travel pictures

7 Travel Photography Mistakes to Avoid

With the boom of smartphones equipped with cameras, the amount of pictures we take has sky-rocketed. According to statistics, in 2013 alone we took 664.6 billion photos and the compound annual growth rate is at about 16.2%. Taking so many pictures means that not all of them will be good, but don’t worry, you can still take jaw-dropping pictures if you avoid these 7 pitfalls.

1. Avoid Bringing Excessive Equipment

Carrying too much unnecessary equipment can actually distract you. Walking about with all your gear can be tiring and you may waste time and energy trying to protect it from the elements, or finding it at the bottom of your bag buried deep under other belongings. This won’t help you capture that perfect picture when the time is right. On the other hand, having a small camera in your pocket or on your phone will help you always be prepared to shoot.


2. Avoid the Idea that You Must Have the Best Equipment

Many feel that the equipment will make their pictures automagically, but this is not true. Learn to take pictures before you buy the equipment. The camera on your phone will allow you to practice until you see what style of photo you like and what equipment you need for that. For example, you may discover that you particularly like taking close shots of nature, like dewdrops on a cobweb. In that case all you may need is a set of lenses for your smartphone instead of an expensive camera with many different lenses.


3. Avoid Taking the Picture that Everybody Takes

If you go to Pisa, you will find that everybody is taking a shot of the leaning tower. Fair enough, take it, but try to do so from a different perspective, maybe change the lighting, or find something that makes your photo original. It may help to do research at home before hand and see what pictures people have taken of that landmark in the past. This could fuel your imagination.


Read also: How to Make Money as a Travel Photographer

4. Avoid Taking Pictures When the Sun Is at its Highest

Saying that light is of paramount importance when it comes to take photos is an understatement. Around sunset and sunrise are probably the best times to take pictures if you want an atmospheric shot. Lighting is at its most magical around this time. On the other hand, if you take photos in the middle of the day, you may get harsh contrasts and sharp shadows which are anything but flattering – even for a building! Again research prior to the trip can help you discover when the best time to take pictures at specific locations is.


5. Avoid Thinking a Real Photo Is Not Edited

No camera can equal the perspective of your eyes. Imagine that you are looking at a mountain. Every time you focus your eye on a different part of the mountain, your eye captures its beauty by changing the parameters of our “lenses”. A camera, however, will only capture one instance. By editing you can allow the spectator to see things as if he or she was there and focus in on the part you want them to notice. Also you may find that by enhancing the contrast and saturation levels, the picture taken may look even better than the original.


6. Be Patient

Often your instinct tells you that you are in the right place to take the best picture; you take it and it doesn’t look that great; and then you move on. No, don’t do that. It may be that you have to take it again from a different perspective. Sometimes you may have to wait until there are no people in the shot. Or you may have to wait for the right hour in the day and take a picture with different light. Don’t be impatient, wait and you will reap the benefits.


7. Avoid Taking Photos from Lookout Points, Just Because

Who and what determines a lookout point? Some lookout points are truly amazing places to take a photo, but others are just convenient places to park and taking shots there is one of travel photography mistakes. So when you get to a lookout point, study if it is worthy taking a picture from there or if there is a nearby location that could give you a better perspective. Again, remember the time of the day, and be patient.


Above all, avoid being obsessed with taking photos forgetting about enjoying your trip. Take out your EU residents travel insurance, make sure it covers your camera and valuable gadgets and go enjoy seeing the world both with your own eyes and through the camera.

To take great shots, you don’t need to be an expert, however, keep on practicing and you will soon be able to take great photos. Say “cheese”!