Five Tips for Travel Photography

For those of us who love to see new places and have a passion for anything to do with cameras there can be few things more rewarding than travel photography. As tourists we experience and discover new places using nearly all of our senses. We see things we have never seen before, we hear new languages and accents, try unfamiliar food and even our sense of smell adds its own unique dimension to the travel experience.

Our images, however, are two dimensional and engage only our eyes. There are no foreign tongues, bustling cafés on a warm summer evening or the smell of enticing street food to get a total feel of the new surroundings. Yet this very limited medium we call photography, in the tiny fraction of a second it takes to capture an image, can evoke all the wonder and mystery of a new location and more. A photograph can take you to a new place. It can engage the viewer into a feeling of discovery and wonder.

Here are five tips on how to bring your travel photography to life.



Forgive me for stating the obvious, but people are amazing. Go to distant places and people change in appearance, wear clothes we don’t often see at home and make great subjects to photograph. Get a feel for how people react to having a camera pointed at them. If it’s obvious what you’re doing, ask for permission or make a gesture if you don’t speak the language and show them the back of your camera when you’re done. Be careful if you find yourself in a Muslim country, as unwilling subjects may object strongly to having their picture taken on religious grounds.


Rastafarian, Montego Bay



Be it a palace or a hovel, buildings always make terrific subjects to photograph. Remember to keep everything perpendicular when you take the shot or straighten up in Photoshop after. Look for unusual angles, for lines that draw the viewer into the image. Often, zooming in to a feature such as a door or a window can make a more interesting picture than including the whole building.

Bundestag, Berlin


Street Photography

If, like me, you love cities, then street photography is where your images can really come to life. Take time to take in what’s happening around you and put your long lens to good use. It’s all there to be photographed. People at work or doing their shopping, buskers, tourists, a market stall or a shop window.  If you happen to be somewhere with a lot of tourists, get off the beaten track to see life as it’s lived by the locals.

Roman waiters


Time of Day

Get up early in the morning to avoid the crowds and take advantage of some great light. Similarly, if it’s bright and sunny wait for the softer, warmer evening light rather than shoot in the middle of the day. Don’t forget to hang around for the sun to set, it’s one of the few occasions when you can shoot directly into the light source.

Jamaican sunset


Look for the shot

Be curious, always be on the lookout for that special shot. It can happen in the most unlikely places, like this courtyard in Morocco. Happy snapping!

John Rinaldi runs his own Photo School and teaches photography through Adult Education Kent. You can visit his website, for more on him.




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