Posted June 23, 2021

How to Take Better Travel Pictures

Travel Tips

You know what they say about traveling: If you didn’t take pictures, it didn’t really happen. Whether or not you wallpaper your IG feed, you should still fill that camera roll (or memory card, if you’re getting fancy with a “real” camera).  After a year with limited travel, it’s all about capturing those memories. The best way to do it is taking a thoughtful approach to shooting. Try these travel photography tips that pros swear by.

Palomar South Beach, Photo by @twooutsiders

Think Off-Center 

Some people refer to this as the “rule of thirds.” It sets up your shot to look more natural. Instead of placing your subject in the center, imagine breaking down the frame into a grid of nine equal rectangles (think of a tic-tac-toe game). Then place your subject on one of the four intersections, which will be slightly off to the side. It gives the photo an alluring, perfectly imperfect look.

Show Real Humans

Nothing says “put yourself in these shoes” like having a person in your photos. It’s one thing to see a pool in Palm Springs; it’s quite another to see someone in it, face to the sun. Even mere hints of the human element create impact. Photo of cocktail at a bar in Chicago? Interesting. Photo of your hand holding that cocktail? Now we’re talking. Also worth noting: If you’re taking a landscape shot, consider including a person to give a sense of scale.

Kimpton Shorebreak Hotel, Photo by @jazz.kalfayan

Create Depth

Think to yourself: foreground, middle ground and background. It’s all about achieving a three-dimensional look. Can’t find a foreground? Go back to the human touch — sit down and get your feet in the shot. One of the other better photography techniques for creating depth is simply shifting your stance. Sometimes, all it takes is turning at a 45-degree angle or taking a few steps forward to give the scenery an eye-catching alteration in dimension.

Keep it Simple

Often, less is more. Focus on one sole subject and let the space breathe around it. Negative space trains the eyes, creating more drama and impact (remember the rule of thirds when you’re setting up your shot). One common misconception is that negative space needs to be “blank.” In actuality, there can be people and things going on in it, but they should be background elements and not main subjects.

Kimpton Key West Hotel, Photo by @aditi_pillai

Play With Perspective 

Eye-level photos are exactly that — very straightforward. What would it look like if you crouched down or stood on a chair? Especially if you’re taking photos of people, shift the perspective to above or below. If you have time, try forced perspective photography, a technique that makes objects look larger, smaller, closer or farther than they really are. You’re creating optical illusion by tinkering with field of depth, angles, positioning and even props.

Get App Happy 

Try apps that point you to the best places in a city to take pictures, as well as help you alter and manipulate your photos. If you have an iPhone, try the community-driven Explorest to find the exact locations that others have been in to take their amazing photos. Pixlr creates montages of your photos, offering over two million combos of effects, overlays and filters. Finally, if you’re a perfectionist, use Airbrush to not only photo edit but remove blemishes, take red eyes out, and be your own retoucher.

Happy shooting! Make sure to tag @kimpton to be featured on our social channels!

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