For when France seems too far away. Shop for inspiring images of France and discover travel tips, packing advice, recipes, book reviews and more.
For when France seems too far away. Shop for inspiring images of France and discover travel tips, packing advice, recipes, book reviews and more.

Seven Tips For Taking Great Travel Photos

Scott taken by Carla Coulson

It is safe to say that Scott takes the majority of the photographs that we share here on Distant Francophile. He has been a keen hobby photographer for a long time now and has learnt a lot – through both formal and informal learning – on how to take a great photo.

Scott is also a excellent teacher.  With Scott’s help, my own photography skills have improved markedly over time, so much so that a number of the shots you see on the blog and on our Instagram account were actually taken by me.

That fact got me thinking. If Scott could teach me to take a decent shot, he could probably help others out too. Everyone wants to take fabulous holiday photographs!

So with that in mind, I asked Scott to write up his best tips for taking great travel photos – which he very kindly did.

Scott’s top seven tips for great travel shots (regardless of the camera you are using).

  1. Watch out for objects in the background. It doesn’t matter if you are taking a selfie, a photo of a friend or a shot of a landscape, watch out for things behind the subject. There’s nothing worse than having a tv antenna or electricity pole appearing out of someone’s head – moving even a step or two can help avoid this issue.
  2. The sun causes shadows. While this isn’t exactly news, shadows occur in almost all conditions and can leave you with photos that are partially lit, and partially shaded, or your subject totally backlit and in deep shadow. If you can, try to take photos with the sun behind you, or have the sun directly behind your subject, blocking it from your view (you might need to practice this second option).
  3. While on the topic of shadows, people in full sun can be difficult subjects. High sun (or other light) can cause shadows under the chin, and eyes, while lower side light can cause uneven shadows across cheeks and noses. Moving your subject under a tree or a verandah (even a little) will soften the light, and give you a much better result.
  4. Give your subject some space. If you take notice of photos that stand out, or are well recognised, most of them will have space around the subject. No one likes being crammed in a corner, so try to avoid doing it with your photos! For planes, trains, cars and other moving objects, it is the same thing – give them somewhere to travel to.
  5. When taking photos for Instagram, remember it’s a square format, so some of your photo will get cropped. If you’re using an iPhone or iPad, set the camera to square, so there’s no problems with cropping.
  6. If you are visiting a favourite destination on your holidays, look for published photos, or photos on-line for ideas of what works (and what doesn’t). While it might seem less than creative to get the same photo that someone else has, remember it will be your photo, from an angle that works.
  7. Practice and experiment. Try taking photos of all sorts of things to get an idea of what works for you, you might find yourself looking for different angles and composition than you have previously when ‘just taking a photo’.

Do you have any other great travel photography tips? If so, we’d love for you to share them in the comments below.

Until next time – au revoir.


The gorgeous photo of Scott was taken by the fabulous Carla Coulson.

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