We’ve all been there… aimlessly scrolling the insta feed filled with our favourite influencers and thinking how the bloody hell did they get a photo at the Taj Mahal without a single other person in it!? or how do they get such perfect shots of themselves when they travel solo!? they must have a huge team of people following them around with a camera and a powder brush catching those glam moments right? The truth is, unless you are a Kardashian, this is rarely the case & there is a lot of effort that goes into creating the gorgeous content we see every day. It’s definitely a practise makes perfect exercise & we have put together just a few helpful tips for taking beautiful travel photos without paying for a photographer.
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Wake up early to avoid the crowds.
Okay, so I know you’re on vacay and it may seem totally unfair to wake up before sunrise, but trust me- it is entirely and completely 100% worth it! if you just so happen to be in an eastern beach or coastal destination this can also double as an op for a beautiful sunrise shot over the ocean – it doesn’t get much better than that! It’s so much more efficient to get in and out of an area super early rather than waiting sometimes hours, for the perfect photograph with no other tourists around and let’s be realistic – in some places there won’t be an opportunity at all for a shot like this once you miss your window. A few little easy hacks to master the early rise & rush are as follows;
curate a list of all the places you want to take your photos at, in advance – We often take screenshots or take notes and create folders in our phones to refer back to or if you are a pen & paper person, this travel planner is super helpful to plan your travel days & carry with you.
Map it out – organise your transport and time frames between photo spots the day before. Look at the public transport timetables via either google maps or rome2rio in your area and work out how long it’s going to take you to get from your accomodation to your first photo stop and each photo stop that follows – this is particularly helpful to ensure you don’t miss sunrise – you’re never up & about this early -make the most of it while you can! If you are catching an uber or a lyft – consider booking it the night before to ensure it will be there at your required time – even in built up areas, they can sometimes take a while to arrive to you – especially at early hours of the morning.
A copy of one of our photo day itineraries;
It may seem super simple – but check your camera gear is fully charged & ready to go the night before – the last thing you want is to wake up and realise you only have one bar of battery and not enough time to charge it!
we wouldn’t recommend planning a super early start until a few days after you have arrived in your destination, to give you and your body a chance to get used to your new time zone and get into a routine – this will obviously be a personal preference but we always try to give ourselves a couple of days to settle in and get over our jetlag before we go throwing 4-5am wake ups into the mix!
It’s time to get your pro on!
the easiest way to capture those pro-like shots is to treat your sessions like real life professional photo shoots.. think about your lighting, your outfits and your colors ahead of time – if you have a particular colour palette you use for your instagram, try & incorporate these colors into your outfits or if there are certain murals you want to get photos with – think about what colour your outfit should be so you don’t clash with the wall behind you, eg – for this shot in Ausin, we wore neutrals and blacks to ensure the green and bright coloured wall behind us really popped!
Take a backpack full of bits and pieces with you; if it’s winter time pack a second coat of a different colour or style to throw on over your outfit, some accessories such as a beanie or scarfe & a couple of different pairs of boots/shoes. If it’s summer – throw in a couple of beautiful lightweight maxi dresses and/or kimonos, a hair tie & a couple of different lippies! wearing slightly different outfits & accessories will give the illusion the photos are taken at completely seperate times which is a really efficient way to capture as much content in one shoot as possible – especially if it’s a destination you don’t get to often! (all of the below new york city photos were taken in the same morning)
Get the Gear!
Whether you are traveling solo, with your significant other or with a group of friends – we all know the disaster of having to work with crooked & blurry photos taken by other tourists – it’s never a fun time! to avoid the awkwardness of having to pretend you are super in love with the shot of you standing in front of the bottom half of the eiffel tower, do yourself a favour and invest in a tripod – if you are serious about wanting beautiful photos, it will be the best 50 bucks you’ve ever spent. There are various options available & most of them are compatible with any type of camera, but it is always best to double check this before you purchase – we use this tripod from amazon – compatible with canon, olympus & nikon. They are inexpensive, keep your camera beautifully steady & if you have a camera such as our Olympus E10 Mark 11 or similar, they are generally compatible with an app owned by the brand that comes with a ‘remote’ option – allowing you to get into position, view the shot to make sure you are happy with it & then take the photo using your phone. If you don’t have a camera or prefer to use your phone for taking the photos, the tripod gods have got your back with this phone adapter.
Use a Good Editing Program
There is nothing that lights a content creators heart on fire quite like bringing your pictures to life via the beautiful art that is editing! Whether you are wanting to create an adhesive feed or just play around with the effects to see the potential your individual photos have to stand out – there are so many programs & apps out there that help you to create beautiful photos without paying for a photographer to edit for you – it’s all about finding what works for you! We personally cannot go past Lightroom for Mobile for all our instagram photos, stories & blog photos. This app is absolutely amazing – completely free, with the ability to individually manipulate colours to match your colour palette at a steady pace rather than just applying a filter to the entire photo. Adjusting the exposure, saturation, vibrance, temp & tint gradually without overexposing or turning your pictures bright orange or purple like a lot of other apps out there do is another great benefit – you have complete control! Once you are done editing your pictures you can create your own presets or purchase those created by many influencers and bloggers around the world such as helene in between, do you travel presets or jayde archives to create a beautiful cohesive look for all your photos!
Before & Afters….
Travel to Photogenic Places
It doesn’t get much easier to take beautiful travel photos without a paying for a photographer, when you are surrounded by natural beauty or completely instagrammable buildings and your travels don’t need to be extravagant – It can be as easy as jumping in the car & exploring the beauty of your own backyard – when was the last time you camped on the beach? took a road trip or hike up the highest mountain in your home-town? We have found the below cities & islands impossible to visit without taking thousands of photos.
Venice & Rome, Italy
Isla Mujeres & Tulum, Mexico
New York City, USA – At Christmas
Have you got any tips for creating beautiful content? Let us know in the comments below!
Thanks for reading,
Peace, Love & Happy Travels