10 ideas for better travel photos

Because I love travel and photography, folks sometimes ask me for travel-photography advice. I’m always happy to help, even if I’m not an expert (I’ve never taken a formal photography class and am still learning the basics).

Still, here are some ideas I’ve picked up along the way. Maybe they will be of use to you too.

I am crushing your head BLOG(This is me, picking up a photo idea.)

1. Fill your frame … and vice versa

What is your photo about? Fill the frame with your subject — or use other elements to “frame” the subject.

Amnon 1130495 BLOG

Pont Neuf BW CL BLOG

Room at the Inn 1010556 BLOG


2. Tilt your camera

One of the photo first tips I got was to pay attention to my horizons — and it’s indeed critical for landscape photography. But tilting your camera every so often can make your shots more dynamic. Plus, it can help squeeze in the monumental architecture!

Eiffel 1020797 BLOG

Munster 1240939 BLOG

Vero Dodat 1110675 BLOG


3. Meet Geometry, your new friend

Experiment with looking beyond nature and architecture, and making geometry the subject of your photo.

Louvre gardens 1060754 BLOG

Paris hotel stairs BLOG


4. Focus on the foreground

When we’re traveling, we usually focus on our mid- to far-range vision. Add interest to your images by focusing on elements in the foreground instead.

View from Lafayette 1000371 BLOG

Bachle 1240324 BLOG

Place Dauphin 1030601 BLOG


5. The devil is in the details

Our instinct as travel photographers is often to try to capture sweeping vistas, but the feeling you get from a place often comes from the small details.

Freiburg haus 1240290 BLOG

Window detail 1320020 BLOG

Wmsburg detail 1070363 BLOG

Cluny sundial 1110302 BLOG

Bread BW 1060144 BLOG


6. Shoot in the morning — and in the rain

Many photographers especially like working during the morning “golden hour.” But don’t discount cloudy or rainy days. When you’re traveling, try to make the most of whatever light you get.

Notre Dame sunrise 1200099 CL BLOG

Rainy night 1020148 BLOG

Courthouse butte composite 2 CL BLOG

Place des vosges in the rain cropped BLOG

Twins sunset 1160806 BLOG


7. Emphasize texture

Weathered wood, cobbled streets, peeling paint … all of these can add an element of tactile interest to your images.

Louvre cour 1070758 BLOG

Institut 1100781 BLOG

Seine trees 1130330 BLOG


8. Play with repetition

Play with repetition. Play with repetition.

Cafe tables 1020528 BLOG

Les toits de Paris 1140313 BLOG

Roses 1210173 CL BLOG


9. Shoot through something

Shooting through a window can add texture and context to your images. (But shooting through a car window just makes things blurry.)

Le Passage 1030140 BLOG

Canal St Martin 1040402 CL BLOG

Cafe a la pluie 1030777 BLOG


10. Include people

A lot of photographers wait (im)patiently for people to leave the frame. But do you really want your shots to look like a post-apocalyptic ghost town? Plus, it’s the people and the everyday moments that give a city its character.

Cafe Lutetia 1260595 BW BLOG

Old passage 1330420 BLOG

Market 1240370 BLOG

Creperie 1030057 BLOG

Bonus tip: Be here now!

A wise friend once told me that “expectations are the killers of good travel,” and the same is true of good photography. Yes, Flickr is a great source of inspiration. But don’t waste your trip trying to merely duplicate others’ images. Find your own beauty in the world. Be open to the moment, and to the unique experience of being there at that moment.

Le bisou 1140565 BW BLOG

Safe travels, and happy shooting.

Text and all images © Heather Munro.