A brief note on what camera and lens I use: Canon EOS Rebel T5i, generally with a Sigma Wide Angle Zoom Lens
Originally, I was going to title this: “A How To Guide On Tricking People Into Thinking You’re An Amazing Travel Photographer” – but that’s a bit wordy and I don’t want it to seem like I’m giving up all of my secrets, so I’m going to stick with “Tips for Travel Photos”.
Go To Beautiful Places
This first one is pretty simple – one thing that makes it easy to take nice pictures is being in beautiful places. Forests, beaches, mountains, monuments, flea markets, farmers markets, zoos, old buildings, new buildings. Take pictures of them. Take all the pictures.
Take Multiples of Everything!
And I do mean everything. Take the picture from a slightly different angle, and from different distances – it can really make a difference and will give you lots of options to choose the best of them when you’re posting the pictures on social media.
Don’t Delete Pictures From Your Camera Before You Put Them On Your Computer.
As I’ve said in the past, I’m really bad at taking my own advice and this one is no exception. The only real reason to delete pictures from your memory card is if you’ve run out of space. Even with how advanced the little digital screens on cameras are these days, that screen is only a fraction of the size of your computer screen and doesn’t really allow you to see the picture in all it’s glory. So, wait until you put the pictures on your computer before you start picking and choosing which to keep and post; and which to trash.
Learn some basics about your camera’s settings.
And don’t always trust the automatic settings – sure, the one with a picture of a mountain looks nice, but might not give you the option to change the depth of focus as much as you want. Mess around with the flash and focus and coloring and white balance and find out which settings you like for different types of pictures.
[If you have a lens] Learn About What Your Lens Is Good At.
In my experience, the stubbier a lens is the more suited it is to taking macro (super close up) shots. Macro lenses are great for flowers, detail shots and of super professional looking portraits of your friends. Wide Angle lenses are great for scenery and pictures of people in front of scenery. Zoom Lenses are great for scenery as well as pictures of animals.
Know When To Use Flash.
HARDLY EVER. A little part of my soul dies every time I see someone take a flash picture of something behind glass. I want to shake them and yell “It isn’t going to turn out if you keep on using flash stop it AAAHHHHH” But that isn’t allowed ‘socially’ or ‘with strangers’ so I’ll just say it here: use flash as sparingly as possible. You don’t want to go back through your pictures and see that everything is super washed out and that all of your family members have suddenly turned into red-eyed demons.
some exceptions: taking pictures of people when natural light isn’t available, in dark restaurants
Keep Track of Where You’re Taking The Pictures
What I’ve done in the past is buy a cheap map when I arrive and mark where (and when) we’re in places. If you don’t want to do that, take pictures of plaques as you go to help remind yourself when you’re going through your pictures back home. This was especially helpful when I visited ~8 castles in a week when I was traveling in France. Once you’ve seen one giant ornamental garden, it’s hard to keep the rest of them straight.
A picture is a memory.
Super corny, I know, but very true. Take pictures of small things and big things and people you’re with and food you’re eating. Looking back at the pictures years from now, you’ll feel a pang of memory and remember how great a time you had taking those pictures and who you were when you took them. Plus, taking pictures of all the beautiful things around you when traveling will help you convince other people to go there – and maybe even take you. I mean, you’ve been there before, so you’d be an excellent choice for a tour guide.