Travel photography tips - The river bridge in Castle Combe (England) is a popular photo spot

These 5 simple travel photography tips are an inexpensive way to transform your photos using your existing equipment. If you’re looking to curate your Instagram feed or enjoy documenting your travels, keep this list in mind when you next go exploring…

The romantic canals of Venice during the golden hour

1. “The rule of thirds” | Travel Photography Tips

Imagine dividing your image into 9 boxes of equal size by tracing 2 horizontal and 2 vertical lines (if you have an iPhone you can do this in editor), the focus of the image should fall where these lines intersect for a pleasing visual.

  • Portrait photography: Line up the eyes to the top horizontal line
  • Food photography: Move the middle of the dish to the left or right vertical line
  • Landscape photography: Move the horizon to the top or bottom horizontal line instead of the centre – and use the line to check the horizon is straight/zero degrees.

Sunset in the Mediterranean SeaCream tea at The Victorian Tea Rooms in Abergavenny, Wales

2. Put yourself (or an object) in the photo

Let your travel photography tell a story – a city street at night or a vast landscape makes a great setting, but this setting may lack a story. If you place someone or something in the photo the viewer can begin to imagine walking in their shoes or build a story around the subject, even little details like a stray cat or a hand holding a flower. I personally find my best performing posts on Instagram are the ones where I’m walking away from the camera into the scene.

Related: Travel photography – 10 practical things to pack in your rucksack

Popular viewpoint in Santorini overlooking the bay

3. The golden hour | Travel Photography Tips

1 hour after sunrise and 1 hour before sunset is when the city architecture and countryside are painted in gold, the sunlight and shadows are not as harsh and the warmer tones can be very flattering for portraits.

Golden hour in Venice, Italy

4. Be patient with crowds

Another benefit to shooting at sunrise is that it tends to be quieter, particularly in a town or city, but if you’re unable to do this then patience is key. You may of course want to capture the hustle and bustle of a food market, but generally people desire to be the sole focus of their travel photos. I set up my shot and wait for a gap in the crowds, set the timer and run into place – make sure your camera is safe if you do this or ask someone to take it for you if you’re not travelling alone.

Related: 6 stunning photo spots in Malaga, Spain

The pretty village of Mondsee, AustriaCastle Combe, one of the prettiest villages in England The UNESCO Bergen Harbour with colourful wooden buildings

5. Use free photo editing apps | Travel Photography Tips

The photo editing app Snapseed gives you the ability to brush over a particular area of the image and edit it, changing anything from the exposure to the saturation. This gives you a lot of creative freedom to play around with light and colour – for example you could keep the subject (you) in colour and desaturate the rest of the image.
VSCO allows you to add filters to the image (in a similar way to Instagram) with an additional shop containing presets to enhance your personal style, be it moody and underexposed/bright and clean/rich and vibrant. You can also copy and paste your edit onto another photo, which is handy if you enjoy curating your Instagram feed.

Related: Briksdal Glacier excursion from Olden, Norway

Quirky image of hat on Stonehenge

  1. The rule of thirds
  2. Tell a story / context
  3. The golden hour
  4. Patience with crowds
  5. Use photo editing apps

Of course these tips are just helpful reminders when taking and editing photos – not every shot is going to follow these ‘rules’ – it’s more important to let your personality and creativity shine through as that’s not only your USP, but also what you’ll find most enjoyable in the long run .

Featured photo locations in order of appearance: Castle Combe (England), Venice (Italy), Mediterranean Sea, Victorian Tea Rooms (Abergavenny, Wales), Saint Paul de Vence (France), Bath (England), Santorini (Greece), Corfu (Greece), Venice (Italy), Mondsee (Austria), Castle Combe (England), Bergen (Norway) and Stonehenge (England).


  1. These are super useful tips – especially how to line up food photography as I don’t think I’ve being doing that quite right. Looking forward to testing these out!

  2. I needed this blog post. I am not a natural when it comes to photography. I’m a point and press kind of girl. However, I really have started to enjoy attempting to be more creative and that is thanks to you, your skills, your patience and your end results. I love to travel with my family as much as time and money allow and always wish to capture this time and location. Thank you for your 5 tips, they will be my bible. Will you follow up with tips 5-10 soon? Tee hee. Your photos are so creative and so aesthetically pleasing. Amen! xx

    • Thanks so much Claire, I’m glad you’ve found these tips helpful and hope they serve you well – I really do think having fun with it is key, I’m guilty of being a perfectionist sometimes which can actually stifle your creativity.

  3. I’ve not been the biggest enthusiast when it’s come to mastering photography for social media or my blog but I can appreciate really good creative and photography skills and tips like yours. I’ll definitely experiment with the rule of third tips you were giving out for portrait, landscape and food photos. Also with facing away from the camera and heading towards the scene to tell a story, which is very true thinking about it. Love the look of your blog and appreciate you sharing Jamie!

    Johnny | Johnny’s Traventures

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