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How to Take Great Photos While On Tour

I had the chance to experience my very first European Contiki tour last September and I had a blast! As a photographer, the big challenge for me is to take good photos while enjoying the tour.

Today I’m going to share some of my best tips for getting simple but great travel photos. Using these tips will help improve your techniques that will not only give you amazing memories but will also wow your friends back home. I promise it’s not really as hard as you think as long as you just try shooting things a bit differently.

Just think that it really doesn’t matter what camera you have.  You are the one in command and your camera is just a tool.  Learn how to use the basic settings, and learn how to take great photos.

Now, onto the good stuff:


As we all have heard, sometimes the only difference between a mediocre photo or a great photo is composition. This is very true. Most people take a photo and they put the subject dead center. What you want to do is draw the viewer’s eye into the photo and create an image that is compelling to look at. To do this, try using the rule of thirds.

Find the light
Finding the perfect light for your photos is probably the most important feature in any kind of photography. Play around with various lighting techniques. Go shady, sunny or cloudy but the best light comes in early morning before sunrise or late afternoon before the sunset. Don’t hesitate to use your imagination!

Look for bright colors
Everybody loves  color. Find color to create dramatic and bold compositions. Make it simple. Strong primary colors like red or blue can be very  bold and intense.  Also try to experiment another shade. Subtler hues  like orange, yellow and green can also make the photos dramatic.

Beat the obvious
Do you want photos that looks the same like the others? Sometimes, the best surprises are on a totally and unexpected different path that what you initially planned. Be a keen observer and wander around.


As you walk around, don’t forget  the beauty of the small details. Whether it’s the artwork, the crafts, or flowers, keep an strong eye for them.


Find shapes
Different countries use lines, curves, and shapes in buildings and other architecture very differently. Walk around and be an observer. Look for unique buildings, fences and roads that are new to your perspective.

Black and white
Shooting in monochrome or black and white is by far the easiest way  to change the look of your photos. It can make the photo more dramatic  because it has like a journalism approach on it. The eye has less to look at and can focus on a specific element in a  photo.

Search  for contrast
Whether contrast in light tones versus dark tones, or contrast as in textures and locations, this will keep your images varied.

If you are in a low light  places choose a wide angle lens. This lens will allow you to have  more information about your subject. Most of the time I choose to bring  my wide angle lens other than any of my glasses because of its versatility.

Change your angles
We always raise the camera to eye level and shoot, that’s why we always have the same boring photos. You’ll be surpised what a different some knee bending does and shooting with different angles. If you are at a destination that has been covered multiple ways by other photographers, try and compose something unusual. The  possibilities are endless.

Take your camera everywhere
I know  you’ve heard this a thousand times. But it works for me. How many times have you  seen a completely amazing composition and hit yourself over the head because you  decided to leave your camera back in the hotel and make-do with your new  iphone5? Pack only whatever camera gear you can comfortably carry, that way you  won’t feel it’s such a chore to haul it out  everyday.

Take many photos
That’s what digital cameras for!  Never assume the first snap will be perfect. Do continuous shooting. Zoom in to  make sure your photos are sharp. Shoot while in a group, shoot while eating and  shoot while walking. Basically, just shoot.

Have fun!
I believe travel photography should always be more about the “travel” than photography. You should not pressure yourself on a mission of taking great photos. It’s all about the experience of travelling and capturing the moment through it. Photos capture what’s  in front of the lens, but also reflect whoever is behind the camera.  Relax, enjoy the trip and bring home wonderful memories.

Published in Contiki website 

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