July 16, 2024


Paris 1
Paris from the top of Notre Dame. Gargoyle in the foreground with the city flowing back toward the Eiffel Tower.


4 Tips to Improve Travel Photography

Want to improve your Travel Photography? Take it beyond “pretty pictures” ? I’ve previously written about the importance of taking the standard , “post card” travel photo (click here) and shared 5 Tips To Improve Photography (click here.)  There are lots of ways to take your travel photos up to the next level. Here is a very simple group of 4 Tips to Improve your Travel Photography.

1) Get Closer –

Well known War Photographer Robert Capa produced a quote regarding photography which is as true today as it was when he was shooting World War II. “If your photographs aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough”  Try it –  it will often improve things greatly.  And don’t be lazy about it.  Don’t rely on a telephoto or zoom lens.  When possible, get up close and personal with your subject.  It will give you a better understanding of the subject and how the light falls on it.  Quite possibly you may also get more information about the subject as well.  And if nothing else, you will get a bit of exercise!

TG 7

 A cold morning following an overnight rain  left the fields of the Tall Grass Prairie Preserve in Kansas shimmering with ice.  The shot above was ok, but not really getting it.

TG 8

This close up gave a much better sense of the experience and when used in combination with an overall “setting shot” provided a good compliment.

sville girls

These young ladies were enjoying lunch at a sidewalk cafe during a street fair. They would have been a colorful full body image if shot from the street.  But the image is much more powerful and engaging up close.  Plus, as a bonus, I got to meet the ladies and learn about their part in the fair.

2) Change Your Perspective –

Provide an interesting or different point of view of your subject.  Shooting everything head on, at eye level can get a bit boring.  Go for something different.  Shoot down on your subject – or up.  Tilt the camera for some interesting effects. (Note – if doing this the tilt should be substantial.  Just a bit of tilt will be disturbing to the viewer and make them think you don’t know how to hold your camera level.)

rodeo cowboy

This directly overhead shot of a cowboy preparing his rodeo gear adds interest.

Paris Rocks

Paris – probably a bit overdone – but you get the idea.  Definitely not a “head on” shot.  Also this image has the foreground / background quality as well which is mentioned below.

3) Put Something In The Foreground –

If everything in your image is the same distance from the camera the resulting image tends to be flat and lacking in interest. Change that up. Think of your image as having three planes – a foreground, a mid-ground, and a background. Putting something in the foreground adds a sense of depth and space to the image. It invites the viewer’s eye to more fully explore the image. Interest is increased.

Great Goose Pagoda - Xian China bwb-images
Great Goose Pagoda – Xian China bwb-images

The Pagoda in X’ian China is a famous image.  This perspective with the bright red lantern gives it a rather colorful and unique quality.

Golden Rock 1

Prayer bells in the foreground add an element of interest to the pagoda at Golden Rock in Myanmar.

4) Add An Extra Element To The Image –

If you are shooting a landscape or scenic image, add a person to the view.  If you are shooting people, include some other item or “prop”.  Again, the goal is to add dimension and interest to the image.  Get creative.

Great Wall Model 3pb

The Great Wall in China is a classic subject for travel photography.  However, if you are fortunate enough to encounter a lovely bride (red is lucky in China you know) who is there for her wedding photos you should ask if you could take a few shots. A rare opportunity to add a dynamic element of interest to a Great Wall image.


A Kansas field of sunflowers makes for a very good visual image.  Add the farm owner and you have that foreground dimension and you have a great additional element of interest.

There are many ways to take your travel photos up a notch.  These four ideas are simple and easy to add to your shooting routine.  Give them a try. If you have some favorite tips of your own feel free to share in the “comments” section. Thanks.




Improve Your Travel Photographs  ………………. And Enjoy The Journey!


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