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Easy Travel Photo Techniques for Stunning Vacation Pictures

When you travel, you want to capture every moment in stunning photos. These are some easy travel photo techniques that will help you take memorable pictures during your adventures. Whether you're using a fancy camera or just your smartphone, these tips will make your travel photos stand out.


1. Plan Your Shots Ahead

Before you start clicking away, take a moment to plan your shots. Think about the places you'll visit and the kind of photos you want to take. Are you looking for landscapes, portraits, or candid shots? Having a rough idea of what you want will help you focus on the right moments and angles.  You can even go as far as checking your itinerary and scope out your destinations for the day to get an idea of where you might want to take photos.

Bisilica di Santa Maria della Salute in Venice at sundown

Sunset view of Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute from San from Piazza San Marco, Venice

Sunrise view from a plane

Sunrise view from a plane

2. Capture the Golden Hours

The best time to take outdoor photos is during the "golden hours," which are the first hour after sunrise and the last hour before sunset. The soft, warm light during these times adds a magical touch to your pictures. So, set your alarm and get ready for some beautiful shots.  Or, since I personally like my sleep,  I take my photos as I go on with my day using some of the other techniques and take sunset photos whenever the opportunity presents itself. 

The Florida Keys (Florida, USA)

The Florida Keys (Florida, USA)

Rule of Thirds Gridlines photo from

Rule of Thirds Gridlines sample photo from

3. Use the Rule of Thirds

The rule of thirds is a simple but effective composition technique. Imagine dividing your photo into nine equal parts by drawing two horizontal and two vertical lines. Place your subject or points of interest along these lines or at their intersections. It will make your photos more visually appealing.  Most digital cameras and cell phone camera apps have an option to turn on the rule of thirds grid on the screen.

View of Il Duomo from Piazzale Michelangelo (hill)
Chacao, Chiloe Island, Chile

Chacao, Chiloe Island, Chile

View of Il Duomo from Piazzale Michelangelo (hill)

4. Experiment with Angles

Don't be afraid to get low or high when taking photos. Changing your perspective can lead to unique and interesting shots. Try crouching down to capture your subject at eye level or climb a hill for a bird's-eye view of a stunning landscape.  If you are using a cell phone and taking a portrait photo, flip the cell phone so the lens is at the bottom.  This will give you a different perspective.

5. Keep It Steady

Shaky hands can ruin a great shot. To ensure your photos are sharp, use a tripod or find a stable surface to rest your camera or smartphone. If you're shooting with your phone, use the timer function to avoid shaking when pressing the shutter button.


6. Pay Attention to the Background

A cluttered or distracting background can take away from your subject. Before taking a photo, glance at what's behind your subject and make sure it enhances the shot rather than detracts from it. Simple backgrounds often work best.  You don’t want a photo with a palm tree appearing to come out of someone’s head.

Concha y Toro Cellar (Sangiago, Chile)

Concha y Toro Cellar (Santiago, Chile)

Amsterdan Canal

Amsterdam canal

7. Use Leading Lines

Leading lines are natural or man-made elements in your frame that guide the viewer's eye towards the subject. Roads, rivers, and pathways are excellent examples. Incorporate these lines into your composition to add depth and interest to your photos.

Notre Dame, Paris, France

Notre Dame, Paris, France

Tiny flowers at Monet's home in Giverny, France

Tiny flowers at Monet's home in Giverny, France

8. Include People or Objects for Scale

If you're photographing vast landscapes, impressive architecture or small objects, include a person or an object in the foreground or background. This provides a sense of scale and helps viewers understand the size and grandeur of what you're capturing.

9. Tell a Story

Don't just take photos; tell a story with your images. Capture moments that convey emotions or situations that reveal something about the place you're visiting. Candid shots of locals or your travel companions can add depth to your photo collection.

10. Edit Wisely

After taking your shots, spend a little time editing them to enhance colors, contrast, and clarity. Many free and user-friendly editing apps are available for smartphones. But remember, less is often more when it comes to editing, so keep it subtle.

Lake view panoramic photo

11.  Panoramic Photos

Cell phones have a panoramic feature that you can use for a landscape or to take a photo of an individual and include more of the surroundings that otherwise would not be possible.

Plaza de Espana, Sevilla, Spain
Parc Guell, Barcelona, Spain

Parc Guell, Barcelona, Spain

12.   Frame your photo

You can use a foreground to frame a person or location to add interest to the photo.

Plaza de Espana, Sevilla, Spain

13.  Learn Cell Phone Features and Tricks

Learn how to use all of your cell phone’s photo app features by searching Youtube and finding photo tricks.  For example, if you move further away from your subject and zoom into them, the background of the subject looks closer. 

14.  Photo Storage

Cell phones are great in the sense that you can have your photos automatically stored to the cloud when you have wifi.  So, even if your phone gets stolen during your trip, at least you have the photos you took the days prior.

With these easy travel photo techniques, you're well on your way to creating stunning vacation pictures that will forever remind you of your adventures. Remember to enjoy the moment while capturing it, and don't be afraid to experiment and have fun with your photography.  The important thing is that you document your travel for future enjoyment.  Happy travels and happy snapping!

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