How To Take AWESOME Travel Photos

Words & Images by: Nina Grace



I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “the best camera is the one you have with you,” so rather than fretting over what gear to take with you on your next trip (be it downtown or to Timbuktu) use these tips to capture incredible images, and moments, right on your phone (...and yes, I’m team #iPhone)!

Lighting is Everything

Outdoor lighting can be a little tricky, the perfect scenario would be a nice overcast day so as to block harsh shadows coming from the sun in the middle of the day. BUT if it is sunny out (as it usually is here in Florida), just look for shade. You can find a shaded area nearly anywhere: under a tree, next to a tall building or wall (on the shaded side obviously), indoors (especially in the doorway or near a large window), etc. Place your subject in the shade and shoot towards them (towards the shade). Sometimes you’ll need to come in close.



It’s okay to spend some time on location scouting. I promise you, people who have bomb [dot] com images on their Instagram accounts prepared ahead of time. They didn’t just get lucky. A good location will vary depending on what you’re trying to accomplish, but you can always bet that a good location will have good lighting. Period.


Go Wide

Sometimes we get so caught up in shooting straight on that we don’t take a step back and look at our surroundings. Take a minute, walk further away from your subject to get another shot, you might be pleasantly surprised! This also helps to tell your story, this allows the viewer to become familiar with the setting or just helps them figure out where you’re taking the photo.


Consider Perspective

You’ve gone wide, now get low, go high, look up, look down. Consider getting more than one angle to your shot. Again, changing your perspective contributes to the visual story and will add more details to the image. It also gives you a variety of images to choose from.



As a wise mentor once told me, “it’s not about the artist’s brushes, it’s about the artist.” Meaning it’s not about your gear or gadgets, it’s about you, your skill and your creativity. So go out and create! Have fun, follow the rules then break them! Play with lighting, test the limits of your camera (phone or otherwise) and edit your images (my personal favorite apps are Snapseed and VSCO). Now it’s your turn! Dedicate an hour or two (or three) for your own photo shoot! Follow the steps below then share your results on Instagram (@theexploress) using the hashtag #Exploress

  • Find your location (aka go on a location scout)
  • Ask yourself, “does this location have good lighting?”
  • Have fun, take lots of pics and share them online #Exploress!