10 Utterly Transformative Photography Tips I’ve Learned As a Travel Photographer

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10 Utterly Transformative Travel Photography Tips I’ve Learned As a Travel Photographer

1. You don’t actually need the top gear

You don’t need the TOP or LATEST gear to take amazing photographs. Have you ever heard the best camera you have is the one with you? Well it’s true! Even if all you have with you is your phone, you can utilize a stunning COMPOSITION and editing to take your image to the next level. And the more photos you take, the more you will improve as you learn – and you can always just upgrade your camera later!

2. You should understand WHY certain compositions just work (and when to break the rules)

Understanding WHY certain compositions work and make for great images is how to take photos from unexciting to epic. There are ton of “rules” for how to compose an image but truly understanding WHY these work will teach you how to best utilize these rules, when to break them, and what makes viewers stop and take notice of your work. Start with learning different types of compositional tools, then study how other photographers use these techniques, and then incorporate them into your own images.

Woman stands in a mirror-like reflection on Uyuni Salt Flat in Bolivia

3. Shooting in manual mode will give you full control of how your photograph turns out

Learning how to shoot in manual gives you COMPLETE control over how an image turns out. It’s daunting at first, but now it’s just second nature to adjust aperture, shutter speed, and ISO to balance and create a “perfectly” exposed image (note: the “perfect” exposure of an image can be subjective!). Take the time to learn your camera (or how to adjust these settings in your phone) and think about WHY you’d want specific settings and what effect it will have on the image.

4. You should absolutely always shoot in RAW format

5. Telling a story or evoking a specific emotion with your editing helps your work stand out

Editing your images to convey a specific story or mood will help viewers connect with your image. There are THOUSANDS upon thousands of images in the world – so how can you get your photograph to stand out? Telling a story with your image(s) or curating a specific mood – whether that’s through color, light & shadow, or other editing techniques – helps not only unify the image but also gives the viewer a reason to CARE. Evoking an emotion with a photograph is one of the most powerful things you can do.

6. Capturing a photograph at a different time of day will completely change the shot

Taking a photograph at a different time of day can MAKE OR BREAK THE SHOT – because in photography, lighting is EVERYTHING. Sunrise vs midday vs nighttime give wildly different effects and moods to images – and certain places just look BETTER in a different light! Try taking photographs at different times of day and notice how that affects your image, how the mood changes, and how you are able to edit details.

Woman stands in a mirror-like reflection on Uyuni Salt Flat in Bolivia

7. Learn from other photographers if you want to grow quickly as a photographer

Connecting with & learning from other photographers can be one of the fastest ways to grow as a photographer. When I first started out, I joined a bunch of photography meetups and pretty much everyone was better than me – and that was PERFECT. I learned SO much from other photographers, so many little tips and tricks it would have taken me months to discover otherwise. I also got to discover all these amazing locations and share it with other people who were just as excited about photography as I was. Plus, it’s just great to have a photo buddy so you’re not alone at that 6am sunrise.

8. Capturing self-portraits will make you more confident and challenge your skills as a photographer

This is a very travel-specific tip BUT taking self-portraits will absolutely change the way you travel – for the better! It’s scary but putting yourself out there and having images you LOVE with you in them will help you remember your incredible travel photos so much more powerfully. Taking travel self-portraits has increased my self-confidence, allowed me to take my own images as a solo traveler, and has made me both a better photographer and a better traveler. Even if you are not a travel photographer, challenging yourself to take self-portraits is a great exercise in confidence building and learning your camera and yourself better.

9. Research and preparation are actually what is key to taking portfolio-worthy images

Research and preparation are KEY to great images. Yes, every once in a while you’ll be at the right place at the right time, but so many portfolio-quality images are the result of researching the right conditions to get an amazing photo, waiting for the perfect time, nailing your settings, and having everything prepared so when that epic shot presents itself, nothing stands in your way. Even just little things of making sure your batteries are charged, the weather is right, the roads are open, your lens of choice is packed, etc.

10. What makes a great photographer at the end of the day is … practice

What makes a truly GREAT travel photographer? PRACTICE. I know, that’s not a very exciting tip but doesn’t stop it from being TRUE. In college, I took a photography class and I remember thinking “wow my images are BAD. But that’s okay, it’s not like I’ll be a professional photographer or anything!” And now … that’s exactly what I am! From college until now, the biggest growth I saw was just taking as MANY images as I possibly could, going out to take photographs whenever I had even a spare hour – practicing all the skills I learned and pushing myself to keep improving. PUT THE HOURS IN! I PROMISE your work will get better!

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RoamFreeRebecca content creator photographer

Hey I’m Rebecca!

I’m a travel & outdoors photographer, blogger, and content greator living in the US but you can find me adventuring around the globe! On this blog I share tips to help you improve your photography, inspiration and advice to explore the outdoors, destination guides, travel tips, and more to plan your own adventures!

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