Top 5 tips that will take your travel photos to the next level

Have you ever thought that your travel photos would be better if you had more expensive, high-end camera or lenses? Your equipment doesn’t make the photo. The tips below may seem like the most obvious advice you’ve ever read. But for some strange reason, a lot of my friends believe that everything revolves around the equipment they have. Nothing is further from the truth. Let me share with you the tips of subtle editing and how to create “insta-worthy” photos from your phone or just a pocket camera.

Tip #1: Editing Whites and Blacks – Adjust the white and black points of your photo to avoid “flatness”.

I use Lightroom to adjust the white and black points of my photo in lieu of contrast or exposure (You can also adjust using “black point” tool on the iPhone).

White & Black Vs. Shadows & Highlights

White and Black points are different from shadows and highlights. The Whites and Blacks adjustment tools control the very brightest and very darkest parts of your image. We can think of highlights as the brightest points in an image where you can still find details of your photo, which means your photo is not washed out to completely white. Similarly, shadows are the darker areas of your photo where you can still see most details without being a pitch black image.

It helps to think of blacks is tied with shadows. The highlight tool will not adjust the white point of your photo, the shadow tool will not adjust the black point. So I usually set my black and white points first, then use the shadows and highlight adjustment tool to control the range the brightness of points that are too dark or too bright.

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Tip #2: Editing Shadows & Highlights – Adjust shadows and tone down the highlights for better balance.

All photo editing apps should have adjustment tools for shadows and highlights. To improve the quality your photo, balance out the exposure by increasing or decreasing the shadows and reducing the highlights to increase the brightness of the darkest parts of your photo. The result is a brighter, more even-toned photo. I usually avoid increasing the brightness of my photo purely through “brightness” adjustment tool, which may result in overexposure.

For the photo below, I increase the “vibrance” a little to emphasise the colour in the photo with no filter.

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Tip #3: Rule of Thirds – Composing your photo using the Rule of Thirds.

I go by the “Rule of Thirds”. I break my photo down into thirds horizontally and vertically, so it’s split into different sections. The aim is to place key points of the photo into those sections and help frame the whole image in a way that’s appealing and more focused or less cluttered. You can use your camera’s “grid” feature, which displays a rule of thirds grid directly on your camera screen.

Before you take a photo, ask yourself: What are the key points of interest in this shot? Where should I place them on the grid? Paying attention to these details will improve the look of your photo.


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Tip #4: Viewpoints – Perspective, perspective, perspective. Let it be your mantra.

Ever heard a saying: “a picture tells a thousand words”? Perspective creates the stories. It’s easy to create flat images. Since photographs are two-dimensional, it’s your job to use the elements to add depth to your images.

Don’t be afraid to try new angles, lenses, and techniques, and have fun experimenting with ways to add a sense of perspective to your images!

Here are some examples:

Using people to create a sense of scale.  

Try different angles and avoid basic compositions.

Pick up on interesting shapes and textures 

Blend in with the people and culture, and don’t carry your huge backpack (or a fanny pack) to avoid unnecessary attention. 

Tip #5: Filters- Choosing the perfect filter that fits the narrative of your photo.

I love VSCO app. VSCO is best known for its preset filters, a similar concept to the filters on Instagram, but much more varied and easier to control. A1, A2, A8, HB1 and HB2 are my favourite filters in VSCO. I use VSCO in conjunction with Lightroom to get the best end result on my image (with a few adjustments of course).

However, the whole idea is not to over-do it. Please don’t go crazy with filters. It has to match with the story you are trying to convey through your picture. It has to flow with the tone and feel of your picture. Remember, less is more.

Example #1: 

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Example #2: 

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Example #3: 

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Bonus Tip! 

Be daring and creative. The only way to find beautiful, unexpected epic places is to simply be curious and explore. If you’re visiting a place, explore every nook and cranny of the place (Safety is a priority though!) and drive away from the tourists. Push your own boundaries to go further.is to, simply be curious and explore. If you’re visiting a place, explore every nook and cranny of the place (Safety is a priority though!) and drive away from the tourists. Push your own boundaries to go further.

 “The world is full of wonderful things you haven’t seen yet. Don’t ever give up on the chance of seeing them.” – J.K. Rowling 

Why you should get lost while travelling.

Travelling is always an exciting endeavour. It is the aim of every traveller to get the most of their trip. This is why most people tend to plan each and everything trying to cover all areas of the intended visit. Though this is highly advisable, it is at times better to just get a map and discover the area. Going to specific areas mentioned in travel guides and site tend to limit activities. In fact, some of these areas tend to be highly similar. Getting to view the culture in different areas as they are practised in real life is just one of the many benefits as to why you should get lost travelling.

There are various benefits of getting lost when travelling. However, it is very important to take note that you should always ensure that you take the necessary safety precautions. There are two main ways to ensure that you are always safe when you travel. One of them is having a full travel insurance cover and the second is to ensure that you update people on where you are. Having a satellite phone is also highly advisable when travelling to remote areas (make sure you bring your portable battery).


Benefits of getting lost when travelling 

Unexpected adventures

Travellers that choose this form of travel get the thrill of not knowing what to expect in the next destination. This makes the trip more interesting. In the case of planned trips, you will have an idea of what to expect. For adventure seekers, this is the best way to make you adrenaline flowing.

Culture in its real form

As you randomly follow your map, you get to experience how different cultures are in real life. Most of the venues labelled on travel guides and tourist destinations do not provide this experience since they are in a controlled environment. Go talk to the locals and ask where do the locals hang out or eat traditional meals. You will get to enjoy the real traditional food and drinks from authentic restaurants or eateries. Apart from that, it helps you save more money since you will not be following the common tourist trail, which usually can be rather overpriced and exploited.

Bonding with your travel companion

As mentioned above,  safety should always be the first thing to take into consideration. This is why it is advisable to always have a travel companion. When travelling as a group of friends or family, it becomes more exciting. You can even come up with simple group activities to make the trip more adventurous. Apart from that, it is an exciting way to bond with your family and get away from your busy schedule.

Creating a different kind of memories

Getting lost while travelling actually makes the best travel stories. It helps creates memories out of the norm. Apart from that, you get to relax since you do not have to follow a specific travel plan.

Build your confidence

These types of trips help build your confidence. You will be able to understand that you have the ability to surpass anything and understand your limits. You get to learn how to speak up when conversing with locals and know how to express yourself. This is the best way of learning new cultures and languages.

Forget about travel guides or tourist pamphlets. Open your google map and go with the flow.  Keep an open mind and as long as you ensure that you practice all the necessary safety precautions it always becomes a story worth telling.

7 Reasons Why Traveling Solo Should be in Your Bucket List

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Traveling is one of life’s greatest joys and it is definitely something that you should consider doing alone at least once. There will be plenty of opportunities to travel the world with family and friends, but there is something so profound about experiencing it alone. While the prospect of solo travel can be scary at first, it would be an experience worth pursuing. You would certainly not want to look back when you are in your 80s and regret not having traveled by yourself at least once.

Here are 7 great reasons to travel solo and see the world by yourself:

1. Making New Friends Along the Way

Travelling with family, friends, and/or your significant other is fun but it does limit your chances of socialising with new people because you tend to be “exclusive”. Travelling to countries by yourself allows you to make new acquaintances and even forge friendships that can transcend distances.

2. Engaging with the locals

One of the most important benefits of world travel is being able to connect with people of various cultures and practices. Being a solo traveller gives you to the chance to rub elbows with the locals and find out more about their lives and experiences. It would not only enrich your knowledge but also allow you to see your life in a slightly different perspective.

3. You are free to explore and experience any kind of adventure on a whim

Not having company means your schedule is whatever you decide it would be at any given time. Whether you suddenly decide to go hiking or just relaxing in the park, you can do so without having to plan for it. There will be no need to consult with other people whether they would be interested in your kind of activity because it is all up to you.

4. You gain deep understanding and appreciation of the places you visit

Visiting different places and being able to immerse yourself completely in the uniqueness of the culture and geography allows you to really appreciate how diverse the rest of the world is. There are fewer distractions that would take away from all your new experiences and you can stay as long as you feel like it. When I travel, I usually believe in living like the locals. Do what the locals do, eat what the locals eat.

5. It feels liberating to go to places where no one knows who you are and not accountable to anyone. 

It is a rare treat to be able to roam around where you are just another face in the crowd. You can practically disappear in the backdrop of all the places you visit and just bask in the glory of complete anonymity.

6. Alone time is healthy.

Many people do not realise that they are in co-dependent relationships, which is not at all healthy. Travelling alone gives you a chance to be independent and find out that you can, in fact, do things on your own and perhaps even become a better person because of it. You will realise that you can and will have fun on your own, and it is not something to feel guilty about.

7. Distance makes you appreciate all the important people in your life. 

While a tad cliche, distance does make the heart grow fonder. Going away on adventures alone will give you the rare chance of missing your loved ones, and for them to miss you. Coming back home will never be sweeter when you have been away for some time and you realise just how lucky you are to have such loving and understanding people in your life. What’s more is that you can even inspire your friends and family to try solo travel as well, which would give them the same benefits you just enjoyed.

All in all, solitary travel is not for loners or anti-socials. It is for people who want to experience life’s wonders at its best, sans the distractions of schedules and other constraints. It is a liberating and enriching experience that everyone should do at least once, if not more. Try it!