Travel Photography Tips and Opportunities

Last Updated: June 18, 2018

Preparing for your next adventure? Pause your packing to comb through these travel photography tips from the Costco Photo Centre. When you return from your vacation with photos worthy of global recognition—you’ll be glad you did.

A few tips before we dive in:

  • Take your time. When taking travel photos, examine the scene to find the right vantage points. Slowing down for one or two great shots will save you the time of deleting 10–15 mediocre ones.

  • Don’t be shy. You’ve waited patiently for this trip, and it will be over before you know it. So get out of your comfort zone to find perspectives you love.

  • Limit the selfies. Whenever possible, recruit a fellow traveller or bring a tripod to photograph yourself in the scene. The photos will turn out significantly better without your outstretched arm in prime view.

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s take a look at five key travel photo opportunities that you should squeeze into your itinerary!

1. The Layered Landscape

Every travel destination worth its name will have opportunities for stunning landscape photography. To capture them at their best, put these key landscape photography secrets to use:

  • Time it right—The golden hour (sunrise and sunset, when the sun is low in the sky) casts the most gorgeous light. It reveals stunning colours—far more intricate than you’ll find midday.
  • Create layers—Landscape photos that lack a focal point often look flat. Move yourself around to find a vantage point that provides foreground, middle ground and background interest to give the viewer something compelling.

2. The Street Market

Why do we travel? To fulfill our wanderlust by experiencing cultures other than our own. The best place to find that authentic culture on display? Street markets, festivals, parks—where locals congregate. Although they may be densely packed, they’re full of life. Candid street photography allows you to capture the routine rituals of the culture, be it a chaotic hustle or a series of serene interactions.

Photographs of landmarks capture a sight to see. Photographs of cultural intersections tell a story.Travel photography ideas,culture and food photos CA1

3. The Rainy Day

A rainy forecast is no reason to put the camera away. Fresh rain gives nature enhanced vibrancy and ethereal dew, and overcast skies can benefit your photos by providing softer light and interesting, textured clouds.

Without harsh sun rays or bright over-exposure, rainy days are ideal for photographing cool portraits—up close and personal or from a distance as your travel companion explores a scene of grand scale.

4. The View of the Top

Eye level is an excellent starting point for your travel photography. Then, let your intuition guide your lens to angles unexplored. As you meander through an old city by foot or open-top bus, you might discover that the most striking architecture can be seen only from beneath.

Point your camera up to capture the painted underside of an archway, or the sculpted ornamentation atop tall columns. Let the sky occupy one or two thirds of the frame for balance.Travel photography ideas, architecture photos CA1

5. The People

Human elements make travel pictures more memorable and interesting. The person in the place—whether it’s you or a local—is what makes your photo different from all the other photos at that location. Their presence changes the story.

Photograph the sailor and his wife on the Copenhagen pier, or the artist selling his work on the street in Salvador. Watch for these opportunities to interact and connect with people during your trip, even if just for a few minutes.

No matter where you jet off to, keep your eyes open for unexpected opportunities. Get lost for a day—it’ll be the most memorable one. Bring your camera to every destination because these are moments you’ll wish would last forever.

Sift through your photos when you come home and print something beautiful—whether it’s custom wall décor for your home, a photo book for your adventure companion, or a printed keepsake to keep those international vacation memories close to your heart.


costco-travel-logo (1) Booking your trip? First stop: Costco Travel, where you'll find everyday savings on vacation packages, cruises, rental cars and more – exclusively for Costco members.

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