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How To Become A Travel Photographer: Expert Tips and Tricks

To become a travel photographer, start by improving your photography skills and building a portfolio through personal projects and social media presence.

Travel photography is a highly sought-after profession by many aspiring photographers.

5-Steps on How To Become A Travel Photographer

Photographers who specialize in travel photography capture the beauty of different cultures, landscapes, and people around the world and share it with others through their images. However, becoming a travel photographer requires more than just owning a camera.

It requires honing your photography skills, building your portfolio, and creating a personal brand through social media presence.

Step 1. Choosing The Right Gear

Capturing stunning photographs while travelling is a dream for many photography enthusiasts. However, achieving this requires not only a good deal of skill and experience, but also the right gear.

We’ll explore the best gear for travel photography, including cameras, lenses, and accessories.

To choosing a camera for travel photography, there are many factors to consider, such as size, weight, and image quality.

  • Fujifilm x-t3: This camera boasts a compact and lightweight design, making it perfect for travel photography. It also has excellent image quality and fast autofocus.
  • Sony alpha a7 iii: This full-frame camera is small and lightweight, making it easy to carry around while travelling. It also has great image quality and a fast autofocus system.
  • Canon powershot g7 x mark iii: If a compact camera is what you’re after, this one from canon should be at the top of your list. It has a 20-megapixel sensor and a fast autofocus system, making it perfect for travel photography.

Lenses For Various Types Of Shots

Having the right lenses is just as important as having the right camera when it comes to travel photography.

Here are some types of lenses and the types of shots they are best suited for:

  • Wide-angle lens: A wide-angle lens is great for landscape photography, allowing you to capture stunning vistas and sweeping scenery.
  • Telephoto lens: A telephoto lens is perfect for capturing distant subjects, such as wildlife or architecture. It can also be used for portrait photography.
  • Prime lens: A prime lens has a fixed focal length, meaning you can’t zoom in or out. However, they often have a wider maximum aperture than zoom lenses, which means they are great for low-light photography.

Accessories To Bring On Your Travels

In addition to a good camera and lenses, there are some accessories that can come in handy when travelling for photography purposes. Here are some of the best accessories to bring along:

  • Tripod: A tripod can be extremely useful for keeping your camera steady and capturing sharp images, particularly in low-light situations.
  • Polarizing filter: A polarizing filter can help reduce glare and reflections, making it perfect for landscape photography.
  • Camera bag: A good camera bag can help protect your gear from bumps and scratches while travelling. It can also make it easier to carry around your equipment.

Choosing the right gear is essential for capturing stunning travel photographs. With the right camera, lenses, and accessories, you can create images that truly capture the beauty of your travel destinations.

Step 2. Composition Techniques

Travel photography is a way of life for anyone who loves to journey to new and exciting places. Capturing those destinations through photography requires both technical skill and creativity. One of the most crucial aspects of travel photography is mastering composition techniques.

We will explore the essential composition techniques for becoming a successful travel photographer.

Rule Of Thirds And Other Composition Basics

Composition is the foundation of all great photography. Even if you have a great subject, poor composition can ruin the shot. The rule of thirds is one of the most basic composition principles known to photographers. The fundamental principle is to split a frame into a grid of nine boxes by drawing 2 horizontal and 2 vertical lines.

The rule goes that you should place your subject on any of the four intersecting points of these lines. However, it’s essential not to limit yourself with this rule as it just scratches the surface of composition techniques.

  • Avoid dead center composition and shift your subject to the right or left to create a dynamic shot.
  • Experiment with different angles to see things in a new way.
  • Avoid distractions and keep the composition clean and simple.
  • Mind the balance of your photo features, such as symmetry, lines or curves, and patterns.

Following these guidelines can significantly improve your composition skills, thus elevating your photography game.

Playing With Light And Shadows

Lighting is one of the most critical aspects of good photography. In travel photography, where the lighting can change from day to day, mastering lighting is even more essential. When it comes to light and shadows, the following tips can help:

  • Shoot during the “golden hour,” the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset to take advantage of the beautiful, diffused light.
  • Experiment with different lighting directions, such as backlight, side light, or front light, to create exceptional moods and drama.
  • Use shadows to create depth and contrast in your shots.
  • Use a reflector to bounce light onto your subject’s face or use a flashlight to light up subjects in the night.

Using Angles To Create Interesting Perspectives

Angles and perspectives play a significant role in travel photography composition. They can transform an ordinary scene into one that captures the viewer’s imagination and creates a lasting memory of that place. Here are some tips to consider:

  • Avoid shooting from your eye level and try to capture a scene from different heights – either crouch down low to bring some drama or shoot from high above for an overview.
  • Use leading lines to guide the viewer’s eyes to the subject.
  • Use frames within frames, such as arches or doorways, to add depth and context to your shots.
  • Experiment with different focal lengths to create a sense of scale.

Mastering composition techniques takes time and practice, and learning the basics is only the beginning. Once you have the fundamentals down, experiment with your own style and don’t be afraid to take risks. Remember, the best travel photography is about capturing the essence of a place, evoking emotions and telling a story through your images.


Step 3. Capturing Local Life And Culture

As a travel photographer, one of the most important aspects of your work is capturing the essence of the places you are visiting. This includes the local life and culture.

Here are some useful strategies for photographing people and street scenes, as well as tips on how to obtain permission to take photos of people, and how to tell a compelling story through your images.

Strategies For Photographing People And Street Scenes

When photographing people and street scenes while traveling, it can be challenging to capture the essence of the culture in an authentic way. Here are some useful strategies to help you do just that:

  • Set your camera to a fast shutter speed to capture people in motion.
  • Try to capture people in candid moments as this can create more natural and authentic images.
  • Make use of the environment around you to create a more interesting composition.
  • Play with light and shadows to add depth and interest to your images.
  • Try to incorporate local elements, such as traditional dress or customs, to add cultural context to your images.

How To Get Permission To Photograph People

In some cultures, it is considered rude or disrespectful to take photos of people without their permission. Here are some tips to help you get permission:

  • Smile and show genuine interest (if you are curious about their culture or customs, ask them questions).
  • Use a local guide who can help facilitate interactions with people.
  • Explain why you want to take the photo and how you plan to use it.
  • Offer to share the photo with them, either by printing a copy or emailing it to them (if possible).
  • Respect their decision if they decline your request.

Telling A Story With Your Photos

The best travel photos are those that tell a compelling story. Here are some tips on how you can do this:

  • Choose a theme or subject that you want to focus on, such as local cuisine, daily life or traditional art forms.
  • Look for telling details that will help to convey the story.
  • Use a mix of wide and close-up shots to provide context and detail.
  • Look for moments that are interesting, surprising or unusual.
  • Use light, composition, and color to create a mood or feeling.
  • Consider the sequence of your images and think about how they can be arranged to tell a story.

By following these tips and incorporating them into your own photography style, you can capture the local life and culture in an engaging and authentic way. Remember to always be respectful of the people and cultures you are photographing, and to tell a story that is true to your experiences.

Step 4. Editing And Processing Tips

Becoming a travel photographer is a dream for many who love to explore new places. Capturing the beauty of a location is one thing, but creating images that evoke the true essence of a place requires the right skills and knowledge.

One of the essential aspects of travel photography is editing and processing. In this section, we’ll share some tips on how to enhance your shots and achieve stunning travel photography results.

Editing Software For Travel Photos

Editing software plays a crucial role in crafting stunning travel photos. With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to select the right one. Here are some popular editing software to consider:

  • Adobe lightroom: This program is a go-to tool for most photographers. It allows you to adjust the contrast, exposure, saturation, and color tones quickly. You can also create detailed edits using brushes, spot removal, and gradient tools.
  • Photoshop: Photoshop is a powerful tool for creating intricate photo manipulation. Although it can be a bit daunting for beginners, it’s a top choice among professionals.
  • Capture one: A highly recommended tool for those who shoot raw photos. Capture one has extensive color grading tools that provide more precision and control over the images.

Techniques For Enhancing Your Photos

Now that you’ve selected your editing software, it’s time to explore some techniques for enhancing your photos. Here are some critical areas to focus on:

  • Exposure: Adjusting the exposure can make a significant difference in your travel photos. Be sure to fix the over and underexposed areas in your shot for a well-balanced exposure.
  • Contrast: By increasing the contrast, you can add more depth and dimension to your images. However, use it sparingly to avoid having a harsh looking photo.
  • Saturation: Adding extra saturation makes travel photos more vibrant and lively. Experiment with different saturation levels to determine the right balance for your shot.
  • Sharpness: Sharpening your photos can help to create a more defined and crisp image. Use this setting with moderation to avoid making your picture too grainy.

Presets And Filters For Quick Editing

Presets and filters can help speed up your editing process and give you consistent results. On top of that, they’re a great way to explore new creative approaches to your travel photography. Here are some types of presets and filters to consider:

  • Lightroom presets: You can buy or create custom lightroom presets that fit different styles and moods. This can be helpful when you want your photos to have a consistent look and feel.
  • Instagram filters: Instagram filters are a popular option for a quick and easy edit. They have an array of different effects and filters to choose from, which vary from vintage to modern.
  • Vsco filters: Vsco filters are trendy among photographers for their film-like appearance. Some of these filters can get pretty intense, so use them cautiously.

By using editing software, enhancing techniques, and presets and filters, you can take your travel photography to the next level. Try different approaches and have fun creating a unique visual narrative to showcase all the incredible places you’ve visited!

Step 5. Staying Safe And Respecting Local Customs

To capture the perfect shot while travelling, you must be aware of the local customs and traditions. Photographing in a culturally sensitive way ensures that you won’t offend anyone and will create a respectful portrayal of the place you are visiting.

Here are some things you should keep in mind:

  • Research the culture of the place you are visiting before your arrival. Learn about the customs and traditions, and read up on any taboos with regards to photography. For example, in some cultures, it is considered disrespectful to take pictures of religious sites or military installations.
  • Be aware of the dress code, and respect it while taking pictures. Cover your head, arms or legs if necessary, especially if you are visiting religious sites.
  • Always ask permission before taking photos of people, and respect their right to privacy if they decline. It is also important to understand that indigenous people might have a different concept of ownership or communal land rights, so be respectful when taking pictures in these areas.

Tips For Staying Safe While Taking Photos Abroad

Travelling and photography go hand in hand, but in some places, it can be dangerous, so it’s essential to stay safe. Here’s how:

  • Always be aware of your surroundings, especially if you are photographing in crowded or busy areas.
  • Avoid carrying expensive equipment in plain sight and try to blend in with the locals as much as possible, this helps avoid unwanted attention.
  • If you’re not comfortable with going alone, find a companion to go around with, such as local guides or fellow photographers. They can also assist you in accessing hard-to-reach locations while ensuring your safety.
  • Check with your embassy or consulate about the safety of the places you want to photograph. If they suggest avoiding some areas, follow the advice.

Understanding Local Laws And Regulations On Photography

Different countries have laws and regulations on photography, and it is your responsibility to know them before taking pictures. Here are some things you should be aware of:

  • Some countries require permits or have restrictions on photography in certain locations. Always confirm the legality of taking photos beforehand to avoid legal difficulties.
  • Be aware of the rules on photography in public places, historical sites, museums, or any other public places.
  • When photographing people, be aware of their privacy rights and take care not to invade their privacy. In some countries, it is illegal to take pictures of government buildings, military personnel or installations, or sensitive infrastructure.
  • Always obtain permission before publishing or selling photographs taken of people or private properties.

Following these guidelines will help you become a more responsible and considerate travel photographer, while also keeping you and your equipment safe.

FAQs Of How To Become A Travel Photographer

How Can I Become A Travel Photographer?

To become a travel photographer, you need to gain photography skills, including composition, exposure, and lighting. Travel to different locations and capture unique images.

Build a strong portfolio and market it to potential clients by attending workshops, events and social media platforms.

What Are The Essential Gear For Travel Photography?

Invest in a quality camera, lenses, a sturdy tripod, a comfortable backpack, lens cleaning kit, and extra memory cards.

Consider taking additional accessories, such as a waterproof case, remote shutter release, and a portable charger.

What Is The Best Way To Edit Travel Photos?

Editing travel photos is essential to add a personal touch to your images. Use software like lightroom and photoshop to crop, adjust exposure, enhance colors and apply filters.

Experiment with different tools to add your unique style to photos. Always aim for a natural look, without over-processing images.

How Do I Approach Strangers For Travel Photography?

Approaching strangers can be intimidating but explain your intentions to take photographs to capture their story. Be respectful of their privacy and culture.

Provide feedback of the images, and offer to send them a copy by email or social media.

If you feel uncomfortable, it’s ok to respect the person’s wishes and walk away.

Can I Make A Living As A Travel Photographer?

Yes, you can make a full-time career as a travel photographer by selling images to brands, media outlets, and tourism boards. Collaborate with tourism companies and hotels to create marketing material, or sell your prints via social media platforms.

It takes time and effort to build up your reputation and network, but it’s definitely possible.


As mentioned throughout this blog post, becoming a travel photographer requires hard work, dedication, and a passion for the craft. While it may seem intimidating at first, with proper planning, education, and networking, it is achievable.

Remember to practice your skills whenever possible, learn from experts in the field, and develop your own unique style.

Additionally, keep up with industry trends and technology advancements, as they can help you stay relevant as a photographer. Lastly, do not forget the importance of marketing yourself and your work, as it is crucial in gaining clients and growing your business.

With these tips in mind, you can begin your journey towards becoming a successful travel photographer.

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