So many of us grew up wanting to become travel photographers – exploring the world, getting amazing shots for National Geographic, and proudly displaying our work on our walls. Even if you don’t dream of becoming a professional photographer, there are some essentials to know if you want to get good shots of your travels (or in your day-to-day adventures). Let’s have a look to 10 photography tips for amateurs – and maybe these will even help you get started in a travel photography career!

1: Know Your Camera

That seems like a no-brainer, but I used to just unpack my electronics and learn as I go. Who has time for reading that manual, right? No. Knowing your equipment is the first step, and scrambling with settings or even changing out of flash made me miss incredible shots, not to mention test people’s patience.

So experiment at home, check out the website for camera tips, and look at discussions online to see if any other camera users have cheats and tips. Don’t leave your family smiling in front of that monument as you scramble to adjust the camera’s exposure. They won’t be smiling for long.

Get the Shot: Top 10 Photography Tips for Amateur Travel Photographers - Frayed Passport

Knowing your camera is the first step. Photo via Creative Commons.

2: Bring the Essentials

If you have a full kit, just bring the basics, like a lightweight tripod, memory cards, durable lenses, and a proper bag to store everything. With memory cards, I always heard bring more than you think. It’s sort of the underwear rule, but with photography.

3: Try the Rule of Thirds

One of the best photography tips: when composing a shot, split the shot into a 9×9 grid. This way you can put the subject in an interesting part of the frame. Play with depth and angle this way.

A man in Mongolia; this is an example of a rule of thirds - Get the Shot: Top 10 Tips for Amateur Travel Photographers - Frayed Passport

A man in Mongolia via Creative Commons. This is an example of a rule of thirds.

4: Take a Closer Look

Macro shots work beautifully for nature shots or at museums, get closer to your subject to get the details you saw in person. Just make sure everything is in focus before you capture it.

5: Frame Your Shot

Look at the natural scene and your subject, and highlight that subject by framing the shot with architecture or other people or the environment.

These school boys in India: a good example of using the frame shot- Get the Shot: Top 10 Tips for Amateur Travel Photographers - Frayed Passport

These school boys in India via Creative Commons is a good example of using the frame shot.

6: Take the Everyday

Look away from the landmarks and monuments and capture a shot of the everyday. Look at texture, colors, patterns in sights. Focus on architecture or homes. Look at people and culture. These shots have more of a story. (Make sure you have informed permission to take your photo first!)

Get the Shot: Top 10 Tips for Amateur Travel Photographers - Frayed Passport

Photo via Creative Commons.

7: Play with the Angle

Don’t take every photo at eye-level. Change the angle, stoop, bend, get closer. It may look funny to the outsider, but I think I get the best shots when I try to change how I look at a scene. The product speaks for itself really.

Besides, you’re there to show your experience. Take a shot that shows you were really there.

Get the Shot: Top 10 Tips for Amateur Travel Photographers - Frayed Passport

Getting the shot can sometimes mean doing a little aerobics. Photo via Creative Commons.

8: Don’t be afraid to ask

If you find an interesting subject, like a building or group or individual, don’t be afraid to ask if you can take a photo. If they say no, just be polite and move on. If they agree, take a few test shots until they’re comfortable, be courteous, and always thank them for their time.

9: Take RAW Photos

You want to be able to have the best footage, so take several shots and then edit them later. You want to be able to have the best quality to work with.

10: Write it Down

At the end of the day, take a moment to look through your album and jot a few notes about the photographs. Keep the location or the subject’s name in mind. Write what made it interesting to you. You wouldn’t want to forget anything when you get back home to share your stories.

Get the Shot: Top 10 Tips for Amateur Travel Photographers - Frayed Passport

Remember to take notes for later! Photo via Creative Commons.

What other photography tips would you recommend for amateur photographers? Post your photography tips in the Frayed Passport community!

By Georgette Eva

About the Author

Frayed Passport

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