For almost every traveler these days, the camera is an integral part of the journey. Taking photographs seems to have become the most preferred and colorful means to capture and preserve memories. A single click holds the potential to bring a smile to your face after many years. However, while the requisite for this experience might seem as simple as remembering to pack the camera and other support gear (which might be quite a handful if you own a DSLR), here are a few practical tips to take better pictures on travel

travel photography tips techniques

This photo, “Travel to Mensu glacier” @Flickr from
zabaraorg made available under an Attribution license

a) Don’t forget the main essentials

This ought to be the first basic instruction and deservingly so. Don’t forget the little things! Items like an extra battery, charger, cleaning accessories, additional memory cards – it is near fatal to not have checked twice for their presence while packing. Many breath-taking moments were missed being captured due to the want of a new memory card or lack of charge in the camera.

b) Think outside the postcard

The usual family group photographs in front of famous landmarks are okay.  However, it helps to think outside the box. Don’t keep clicking what might already be available on thousands of postcards. Be different. Take action shots of your kids playing the local game or your husband’s expression after eating Sushi for the first time. Those are the pictures you’ll cherish many years later and defines your own personalized travel story.

children playing together outside

c) Think local

Do your homework before going to a place. Enquire around. Chances are there might be a few spots with a native flavour that don’t usually make it to the tourist itinerary but are breath-taking places nevertheless. More than the standard landmarks, it is the colourful markets, people sitting in the cafes, the street vendors, children playing that make for interesting themes. Try to capture the local spirit of a place in your photos.

Angkor wat temple-breathtaking picture

This photo, “Angkor, Bayon” @Flickr from Arian Zwegers
made available under an Attribution license

d) Be sensitive and ask for permission

It is surprising how many overlook this simple rule or rather, etiquette. If you are planning to take a snapshot of people you don’t know, always remember to ask for their permission first; whether they are okay being clicked. This is even more important in the case of women and children. After all, what is the worst that could happen? If you wear a pleasant face and are polite in your approach, chances are you will not be refused. Also, take some time to read up on the cultural norms of a place. For e.g., certain mountain tribes believe that taking photos steals their souls

lalibela ethiopia churches

This photo, “Lalibela, Ethiopia – Man in saffron robe 2” @Flickr
from mexikids made available under a Share Alike, Attribution license

e) Take notes

This is another simple step that can be really useful from a long term perspective. While a camera can capture the moment, it cannot record your feelings and thoughts at that moment. How did you feel at that place? What did the scene elicit in you – Excitement? Nostalgia? It helps to carry a small notebook around and note down a few words along with the image number. Some cameras also allow you to dictate a short speech over your photo.