How To Take Better Travel Photos

September 12, 2016
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My husband and I recently booked a vacation to Seattle in October.  We've been out to Las Vegas (got married there!) and to several cities in California but this will be our first trip to the Pacific Northwest. The Space Needle, Pike Place Market, Chihuly Garden and Glass, Olympic Sculpture Park, the Seattle Art Museum and Bainbridge Island are some of the spots we're looking forward to seeing and as we've been planning out our itinerary, I've also been planning out the photos I'd like to take. I know it may sound odd to pre-plan my photos but when you're a photographer and someone who used to produce photoshoots, it's just second nature. In the spirit of my upcoming getaway, I'm going to share some of my best travel photography tips.


I always say that the best camera is the one that you have with you. No matter the type of camera, you want to make sure it's one that you're comfortable and familiar with so you can make the most of it's features. Also make sure you have the right lenses, a tripod if needed, extra batteries and memory cards.

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I'm not a big fan of crowds so if I'm going to check out a tourist attraction, I try to go at off peak times. Also keep in mind that certain times of day provide more ideal lighting like the late afternoon or the magic hour (one hour before and after the sunrise/sunset). I'm actually quite partial to sunset backdrops.

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Anyone can take a standard straight on shot of a landmark. Challenge your creativity and play with different angles and framing to add visual interest. You can also play with the modes of your camera. I like to play around with my aperture and shutter speed for different effects.

Trying out various vantage points like going up high or down low or getting up close or far away can go a long way to creating a unique point of view. Reflections are fun!

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Always take note of where your light is coming from and use it to your advantage. I find that harsh midday sunlight is never flattering and your best bet for avoiding that is open shade. While sunny days are always preferable, overcast skies are actually the best for photography. When shooting indoors, be sure not to block your own light and use any available light sources to illuminate your shot.

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Instead of trying to photograph an entire scene, try putting the focus on one small aspect of it. This will also help you to appreciate something in an entirely different way.

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Most locales have characteristics which are unique to them. Being observant will help you to pick up on the local flavor and incorporate it into your photographs. You can't go wrong with a good photo of the local cuisine.

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Sometimes a shot won't work out how you picture it in your head. Just take a step back to assess the situation, reframe and try again. I've had many shots come out better than I originally imagined just by doing this.

While getting that perfect shot is great, we shouldn't be so consumed with capturing the moment that we miss out on enjoying the actual moment as it happens. 
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The Olympus® OM-D E-M5 Mark II combines portability with powerful creative options to help you make the most of your photos when you travel. Versatile features like ultra fast autofocus and manual focus options, a unique high-resolution capture mode and advanced image stabilizing technology make it an ideal camera for capturing anything from cityscapes to landscapes to sports to people. And as far as I'm concerned, looks do matter when it comes to cameras. The OM-D E-M5 Mark II is a looker with a sleek, retro inspired all metal body that is lightweight and waterproof. As if that wasn't enough, this camera also has a large fully articulating flip out touch screen, full HD 1080 video and built in Wi-Fi integration. I'd love it if my camera had Wi-Fi.

“Olympus Takes You There” with a special promotional offer that let's you have your camera and travel too. A purchase of an OM-D E-M5 Mark II camera from an authorized Olympus dealer between 9/1/16  11/15/16 will get you a free domestic U.S. air flight. How cool is that! Visit Olympus, to learn more about the"Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II
and get more details about this free airline flight promotion

I'd choose to go to Miami, Florida. We spent a day there once before departing on a cruise and have always talked about going back. It’s a such a vibrant city. It would be fun to hang out on Miami Beach and see all the cool Art Deco architecture along Ocean Drive. I’d also want to pay a visit to the Vizcaya Museum and Garden. It's an impressive 28 acre estate and Italian style villa filled with an array of art and fountains and pools. So where would you go if you had a free ticket to anywhere in the contiguous United States?
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42 comments on "How To Take Better Travel Photos"
  1. I like Seattle a lot, it's a fun and artsy city, so I'm sure you will find some great places to take photographs. The golden hour is one of my favourite times to take certain photos because the natural lighting is incredibly beautiful. Great tips! Have a lovely start to the week, Rowena!

  2. I couldn't even choose, I have never been to the states before, so I really want to visit so many places. New York being on top of my list, I think, but not throughout the summer months.

    Linda, Libra, Loca: Beauty, Baby and Backpacking

  3. Inspiring ;)

    Federica Di Nardo

  4. Show de imagens amei, tenha uma semana abençoada, obrigado pela visita.

  5. You take amazing images doll and this post tips and idea are helpful thanks.

  6. Your photos are always so pretty and well-shot, Rowena! It was very nice to see your photography tips, as you know - I love photography. The Olympus camera sounds like something I'd love to try, especially when it is waterproof. Now I am coveting a waterproof camera or a GoPro, so this will come just in time. Happy Monday, Rowena!xo

  7. You will really love Seattle, Rowena:) I've never been there but everyone around me has, and they all say how great it is. And thank you so much for sharing these awesome tips! Planning ahead is certainly one I never really think off when it comes to taking vacay pics, so I'll definitely remember that. Going at off-peak hours to photograph a place is a great idea!

  8. How lovely, Im sure u and ur hubby are going to have fun! And thanks for the tips, definitely very helpful and great, now I just need that camera in my life!:) Happy Monday dear Rowena! xo

  9. Interesting tips, so helpful!!! I love your pics!!!
    Kisses, Paola.


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  10. This sounds like such a generic comment, but I really, really appreciate the tips on this!!

  11. Love it! Thanks for sharing.

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  12. Great tips, my bf is thinking of getting a new camera so I'll point him over here to read your post. I am sure you'll love Seattle. Hope you had a lovely Patriot Day, girl.

  13. These are amazing tips, Rowena! I have always wished that you would post photography tips because you are such an amazing photographer so thank you! Bookmarking!

    Shireen | Reflection of Sanity

  14. If I had a free ticket to anywhere in US, I think I would visit The Grand Canyon first. I have this thing about canyons and that one is really the one, isn't it? I would also like to see NY, Chicago, LA and Seattle...ok, that's not really summing it to one, but those would be my other choices (in that order).

    This Olympus Mark II camera sounds great! The lenses on my last camera were broken, so I'm looking for a new one. In the meantime I'm using a tablet to shot photographs for my blog. Not the best solution, but still better quality than your ordinary cell phone ( I don't have an iphone). So, I will keep this cam in mind.

    Your travel advice is very welcome! Taking photographs on vacation can be fun but it can also be stressful. It is important not to let the stress of it get to us. I think it actually makes sense to pre-plan them. That makes us more relaxed on our vacation because we don't have to have it at the back of our minds all the time...Pre-planing photos is great because it can make us feel more in control. I even heard of photographs who write down their plans or even sketch their photographs. To me it makes perfect sense. A good painting sometimes takes a dozen tries or sketches, so I'm no surprised that one needs to invest a bit of effort into to get that great photograph.

    I think photography is a big part of vacation. There is a sentimental aspect to it, we all want to remember our vacation. Even people who aren't professional photographs want to have nice vacation photos....I personally think that photographs are the best souvenier...we all want to have proof that we have been some place, it's normal. So, why not take it the next level? Why not try to get a great photo of some landmark! I'm all in for it....and following your tips will surely help. I do agree with your suggestions. I noticed many times that light is the most important thing....we should always be aware where it is, so that we can take advantage of it. Also, sometimes it is best to just take a breather, especially if we notice that we're snapping photos like crazy. Take a breath, relax and figure out what it is that we want to capture.

  15. Interesting post! Happy new week! Kisses:))


  16. There are still quite a few States that I haven't been to... if I had to pick one that I haven't been to yet but would absolutey love to, it would be Texas!


  17. You definitely need the right equipment to take beautiful photos. Baci, Valeria - Coco et La vie en rose NEW FASHION POST

  18. Great tips and your pictures are so beautiful!

  19. These are really great tips! Thanks for sharing!


  20. These are really excellent tips. I always appreciate your pictures they always look so professional.

  21. Oh wow I use to live there! Try also to get to Discovery Park and oh the Theo Chocolate factory in Freemont. There is a great gourmet pizza place with a wood burning stove in Capitol Hill or least there was and friends store Eat Local. Have fun!!!

    Allie of ALLIENYC

  22. Really interesting post...thx for sharing! xx

  23. Very good tips for capturing good photos, I love the photo of sunset colors are so perfect!

  24. Hi sweet Rowena,
    I really like Seattle and these picture are so Cool.
    The Photography is one of my favorite hobbies.
    Very useful tips
    Maggie Dallospedale Fashion diary - Fashion blog

  25. Thanks for sharing these tips, I always love your instagram photos so it's good to get some insight around how you take such fab pictures!

    Corinne x

  26. Great tips!!! Nice pics!!!
    Have a good week!!! and my g+ for you!!!

    Besos, desde España, Marcela♥

  27. How fun you married in Las Vegas! All of your travel photography tips are so on point Rowena, especially looking for different perspectives - and lighting truly is everything, I agree wholeheartedly! Your photos are breathtakingly beautiful.

    Gabrielle | A Glass Of Ice x

  28. Fantastic tips, I always enjoy your photos x

  29. Great tips! I like it a lot!


  30. Thanks for the tips. Lighting is so crucial! I actually asked my husband to watch our daughter a few days ago before 8 am so I could get a few Instagram snaps!
    Hmm I would go to Alaska, Miami or New Orleans!

  31. Growing up in South Florida I can see why you had a great time in Miami. I'm loving all your tips. The one I need to take more advantage of is getting to cool locales super early in the morning when no one else is around and the lighting is perfect. I just have to make myself get up!

  32. Beautiful pictures, Rowena! I love your photos (Actually, the one I purchased from you a while ago is hanging in my bedroom). I do not have a proper camera but a legit camera that I can easily carry for trips sounds nice, not to mention free airplane tickets! I would provably go to some place close and where I can eat good food (btw, is that a bone marrow dish in the pic? Yummmz), Martha's Vineyard? ;)

  33. So many great tips, thanks for sharing!

    xx Kelly
    Sparkles and Shoes

  34. Rowena, have super fun in Seattle! I've never been, but everyone that goes really has a good time. You're visiting some wonderful spots. I love these tips! I'm ALWAYS enamored with your photos. They just take you there! You have a way of capturing things so beautifully. So I appreciate your tips. Miami is a wonderful choice! I've been and SUPER LOVED IT! You'll feel as if you're in another world. We stayed in Coconut Grove but spent most of our time on Miami Beach. I love the outdoor eateries and shopping. It's lovely. Hope you win! That Olympus camera is dreamy!

  35. The lighting is definitely something I am trying to work on myself. I am getting better and better.

  36. Going at off peak is very key! I have been able to capture tourist sites by carefully choosing my time of visit

  37. These are great tips! When I travel I love getting up early to wander around when no one else is around and take pictures. :) I have to learn to be more patient and thoughtful with my photos though.

  38. Great post with valuable info since I am about to go on vacation. Thanks for sharing


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