Traveling as a blogger makes you see the world with a different perspective. Instead of simply sightseeing when I travel, I also have to think about how to capture what I’m seeing in an engaging “Instagram-worthy” way that will inspire my followers and fellow digital nomads.

Doing this can be more challenging than expected.

Before I started traveling I thought all my travel photos would naturally have the “WOW” factor simply because I was showing these amazing destinations. Unfortunately, capturing these amazing destinations can be a little challenging. What you see through your eyes is a little different than what your camera captures. This is why you need to be creative when taking travel photos. YOU need to give your travel photos the WOW factor so you don’t end up with the same basic photos as everyone else.

The following photography tips are things I have learned firsthand from my travels – through much trial and error. Follow these and you will soon be taking Instagram-worthy travel photos!

Tips for taking Instagram-worthy travel photos

1. Get a decent travel camera – Kinda obvious, but often overlooked. I’ve learned that although your iPhone takes decent photos, they will never measure up to having a good travel camera. Your iPhone’s camera is unreliable in harsh lightning situation which you’ll constantly encounter while traveling. Middle of the day shots become an over-exposed mess, as do photos in low-lit spaces. I use the Olympus Pen E-PL8 for all my travel photography. It’s a game changer!

2. Use your camera on manual – Using your travel camera on manual can seem daunting at first, but it’s actually really easy!

Get familiar with your camera’s settings and just go for it. Don’t try to become an expert on f.stop, ISO, and aperture before trying your camera on manual mode or you will never try it. Trust me, it’s confusing as hell trying to memorize what each thing means and how it works. The only way to make sense of these is by playing around with them. This is also where choosing a good travel camera comes into play.

The Olympus Pen E-PL8 makes using manual settings way easier! I usually just leave my ISO on ‘low’ unless I’m shooting indoors. Then I play with the f.stop and shutter speed to give my photos the look and lighting I want. Using your camera on manual allows you to have full control of how your photos will turn out. It is essential for Instagram-worthy travel photos.

3. Find a new perspective – You don’t want to have the same basic photo of the same iconic building as everyone else, do you? In order for your photos to have that ‘WOW’ factor you need to think ‘WOW.’ Instead of shooting the Eiffel Tower straight on try getting down low and pointing your camera up.

Find a rooftop with a great view and shoot the Eiffel Tower from above. Find a flower bush and put that in your foreground. Think creatively and differently than every. other. tourist. You can even use things you have on you as props, like your sunglasses, to give your photos a new perspective. Unique perspectives make better Instagram-worthy travel photos.

4. Shoot the subject in its best light – The right lighting can really make or break a photo.

When possible, try to shoot your subject in its best possible light. Figure out the best time of day to shoot for your destination. Are you at a tropical beach? What would make a more ‘wow’ photo – a mid-day shot with harsh lighting or shooting closer to sunset when the light is softer? Usually, shooting during “Golden Hour” makes the best photos. This means shooting either really early in the morning around sunrise or in the evening around sunset. At these times the light is much softer and will give your photos a dreamy feel without trying too hard. The best Instagram-worthy travel photos are shot with the right lighting.

5. Get in the photo! – People like people. Having a person or even just part of a person in your photo gives it life. Try sharing these photography tips with your travel partner and have them take a photo with you in it. People want something they can connect with, and people are best for this. I’ve noticed that the photos that do best for me are the ones that have me in it. Usually when traveling, I want the focus to be on the destination, so I will “look out” at the landmark to direct the viewer’s eyes in its direction. If you don’t have someone to take a photo of you, try simply putting a part of your body in the photo. Hold out your hand while holding a coconut at a tropical beach or include your legs when stepping in the ocean. You’ll be surprised how much better your photos do when there’s something human in them.

Well, there you have it. I hope these simple travel photography tips were useful! Try them out next time you travel and I’m sure you’ll get some great Instagram-worthy travel photos!

Do you have any other travel photography tips? Let me know in the comments below!

xx, Karen

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About the Author

Karen Delgado

Karen was born in Lima, Peru, but grew up in Palm Springs, California. She started her travel journey in 2016 with an around-the-world trip that took her through Europe, SE Asia, and Australia. Since then she has created a lifestyle of travel, and splits her time between NYC (her current home base), LA, Barcelona, and Lima. She loves all things wellness, travel, and entrepreneurial, and is always working on new projects while exploring the world.

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