes or family pics here (in their own words) are some of their (and my) hints for bringing home your “beauty” shot.

Safety First!

No photo is worth serious injury, or your life.  Stories of travelers and selfie takers losing their lives in the pursuit getting that perfect shot are becoming more and more frequent. Make sure you’re wearing appropriate attire for your surroundings, stay on marked pathways, and if it feels unsafe, it probably is.

Horseshoe Bend Page Arizona

Located just outside Page, Arizona, Horseshoe Bend is one of the most photographed spots on the Colorado River. I really wanted to see it, but I wasn’t willing to walk to the edge of a 1000 foot drop to get the big picture. I literally crawled to get to this point and still didn’t get everything into the frame.

Be Aware of your Surroundings
Clare Thomson, Suitcases and Sandcastles

Clare is the creator of  Suitcases and Sandcastles, a brilliant travel website, which focuses on making travel and culture more fun by slowing down and taking the time to really experience a place.

Sifnos Greece Photo Credit: Clare of Suitcases & Sandcastles

Clare’s pursuit of the perfect photo hasn’t always gone to plan. She says clumsiness and lack of sensible shoes mean she shouldn’t even be trusted with a camera, and admits to getting carried away by the beauty of a place. I’m a big fan of her work and hope she gets safely carried away more often!

Gozo, Malta Photo credit: Clare of Suitcases & Sandcastles

This is the tiny Mediterranean Island of Gozo. The rock formations in front of me are extraordinary and I scramble down to the rocks only to discover that I can barely walk across this jagged surface in my flip-flops.

Gozo Photo credit: Clare of Suitcases & Sandcastles

Clutching my camera to my chest like a baby, I stumble on. I’m used to cuts and scratches but I’m so frightened of damaging the camera that I end up bum shuffling across the rocks, much to the amusement of all the sensible tourists in trainers.

Visit the Suitcases and Sandcastles blog and Instagram profile for more of Clare’s beautiful photography.

Beverly Friedman Photography

Beverly Friedman has traveled and photographed the world. She focuses mainly on landscapes and wildlife, and in the interest of full disclosure, also happens to be my aunt. She has definitely succeeded in getting The Shot!

Fairy Glen Isle of Sky Photo Credit: Beverly Friedman

This first photo is on the Isle of Skye; a place called the Fairy Glen. The stones really gave the scene an eerie or magical effect. It’s a simple composition that reflects the place.

Machu Picchu Photo Credit: Beverly Friedman

The second photo was taken at Machu Picchu. Here, I wanted to show the perspective of the size of the monument compared to the size of the people, therefore, the people are small. Notice that the image shows all of the figures.

Visit Beverly’s website and Instagram profile to see more of her incredible photos.

Katy Untold Morsels

Katy is a travel blogger, photographer and the mastermind behind Untold Morsels, a very successful website, which focuses on food, wine, history, art and design. In her own words, “For me, travel is not just about visiting a destination. I am always looking for experiences and details that ensure each trip is forever etched in my memory.”

Photo Credit: Untold Morsels

This gorgeous photo of Castel Sant’Angelo was the final result out of 100 photos. Katy has two favorite methods for getting a shot she is happy with:

Visit the Untold Morsels Blog and Instagram profile for more of Katy’s beautiful photography.

Paul and Mark Anywhere we Roam

Anywhere We Roam is a travel blog documenting the fabulous adventures of Paul and Mark. Their desire to know the world and their ability to document and share their travels in a friendly and inviting manner is truly inspiring.

Cornwall Photo Credit: Anywhere We Roam

Photographing people can be a sensitive issue. In some countries there is no expectation of privacy in a public place, whereas in others, it’s illegal to photograph people. Some cultures frown upon it for religious reasons and in some cases it’s just plain rude.

Damaraland Photo Credit: Anywhere We Roam

The only problem with this strategy: they instinctively start posing; ruining the unforced moment I was hoping to create.

Cappadocia Turkey Photo Credit: Anywhere We Roam

Cappadocia in Turkey is a dream location for photographers and Instagram aficionados. I caught these two in a romantic moment just inside the corner of the frame.

The charming village of Moustiers Sainte Marie in Provence is said to be one of the most beautiful in France. It’s built on terraces about 100 metres up a limestone cliff.

Moustiers Photo Credit: Anywhere We Roam

Visit the Anywhere We Roam blog and Instagram profile to view more of Paul and Mark’s stunning captures.

Melissa’s Secrets To A Good Selfie

We can’t have a post about travel photography without including the Selfie. Lucky for you my friend and fellow travel junkie, Melissa, loves to take selfies and she is truly the master. I’ve coaxed her into sharing some of her selfie secrets.

Photo Credit: Melissa

Ah, selfies. Love ’em or hate ’em, they’re here to stay and there’s absolutely no good reason why you can’t look your absolute best just because you’re taking the photo.

Self Awareness

A good selfie starts with self-awareness. Do you have a good side? Do you think you look more attractive posed a certain way? You’re probably right! When I take a selfie or a picture with anyone else, I elbow my way to the left-hand side of the group because I feel my left-hand side looks better than my right. Try it. Take a photo of both sides of your face and figure out which one you like best. Go ahead. I’ll wait.


Everyone looks better when photographed from up high. A high angle will take 10 years and 5 pounds away. Take a selfie with your camera at arms length first at face level and again from as high as you can get your arms, angled downward. You didn’t know you had those cheekbones, did you? Almost nobody looks good when you take a selfie from below (hello, multiple chins)!

Photo Credit: Paul

Make sure the person with the longest arms takes the photo, angled from above. My darling husband has arms the length of an orangutan and it’s just one of the many reasons I love him.


Backlighting (sunlight or any bright light behind you) will make you look super cool. As an example, I took this bikini photo at the Disneyland Hotel pool. I was feeling good (probably all those vodka sodas on the way to Anaheim) and decided to snap this photo. I’m a 50-year-old Mom of two and I thought it was pretty cute. Note the high angle & backlighting. Sunglasses help too!


Will you Take My Picture?

“Will you take my/our picture?” If you’re a traveler you’ve heard this sentence countless times, and maybe you’ve even asked it, I know I have.

Would you like us to take your photo?

It’s always the same… you find yourself somewhere special, and you want to preserve the moment, so you ask the nearest person to snap your photo… then you snap one for them. When you look at the picture it’s blurry, your legs are cut off, there’s nothing of interest in the background, it’s crooked, or worst of all it’s someone else’s face.

Oh no! You might never be in this faraway place again, now what? Keep asking people until you get just the right shot? Take a selfie?


This was the only family photo we got during our visit to Stonehenge, which was a dream destination of mine. I should have heeded my own advice, and asked for another photo, but my impatient children and husband weren’t in the mood…

We should have requested that our “photographer” include the Mickey Fun Wheel in our photo. Whoops!

Whoops they cut out Mickey Mouse!

Additional Tips:

Photo Tips

  • It’s not cheating when you straighten or brighten a photo. Even professionals do some post production.

  • Think outside the box: consider other angles or perspectives, Get down low, aim high, or from the side and focus on small details rather than the big picture.
  • Reflections make wonderful photos and even the smallest puddle can do the trick. If using a phone  hold it upside down just over the water to get the best effect.
  • Do photo research. Going somewhere special or new? Take cues for what and what not to do from  photographers who’ve already been to your upcoming destination.

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