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How To Take The Best Travel Photos

Are you looking for tips and tricks to make the best travel photos?  Look no further.

I love to take photos, I love to edit my photos, and I love to display my photos online.  So naturally, I like to take photos when I’m traveling.  For example, we went on a trip to Asia a couple of years ago, and I took more than 10,000 photos!  These are the tips and tricks I use to take enjoyable (at least to me) travel photos.

Tip 1: For The Best Travel Photos, Use the Best Equipment

When traveling to a new destination, or to a place I’ve been before where I know I can take some good travel photos, I always have three cameras with me! I know it might sound a bit much, but trust me, every camera had a purpose.

Nikon D600

My Nikon, is my trusted and loved DSLR. This camera is getting a bit old, but I took a TON of photos with it. I know how it works well, and the quality of images that it takes is outstanding.

The Ideal Lens for the Best Travel Photos

When I travel I like to travel light so I usually only bring one lens that does everything. This is my everyday lens.

This specific lens does it all, with a decent wide-angle and an excellent telephoto zoom. It is not super heavy, and I can carry it all day without getting too tired. I have 2 of the best SD cards with lots of storage. I also have a cable release with me to take some long exposure shots.

Andrea taking a photo while traveling in Bangkok Thailand
Me taking a photo in Bangkok

If I know that I’ll be taking some very wide-angle shots, I’ll bring my ultra-wide-angle lens. Sometimes, if I know I can take some night shots I’ll bring a tripod with me.  For example, I like to travel with a small and portable tripod as it helps me take the best photos – even in low light.

Travel Camera: GoPro Hero 5 – Takes the best Travel Videos!

My second camera is my GoPro with an extra battery and a very small and light tripod. I use this camera mostly for video and time-lapse videos. I always bring one or two extra batteries with me so I need to run out of power.

And finally, my Third Camera is my iPhone

My third camera is the one that is always in my pocket, my iPhone!  Also, if I know that I’m traveling somewhere and I know I won’t take too many photos, this is the ONLY camera I bring with me. I use my iPhone for a few types of photos:

Also, sometimes I even use my iPhone with a Gimbal!

Funny Travel Photos are the Best!
Rick on Cruise Taken with my iPhone

Tip 2: My Technique To Take The Best Travel Photos

Usually, before I travel to a city or a location, I like to do my research in advance.  For example, I like to find the best spots to take The Shot.  I call The Shot the most iconic travel photo that I want to take on a specific trip. Also, I like to check some other photography websites to see what other people have done in the same location. I am not saying I want to copy the same shot, but it inspires me.  Also, I like to walk around and hunt for interesting things to photograph – and as such, I take lots and lots of photos while traveling.

When I’m photographing a landmark, I try to wait to have the least amount of people possible (Ideally none).  Then, after each shot or series of shots, I check the camera monitor to see if I need to adjust the exposure.  I always use aperture priority (my camera marks it with an A).  In this mode, I can control the aperture, and the camera takes care of the shutter speed.

Additionally, I like to take bracketed shots (3 shots in a row: one underexposed, one normal, and one overexposed).  Then, I merge the photos in post-production (even though I don’t do this as often as I used to).

A trick I learned from a great street photographer online is to use Auto ISO.  Auto ISO is a camera feature that adjusts the sensitivity of the sensor based on the light condition.  To be sure, Auto ISO allows me to take the best, sharpest photos even in low light.

The most important thing I do is to take lots and lots of photos. I can always delete (and trust I do) the one that is not up to par.

Tip 3: Get Inspired for the Best Travel Photos

There are a few things that inspire me when I travel, and I take photos. I realize that not everyone might like the same thing I do, but this is the beauty of photography. One perfect example of something that inspires me in Europe is old street lamps. I probably have thousands of photos of street lamps, with different shades and shapes, as I find them fascinating.

I find it very enjoyable to take travel photos of local people or landmarks, especially with some locals around. I have many travel photos like those.

Once in a while, I like to experiment with some new shots or techniques. For example, I wanted to take a good photo of the Milky Way. We were traveling in Maui, and found a very secluded beach, with basically no light pollution.  Here, I set up my tripod, set the camera the way I learned online, and I took a great number of photos. Here is the result – one of my very best travel photos.

Maui – Venus and The Milky Way

That night was particular because the Planet Venus was bright, and it reflected on the calm water of the bay, giving the photo a secondary subject.

Tip 4: Plan in advance

Do your research on your destination and try to pick some places that you would like to photograph. Also if you are planning on visiting a very touristy destination plan to go to a major spot late at night when most of the tourists are gone.

That way you will have a much more interesting shot!. For example, 4 years ago some friends of ours wanted to visit the leaning Tower of Pisa. Well, we went after dinner when most of the tour busses left and we were able to get some fantastic shots with practically nobody around.

Travel Photography Tip: Postproduction

I spend lots of time cataloging my photos, assigning keywords and developing them the way I like. There are several software applications to do this. The app I use is Adobe Lightroom. For example, it is quite easy to use, has a significant number of features, and, most importantly, an incredible amount of professionals uses it. Additionally, there are many videos and tutorials online to learn how to get the best out of your application.

One of my favorite features of the software is the fact that it allows me quickly to make great books for my holidays. Once I select the photos I want to be included in my book, I drag and drop them in the page template. Then, once the book is set up the way I like it, I can upload it to Blurb. Last, the book is printed and delivered, usually in about a week.

I love my travel book collection, and I love to display them. My friends like to look at them. I think it is a great way to keep my travel memories alive.


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