5 Tips to Improve Your Travel Pictures

Even though you are not a photographer, these 5 tips to improve your travel pictures will dramatically change your photo results. You do carry around with you a great camera.  Today’s mobile phone technology puts a camera in everyone’s hands.  And the best camera is the one you have with you.  Recently I decided to leave my “big” camera at home and enjoy my travels looking a little less like a tourist.  I learned a few key tips that drastically improved my mobile phone photographs.  These tips can also help you make a significant improvement in your travel photos regardless of the camera you use.

What is the key to incredible travel pictures?  Some folks work for years to master photography.  However, you can make a big difference by learning a few simple techniques.  Read on to begin improving your photos now, and make the most of your cell phone camera without having to lug around that big “I am a tourist” screaming camera. 

Keep It Simple

Start by learning to keep your photos simple.  Many people overcomplicate their pictures.  Having too many details in a photo will distract the viewer.  It also makes it difficult to create a compelling composition. 

You only need one simple subject to create a great photograph.  And it is much easier to have that photo be compelling if you have only one subject.  Even if you have a lot of empty space it is okay.  It is just a way to make your subject stand out. 

Move closer to your subject and check the frame for distracting elements.  Make any necessary changes to remove distracting or unwanted objects from the photo before you snap the shutter.  Your simple, clean images will set your photographs apart from the crowd. 

Keeping it simple is one of the easiest and one of the most powerful techniques that you can learn.

Move Closer

One way to keep it simple is to move closer to your subject.  Fill the frame with your subject if you are able.  This is a perfect way to also remove distracting elements from the final result. 

All too often photographs are captured without much thought to the surroundings and background.  Simply moving closer to your subject will simplify the composition and remove any undesired elements. 

Remember to be careful when taking pictures of people though.  Getting too close will result in distorting their features.  Just take a picture of your best friend’s face from a distance of two feet and from six-eight feet.  Then compare the difference to see what I mean.

Try Other Angles

Almost everyone takes their photos from a head height position as we raise our camera to our eye.  This happens because it is most convenient. 

But try being a bit more creative.  There are other options that result in great images.  Just think a little out of the box and your pictures will take on a new freshness.  A very simple way of doing this is to take more pictures from a lower angle. 

Your photos will be more intriguing because they will show the world from a different perspective.  It is also much easier to remove unwanted distractions when shooting from a low perspective as your subject can be highlighted with nothing but sky in the background. 

Also, when you take your photographs from a low viewpoint, you can also include interesting details in the foreground.  This works great with landscapes by including some flowers in the foreground.  It works especially well with water—capturing ripples and reflections in the water and a clear sky in the background. 

It is also important to get down to your subject’s level.  If your subject is small, get down.  Small children, for example, look natural when their photo is taken at their level.

For the ultimate photo taken from a low angle, get down on your knee or even lay down on the ground.  With a mobile camera, it is fairly simple to get the camera down to the ground level.  You may feel a bit silly lying on the ground with your camera but I guarantee that your pictures will be noticeably better than everyone else’s.

Create Depth

Photographs are printed on two-dimensional paper.  To convey depth in a two-dimensional image simply include a foreground, a middle ground and a background.  This is especially important in landscape photos.  These elements help draw the viewer’s eye into the picture. 

One way to accomplish this is to include leading lines that lead from the foreground into the distance.  This draws the eyes into the scene.  Use roads, rivers, paths, fences, railroad tracks, water’s edge or any feature that can lead the eyes into the scene.  Use these lines to lead from the foreground into the distance and your photos will have that needs a sense of depth.

Another way is to include something in the foreground such flowers, something in the middle distance area and the far distance.  This will help create depth in your photos and the results will improve dramatically.

Look for Reflections

Reflections make for fantastic images.  You can find reflections everywhere including windows, shiny metal surfaces, ice, water, and mirrors.  Water is my favorite. 

A still water surface creates beautiful reflections while ripples and waves on the surface can result in distortions in the reflections that add a unique look to your photos.  You can even create ripples or waves yourself by hand or by other objects. 

Get your camera lens down low, very low.  By getting right down as close to the water surface as possible, you can turn a small rain puddle into a virtual mirror reflecting your subject and filling the background with the sky.  I guarantee you will be the only one in your travel group to come up with gorgeous images using this simple trick and everyone will want to know how you do it.

Now take these tips, put them into use with your mobile phone camera, or any camera for that matter, and you will be surprised by the results.