Apps Photography Travel Smarter

How To Take Jaw-Dropping Travel Photos

I recently spoke with Jessica Rule, writer of Escape Button Blog and Nathalie Basha, writer of The Travel Muse—two women who have turned their Instagram accounts into perfection including pictures from destinations around the world. — Check out these tips on how to take jaw-dropping Travel Photos.


 1. Pick the Right Backdrop

Travel Photos

Choosing the right backdrop for your photo is one of the most important things to consider.

Jessica’s favorite backdrop for travel photos includes anything that “makes us human beings pale in comparison.” This shouldn’t be hard to find, as there are countless breathtaking destinations in this world.

Nathalie enjoys a nice beachy background, or a beautiful city such as Paris.


2. Choose the Best Filter

Travel Photos

Picking a filter can make or break your photo…so choose wisely!

Jessica gave her inside scoop on Instagram filters by telling us her favorite filters. These include Lark, Juno, and Ludwig. Why these filters? They keep the photos looking clean and don’t affect the color temperature too much. They add contrast and brightness to the photo without going overboard, which brings more clarity to the image.

Although Instagam filters may be a must for a lot of us, Nathalie doesn’t use them at all. She simply edits the picture and ups the brightness. Sometimes, that’s all you need!


3. Find the Right Lighting

Okavango Delta

To both Jessica and Nathalie, lighting is the number one important factor in posting the perfect picture.

Jessica says it’s important to take advantage of a good natural light. Images taken at night with flash can wash out the image, so it’s best to avoid night-time photos. When you find yourself in a good lighting condition, like sunlight flooding through a window, snap a pic! Good lighting can make a simple shot look astonishing.

Nathalie agrees that lighting is the most important thing to consider, claiming that tweaking the lighting in edits just isn’t the same as using beautiful natural lighting.


4. The Best Photo Editing App

Although editing a photo is overlooked, it is important if you want your photo to stand out.

Jessica exclusively uses VSCO for iPhone because its filters and editing tools are perfectly definitive, forcing her to stick to a particular style causing more consistency in the look of her Instagram.


5. Choosing the Orientation

Setting up the shot and choosing the proper orientation is a necessary step. Don’t overlook it!

“This one I change up quite a bit depending on the subject,” says Jessica. She prefers horizontal photos for landscape shots as it allows you to include more of the setting. Vertical photos are best for portrait photos, outfits, of places where you want emphasis on long lines.

Nathalie say horizontal photos are best. “It’s the closest to how we see the world with our own eyes.”


6. How to Pose

thirst in the desert

Want to avoid looking awkward in your photos? Here’s how Jessica and Nathalie do it…

Jessica spills, “I am the first to admit that I’m quite terrible at posing. I manage to look very unnatural and awkward when trying to pull off a specific look. So what did she do about it? She simply learned to go with whatever mood she was in to post for a photo. Want to convey a sense of happiness, freedom, or astonishment in the shot? Pose accordingly. This will dictate whether you look at the camera, smile or have your back turned.

Nathalie recommends to smile at the camera, slightly turning to the right. Candids are hard to get, but they are the best and most beautiful pictures.


7. How to Get the Best Group Shot

Family, Beach, Vacations.

 Get a stunning group shot by following these tips.

Jessica recommends not asking more than one person to take a photo of your crowd at the same time. When you have multiple cameras pointed your way, people are bound to look at the wrong one. Simply ask one person to take a few shots from a few angles.

Nathalie: “Make sure everyone is in frame!” Nathalie also says that great lighting is important, and of course, candids are always a must. What’s better than seeing a group of people laughing?


8. How to Get the Best Solo Shot


Here are some tips & tricks for great solo shots.

Jessica suggests using the timer function on your phone or camera and using a tripod. If you’d rather simply as someone to take the photo for you, look for someone with an SLR or expensive looking kit, as they will most likely have a better understanding of exposure and shot composition.

Nathalie makes a good point by saying it’s important to include the scenery in a solo shot. For example, if someone is looking off into the distance, frame the person off-center so the picture captures what the person is looking at. “Generally, I try never to have my or any solo image framed exactly in the center … it just creates a more dynamic image to offset the subject.”


9. Selfie or No?

Tourist and Travel Photography Tips

To take a selfie or not to take a selfie…that is the question.

Jessica falls more under the “anti-selfie” category when traveling, which seems to be an unpopular opinion these days, however, there are some situations when it’s totally okay! She says, “I love seeing my friends’ travel selfies with their partners, and it’s their smiling faces that make those shots so great.” When taking a photo of a breathtaking landscape, however, a selfie in front of it might distract from the location. If a selfie is a must, use a selfie stick for wider shots.

Nathalie isn’t a fan of the “selfie” either. Selfies that tell a story, however, she approves. “If it’s a selfie of you DOING something, great. Selfie while you ride horseback, drink a latte in a cool city … that kind of thing.”


10. Use The Right Accessories

 Jessica has steered away from iPhonephotography entirely after constantly comparing her SLR photos with less impressive iPhone photos. Try carrying an actual camera around for better quality photos. If you must use a mobile device, Jessica suggests investing in a small tripod or Gorillapod to minimize shake and blur, a spare external battery for long days, and a lens kit to facilitate fisheye and macro shots.


Ashley Rossi, | July 5, 2016


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