10 Tips to Taking the Top Travel Photos

It’s fun and creative to capture photos during your travels…and it’s so easy to get professional shots just by using your smartphone. There are some tricks to the smartphone photo picture trade that will make your pics extraordinary, instead of just ordinary. Especially because many of your vacation shots are the once in a lifetime opportunities to make your memories last a lifetime. Here are 10 tips to taking the top travel photos which will help you on your holiday.

10 Tips to taking the top travel photos

Lighting Is Key to A Great Picture

Lighting is everything.  Most smartphones have flashes built right into the cameras and will give you the option of turning it on, off or auto. If you are taking a photo inside, it’s a good idea to keep the flash on auto, so it will go off if there isn’t enough natural light. When taking a photo outside, turn the flash off and take as many photos as you can during early morning, evening or when the sun is not straight overhead. Should the sun be high in the sky, play with shadows to add an artsy touch.

Lighting is Key to a great Photo
Lighting is Key to a great Photo: Via Flickr by Paulo Valdivieso / CC BY-SA 2.0

Focus, Focus, Focus

Instead of trying to get many things into one shot, focus on one subject. Use the empty space around the subject to make your picture pop! If you are featuring a friend in front of a famous sign or landmark, step closer to them so their head and shoulders are the only thing in the picture, yet the landmark is focused in the background.

Focus, Focus, Focus: Photo on Flickr by Aaron Brinker / CC BY 2.0

Discover Unexpected Angles

Instead of taking pictures straight on, set your subject off to the side, shoot up into the sky, take a photo from a third-floor window or even cock your camera to the side so the subject is photographed at an unexpected angle.

phone Discover Unexpected Angles
Discover Unexpected Angles

Priceless Candid Shots

Candid shots capture priceless emotional moments. For example, take a photo of someone in your group enjoying a walk on the beach, or viewing art in a museum, or hanging out in the lobby of your hotel, or of someone taking a picture! Then, you can go through all the photos, select and keep the best ones. Making the most of your smartphone’s camera is vital if you want to achieve a good picture, if your phone has a 12MP camera like the Samsung Galaxy s7 Edge, don’t let it go to waste and focus on what you’re doing when taking your pictures otherwise you aren’t utilizing its capabilities.

Child in Rajasthan, India
Child in Rajasthan, India: Photo on Flickr by Nick Kenrick / CC BY 2.0

Stay Away from Zooming in

We are all tempted to zoom in on our subject. Actually, the closer you get to your subject, the more detail and interest you can capture. Then, crop it later to get just the look you want without jeopardizing the quality.

Stay away from Zooming, Crop instead
Stay away from Zooming, Crop instead: Photo on Flickr by Luke Jones / CC BY 2.0

Horizontal Vs. Straight Up and Down

Turn your smartphone sideways and take some of your travel shots horizontal. You’ll get more subject matter in the photo and give you more room to frame later.

Horizontal or Vertical, Which is your Choice?
Horizontal or Vertical, Which is your Choice? Photo on Flickr by tanakawho / CC BY-NC 2.0

Steady as She Goes

Avoid blurred or fuzzy photos. Hold your smartphone camera as steady as possible, using both hands.

10 Tips to Taking the top Travel Photos: Steady as she goes
Steady as she goes

Three Is a Charm

The Rule of Thirds is a tried and true photography tip. Look at each shot as it has a left, center and right. The focus of your photo should go totally to the left or right third, not the center. Use your smartphones grid feature to help you.

Rule of Thirds
Rule of Thirds: Photo on Flickr by David Lane / CC BY-NC 2.0

Consider the Background

Be very mindful of the background. Instead of taking the photo in front of a garbage can, move two feet where there are gardens, trees or a landmark of interest. Plus, fill the frame from edge to edge with interesting material for the best shot.

Consider the Background. Make it Interesting
Consider the Background. Make it Interesting: Photo on Flickr by Joe / CC BY 2.0

Sense of Humor Shines

Travel is experiencing a feeling and if you can capture emotion and humor in your photos, you are capturing memories that will keep the journey memorable as time goes by.

Sense of Humour
Sense of Humour: Photo on Flickr by Sharon Jenkins / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

We all want to be able to document our travels so we can not only share our experience with friends and family, but so we can look back on them further down the line. Smartphone technology today is truly incredible and the capability of many phones camera’s is truly remarkable. Follow these tips to taking the top travel photos and hopefully you’ll be well on your way to producing the perfect photos.

About Mizzy Moore

A 24-year-old content writer.

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2 Responses

  1. Digital Detox Travel: Destination Unplugged | Go 4 Travel Blog

    […] of your trip. It just means unplugging yourself for a bit. For example, if you would like to take photos, consider bringing a handheld camera so you can leave your phone in your hotel […]

  2. Avatar for Mizzy Moore


    These are great tips. It’s always nice to have some great photos from your travels, even if you’re not a blogger and just want to have some lasting memories.


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