Travel photography is one of the most exciting forms of picture taking; it evokes images of exotic, far-away places and distant lands, enough to thrill any budding photographer.
But how should you approach photographing a new destination? How can you capture images that stand the test of time?
In this article, I share 10 travel photography ideas – that are guaranteed to get your creative juices flowing. So whether you’re headed to a gorgeous city or a stunning island, keep reading. You’re bound to find an idea or two that’ll kickstart your photos!
1. Photograph the city from a rooftop
Cities are a great place to get started with travel photography, as the scenes and lighting are so varied. Plus, when visiting cities, you will find no shortage of incredible views!
For the most majestic city photos, don’t shoot from the ground; instead, shoot from a roof, which will let you capture the city as a whole, and will present a stunning perspective at any time of day.
How can you find accessible rooftops to shoot from? Before arriving at your destination, do some quick Googling. Some famous landmarks offer roof access, as do plenty of bars, restaurants, and parking garages. Some buildings even feature observation decks, which offer mesmerizing views from dizzying heights and will leave you feeling in awe of your wonderful location.
2. Photograph the place you’re staying
Did you know that one of the best travel photography ideas is to simply take images of where you’re staying? It might sound silly, but trust me; once you start looking for photos, you’ll find plenty of opportunities in your accommodations, whether it’s a bed and breakfast or a hotel.
You can photograph the different rooms, the outside of the building, and the doorways and entrances. You might even consider photographing other people staying in the same location (or if no one is available, you can do some self-portraits that capture both you and your accommodations). It’s a great way to hone your travel photography skills and capture memories of your travels.
3. Shoot an unfamiliar street scene
If you’re a beginner travel photographer, one of the easiest ways to introduce yourself to the genre is by capturing an image of an unfamiliar street. That way, you have some fun exploring – and you can record the essence of your destination.
So the next time you’re visiting a town or a city, take your camera with you, walk the streets, and find a beautiful street scene. Try to include interesting elements, such as stunning architecture, eye-catching streetlights, essential landmarks, and people wandering about.
4. Capture an image of the city streets at night
If you find yourself in a city at night, then I highly recommend you head out with your camera (though be sure to stay safe, of course!). You can capture stunning images of the city streets when the skies are dark and the buildings are illuminated by streetlights and windows.
The combination of structures and street lights can be dazzling. Use the contrast between the light and the shape of the buildings to make your city street images stand out.
5. Shoot from a hilltop
If you’re visiting a rural area or a natural location, you’ll find that some of the best scenic overlooks are at the summit of a hill. (You can use this trick in certain cities, too; just head to an area with the highest elevation!)
Take a walk or two around your location, looking for hills, mountains, and cliffs. Then head to the top and capture the surroundings from your elevated position! Although the hike might be challenging, you’ll be rewarded for your efforts with a tremendous view – plus, shooting from a bird’s-eye perspective is a great way to capture unique travel photos.
6. Shoot from the ground
While you can capture majestic natural and urban views from the summit of a hill or rooftop…
…sometimes it’s best to stay at ground level, just walking with your camera and enjoying the scenery. After all, ground-level photos do provide a more intimate perspective of your destination, plus they reflect how most vacation-goers experience the area.
And if you do shoot from the ground, you’ll still find some of the best views, including striking landscapes and architectural delights. You’ll also encounter street scenes filled with cars, buildings, lights, and life that changes constantly as people go about their day. Be patient and capture each scene as it unfolds!
7. Capture your travels on a local adventure
Do you want to do travel photography, but you’re not currently able to visit far-flung corners of the globe? That’s totally okay – because you can always find plenty of travel subjects right where you live.
You see, travel photography isn’t just about capturing exotic locations. It’s also about exploring and approaching subjects with a fresh perspective, which you can do from just outside your house! (Plus, heading out with a camera will help you practice and improve your skills, which is always a bonus!)
So head out in a car, on a bike, or on foot. Capture the surrounding countryside, or go into the nearest city for urban scenes. Visit your local park and capture the scenery, visit a nearby zoo and photograph the residents, or take some images of your hometown.
Sure, your shots might not be exotic, but they can still be beautiful. And you’ll develop your sense of camera settings, light, and composition without spending thousands of dollars traveling to the other side of the world.
8. Capture a panorama
Panoramas are unique, they’re breathtaking, and they’re a great way to capture all of the landscape – so why not take one (or a few) when out traveling?
In fact, capturing a panorama is surprisingly easy. It doesn’t require expensive camera equipment, and you can even get great results with your mobile phone! Simply find your phone’s “Panorama” mode, rotate as instructed, and appreciate your gorgeous final product.
Of course, you don’t need to shoot panoramas everywhere. Reserve them for wide scenes that go beyond the standard horizontal image size.
9. Take a walk in nature
Sometimes when you are traveling to built-up cities, the urban sprawl can be quite chaotic and overwhelming. So a great way to get your creative juices flowing and find inspiration for your travel photography is to go for a walk or hike in nature.
It may take time to get to a good location, particularly if you’re staying in an urban district, but it’s generally worth it; it’ll make you feel refreshed, and when you’re done, you’ll be ready to tackle urban travel photography once again.
Also, feel free to bring your camera on your natural excursion! You’ll find many things to photograph, from birds and animals to flowers and foliage. And there’s a bonus: the health benefits that come from spending time in the great outdoors.
10. Get lost
Guidebooks are an easy way to familiarize yourself with a new area. But sometimes, the best way to find great travel photos is to simply…get lost.
Wandering in an unfamiliar place heightens the senses and can give you so much more creative freedom in your travel photos. I’ve found that getting lost leads to unexpected places that I may not have found if I had spent all my time following the guidebook and its recommendations.
So take your time, get lost, and enjoy the experience. You never know where you might end up and what you might find to photograph on your journey!
Travel photography ideas: final words
Now that you’ve finished this article, you should have a few travel photography ideas to keep you inspired when out shooting.
Capturing beautiful travel photography doesn’t have to be hard. Simply remember the ideas I’ve shared, have fun, and enjoy your adventures!
Now over to you:
Which of these ideas for travel photography will you use? Do you have any ideas that I didn’t mention? Share your thoughts in the comments below!