We’ve all been seeing those Instagram travel bloggers who have very inspiring Instagram travel feeds, where every photo could make us say, “Wow!” and they often make us wonder how to take travel photos like that. In fact, some of them are just effortlessly killing it! They could snap the best photos in a destination and could confidently pose in so many angles. On top of that, their photos from different destinations naturally just blend together on their Instagram feeds!
Before, I myself also used to wonder how these women could do it. It came to a point when I tried studying the technical aspects of photography. But eventually, I realized the answer is simple: you are free to create your own rules. It’s your Instagram feed, anyway!
To learn more about taking THAT perfect Instagram travel photo, I consulted the experts. I have interviewed 18 influential women travelers on Instagram who have been inspiring others to visit breathtaking destinations and to master the art of travel photography. Sure, they have different sub-niches and personal brands, but as you read through their pieces of advice, you will realize it will always boil down to the basics.
1. Yes, photos are still, but it’s possible to add some movements to your photos.
My number one tip is understanding composition & how to add movement to a photo. You don’t need an expensive camera to take great shots! Play with composition and add elements and movement to your photos to make it more interesting and dynamic — e.g. play with architecture lines to lead to the eye to your subject, place objects in the foreground to add depth to your photo, take a photo turning your head to add hair movement, etc.Catarina (@professionaltraveler)
2. It’s very important to do your research before going to destinations.
My advice on taking the perfect travel photo:Mrs. Bee (@travel_wander_dreamer)
(1) Google the place properly, pay special attention to Pinterest. There are always travel blogs that will help you find out all the details needed about the place, such as when is the place less crowded or if the place has certain dress code, or even if it is allowed to use a professional camera at all. For instance, on my last trip to Tulum, one famous Instagram spot did not allow me to enter with my camera and even asked money for it.
(2) Make sure to match or contrast the place with your outfit. If you’re a girl, then a long chiffon dress or skirt always gives a special effect on the shot.
(3) The most important thing is to be spontaneous and friendly with the camera. Nobody wants to look at fake smiles and stiffed shots. Relax and be natural. The camera is your friend, not your enemy.
3. The time of the day matters in taking the perfect photo.
My number one tip for taking the perfect Instagram travel photo would be to mind the hour and weather! Usually the light is harsh and not too flattering around noontime to 2PM, and the place can look totally different from sunrise to sunset.Melanie (@melanily)
Another great tip would be to bring a tripod if you want to remove people around you with Photoshop (by overlaying pictures)! It makes the place look more magical.
4. Authenticity produces imperfectly perfect photos.
My tip for taking the perfect Instagram travel photo is not to think there is a perfect Instagram photo. Sure, you can find the right spot to suit your aesthetic and you can get your angles just right and dress to the nines but often it’s the imperfections that are more appealing to people. I like to take pretty photos and share them but find the ones that get the biggest response are the ones that people can relate to more. Don’t stress about perfection. Enjoy the moment and the photos will look better.Hallie Bradley (@thesoulofseoulblog)
5. Explore unusual angles in popular destinations.
I would say the perfect travel picture is not the one you see a thousand times on social media. We all know the blue churches in Santorini and the colorful buildings in Havana. Nowadays, I think it’s important to focus on a new perspective, something your follower hasn’t maybe seen before.Serena (@serenastravel)
So my top tips would be: (1) get creative and focus on unusual/unique angles, (2) try to shoot in the morning or late afternoon for the best lighting, and (3) be yourself, try to show your personality in your pictures by adding your signature style — whether it’s your outfit, poses, editing styles, etc.
6. Your photos should tell stories.
I think one of the biggest secrets to taking amazing travel photos is to think of everything as a story! Consider the emotions you felt from the scene and think about how you can relay those back to the viewer. If you want to be the focus of the photo, turn and face the camera! People nowadays love having that feeling of human connection on Instagram – your back facing the camera doesn’t allow for that as much!Dani Rodriguez (@dani_the_explorer)
7. If you’re a solo traveler, tripod and Bluetooth remote are your bestfriends.
As an avid solo traveler, I don’t go on any trip without my trusty travel tipod and HiSY Bluetooth remote to help me snap the perfect Insta pic no matter where I am. While I don’t recommend using a tripod for EVERY Instagram photo, it can really help bring a new perspective to your photos as well as give you more freedom if you’re traveling solo or you want to set up a killer shot at an exact angle. You can always rely on a tripod to get the composotion / photo you’re looking for without any human error!Brit (@life.of.brit)
8. What you wear in your photos matter.
I have three very important advice for taking photos like mine. First and foremost, planning your outfit is crucial. I advise that you do some research on the photo spots you’ll visit during your trip and plan your wardrobe based on the colors, atmosphere and thematic feeling of the places. I myself, love long and wavy dresses. Dresses do in fact suit almost any scenery. However, colorways and dress styles are still important. I like to have a dress where the main color has a rather high contrast to the main color of the surrounding. Although, if the dress has any patterns, then those should preferably match something in the surrounding. This typically proves challenging if you plan to visit several photo spots during the same day. My best advice, and what I myself do, is actually bringing 3-5 dresses, rolled up in your backpack. Since I prefer taking photos in dresses, late spring, summer and autumn naturally becomes my favorite times of the year to create Instagram content.Ice Chairat (@icechairat)
This is the brightest and most light-intensive time of the year, so either mornings or afternoons are best for photo shoots. I typically opt for early mornings, 5 o’ clock is my recommendation as barely anyone else is awake. Your chances of taking really great pictures with barely no other people in the background increases dramatically. I also try to create a few color themes during these seasons, try creating a small portfolio of each of the following colors: white, green, orange, blue and violet. This will allow you to have something interesting and relevant to post all year round. I typically also use very interesting backgrounds in my photos, intriguing city landscapes, historical monuments or breathtakingly beautiful nature are what you want to look for. Couple a few of your most unique photos with a few photos of your everyday surroundings to have something engaging to post every day.
9. Know thyself!
On top of enjoying your photo shoot sessions and showing authenticity and personality in your photos, it is important to know yourself — including your brand, your preferences, and even your limitations. Do you want your audience to focus on the scenery or you? Do you keep a vibrant or moody Instagram feed? What personality types do your followers know you for? Basically asking questions like these can hep you determine how to nail that perfect shot for your Instagram travel feed!Sherlyn (@wheressherlyn)
10. Showing some element of personality in your photos could step up your Instagram game.
Yes! The quality of your Instagram photos matter. The bar has been raised, which means there isn’t any room to half step. You must bring your “A” game or risk getting lost in the crowd, but that’s a given. Question – What does that clear, focused photo say about you and/or your brand?Santeka (@santinisocialite)
Santini Socialite inspires people to “boldly shake things up” in travel, eats, bevvies, and “E” for all of the above. So it’s important for my personality to shine through my work. I strive for photos that embody a mood and exude a vibrancy while telling a story. My goal is to produce work that empowers people to get out there and shake things up in their own lives!
Simply put, my number one tip in taking the perfect Instagram travel photo is HAVE FUN! I love a good action shot that shows tons of personality. Besides, what’s the point if you’re not having a little fun?!
11. Just click away because candid shots could sometimes be your best photo.
Once you’ve found the spot to snap your photo from and have gauged your preferred lighting, proceed with taking as many shots as you can and from various angles. Sometimes, the prettiest and most authentic photos are candid ones with, for example, a bird flying or a yellow cab passing by. The same goes for when you’re the subject of the photo, with every photo taken the light might hit differently and your expressions too, may change. So, if the opportunity permits, take your time to relax into the frame, don’t overthink or be be too critical, enjoy the moment and take as many photos to capture the moment/memory, and find that “perfect Instagram travel photo.Kace (@travelingsuitkace)
12. Be aware of your surroundings and be patient! The best photo takes a lot of hard work.
My number one tip in taking the perfect Instagram travel photo is patience. Often, when taking a picture, there will be a lot of other tourists around taking pictures or just enjoying the sites. As such, taking the perfect ‘gram shot will often take multiple tries and a lot of waiting around for when crowds and individuals move out of your frame. However, don’t be afraid to politely ask someone to move so you can take your shot. Nowadays, many people are very conscious about people taking pictures and most are more than happy to move a bit so you can take your picture. But remember to always thank them afterwards.Samantha Staynings (@samanthastaynings)
Follow Samantha at Instagram account @samanthastaynings
13. Match the color palette of the photo with the mood you want to project.
Add more depth including layers and different perspectives, so that people can have a quick look but also be curios to look better at your pictures to capture every detail. Try to use editing to enhance the storytelling and the feelings you were experiencing during the shot. It was a colourful and joyful moment? Do not flatten colors with the same tones, but keep them vibrant. Was a relaxing and peaceful one? Use the lights/shadows to enhance the majestic natural scenery and transmit the same serenity feeling to your follower. And always tell a story behind. Do not shoot just to post another image on your insta-feed!Linda Covino (@lineccepibile)
14. After taking the perfect shot, how you edit the photos is also important.
You need to bring a lot of patience with you. If possible, try to visit your place of interest right after sunrise or during the golden hour time. Try to imagine, what your shot should look like and wear a matching outfit (for example a red dress when posing in green rice fields). Editing is also very important for a perfect IG shot – my favorite apps are Lightroom, Quickshot and Retouch.Mella (@whereismella)
Follow Mella at Instagram account @whereismella
15. It is important to feel inspired and love what you’re doing.
The most important advice is to do everything with inspiration. The best photos are those with a soul. And always take all the equipment with you.Kristina Makeeva (@hobopeeba)
16. As a solo traveler, you should develop the skill to nicely ask strangers to help take photos of you.
A solo traveler trying to get the perfect picture is not easy because strangers are usually the ones who take your pictures. I have mastered the courage to tell them how to take the picture. I stand on the exact position of where to take the picture, how to hold the phone and ask them to do the exact same thing. Basically I direct the photo, I show the angle and point where I will be standing. This only works if the person has time and is patient and I also offer to take pictures if need be.Tatiana (@piecesoftati)
Follow Tatiana at Instagram account @piecesoftati
17. Planning every detail of your trip makes room for perfection.
Take your time! If you really, really want to take ‘perfect’ pictures, there’s some planning involved. Visit when there are less people (sunrise), take your tripod (strangers take weird pictures) and think about your perfect shot! Sometimes it takes a couple tries before you have a photo you are very happy with. As for posing, our biggest tip is: be natural. Movement helps to feel and look natural: twirl, walk, dance; don’t just smile in the camera. And that’s it!Roxanne and Maartje (@onceuponajrny)
18. You should make your viewers feel the same emotions you were feeling in the photo.
To me a perfect Instagram travel photo is a picture that tells a story, that makes you feel something. It isn’t necessarily the picture perfect image of a touristic place early in the morning with almost no other people around. It is a picture that shows a location through the photographer’s eyes. So always try to capture the moment like you see it, try to make people who see your picture, feel the same way you did when you took that picture. Put your soul into it, and don’t just do it ‘for the gram’. Do it for YOU, because YOU love it.Sarah (@sarahinfullswing)
Follow Sarah at Instagram account @sarahinfullswing
So, are you ready to take your feeds to the next level like these Instagram Travel Bloggers?
There you have it! Do you also want to get featured in posts like this? Just send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy travels!