How to get the best travel photos

You’ve booked that dream holiday, got the perfect camera to help you capture all those amazing views and now you’re ready to embark on your trip of a lifetime.

But before you go, how confident are you in getting the best photos of your trip?

We’ve all had those experiences where we’ve just missed the whale coming out of the water, or cut off a beautiful sky or missed a key landmark.

And sometimes, quite simply, the vista in the photo doesn’t look nearly as good as it looked in person.

Cameras only capture a fraction of what your eye can see, so some of the photos you see that appear to have captured amazing colours have been amplified in photoshop after the was taken.

But there are some things you can do to ensure your photos are the best the subject matter and camera can offer – even if you don’t want to go to the effort and expense of using a Digital SLR.

So before you go on your next trip, we’ve gathered some basic tips to help you get the best travel photos

Before you even start, check your camera settings. Unless you’re an avid photographer (in which case you know all this anyway and can move on to one of our other blog posts), you probably want to keep things as simple as possible.

Most cameras have automatic settings, but even simple things like setting the camera to action, portrait or scenery can help improve your images.

Don’t just point and shoot, move the camera around, seeing how the scene looks from different angles, sometimes moving slightly one way will add a tree branch or a tree, completely changing the scene in front of you for the better.

Every picture needs a hero; something that really stands out and that immediately attracts the eye. This is why photos taken from viewing platforms of mountain or valley views often disappoint in a photo compared with the real view – the image looks flat, there is nothing that stands out.

Look for a focal point – a nearby hanging tree that can frame the scene, a sign post or have someone stand in front of the view.

Think about where the light is coming from. You can’t change the angle of the sun but you can move around to make sure it’s in the best position to capture the view, or wait a few minutes for it to move through its cycle. How often have you watched a sunrise or sunset and thought this looks amazing only to have the sun move slightly and change the colours completely?

Add a person to give perspective and a human element to the image. There are times you don’t want anyone in your picture, but sometimes adding a person to a path or against a mountainous terrain can help give perspective to the image.

Don’t just assume it’s ok to take someone’s photo when you’re overseas. Would you like to have your picture taken by a complete stranger while working or simply going about your day?

Many people are fine with it, but always ask. Sometimes the “model” will expect something in return, a small tip. If the photo is worth it to you, and often they will be among your best images, it might be worth handing over a dollar or two.

Two’s a Crowd tour host and photographer Adrian Duncan once took a boat trip in Hoi An just so he could pay his subjects to be photographed for a few minutes. The photos he got made it worth the effort.

Think about heading out early to catch the morning light. The lighting at the beginning and end of the day is a lot softer so you’ll get far better results. You’ll also often have the place to yourself so can get beautiful images of iconic locations that are so often packed with tourists.

Go at sunrise and/or sunset. It goes without saying that mother nature often puts on an amazing display at these times, well worth capturing if you can.

You might have heard about the rule of thirds, basically it means picturing the image in front of you as being divided by two evenly spaced lines horizontally and vertically, thus dividing the image into nine smaller squares. Your goal is to try and place key elements within the image where these lines intersect. Also attempt to place the horizon on one of the horizontal lines (so it is about one third from the top or bottom of the frame). Don’t split the image in half, instead place key objects using the thirds to focus key components of the image.

Look up. Don’t just look at what’s in front of you, look up and around you to try and get a different perspective. Sometimes a view looking up through the skyscrapers in a major city, or through trees in a forest, can look amazing.

Practice before you leave home. Head out to an area that has a similar environment to the one you will be travelling to, ie a zoo if you’re going on safari, the city if you’ll be wandering through villages or a park if you’re heading into the mountains. You’ll get to practice your thirds, identifying the key components and capturing the lighting.

Happy snapping!

Diane Squires is a tour host with Two’s a Crowd

Photos by Two’s a Crowd tour host Adrian Duncan


What Our Clients Say

20 out of 10!

The trip was just great - I can't really think of any negatives. Diane will back me up when I say I usually give 10/10s - I gave her 20/10. Trish, Canada/Alaska

Excellent trip

I found the overall trip excellent. I believe Diane's professionalism, inclusive personality and ability to relate to all contributed to this. She worked to ensure the group was cohesive without individuals impinging on the personal space of others etc. a good skill to have and one she applied effectively. Kate, Canada/Alaska

Fantastic value for money

Fantastic value for money paid. Russell our guide is an asset to your company... he was fantastic! Overall the trip was magical from start to finish. Well done Two's a Crowd ... the best trip ever. Barbara, Canada/Alaska

Fantastic first solo trip

I had a fantastic trip. Absolutely loved Canada and Alaska. It's the first time I have travelled solo and was pleasantly surprised to find a bunch of people that all got on so well. Diane our host was great. She did a good job of getting us altogether for meals, excursions, shopping trips etc. I liked that she quietly got things done without being loud or "in-your-face". She was good at being one of us as well as our leader. Wendy, Canada/Alaska

Good balance of activities and spare time

Had a great time. Good mixture of organised activities and spare time. Diane was an excellent tour host. Russell the tour guide was great, very knowledgeable and personable with his insights into growing up and living in Canada. Sharon, Canada/Alaska

Well organised trip with an excellent host

The trip was well organised, with a good mix of activity and free time. The scenery was spectacular and fellow travellers were a great bunch. Diane is a excellent host - helpful, courteous and above all a pleasure to know. I found her bubbly personality a bonus and can only speak highly of her. Gary, Canada/Alaska

I had a fabulous time

I had a fabulous time. Lake Louise and the hotel were magnificent. The cruise was excellent. Diane made sure that she was available for group meals and sightseeing, and was alway in good humour and great fun. I would recommend your company to everyone and am very interested in the Scandinavia  tour at the end of 2017.

Cathy, Adelaide - Canada/Alaska May 2016

Great holiday

What a great trip! I experienced so much and participated in all that was offered. I had read and reviewed as much as time allowed me but was not prepared for what the trip gave me and that is a better understanding of the beautiful people of both countries. - Lesley on Vietnam/Cambodia

In good company

I thought the suggestions for optional things to do, in the "free" time were very good. So good, we really ended up with very little free time. So much to do! - Mary on Vietnam

Great time together

I found the trip interesting and eye opening with a great overview of both Vietnam and Cambodia. The other travellers on the trip were fabulous and we had a great time together. - Anonymous on Vietnam/Cambodia

Fantastic first experience!

Extremely well organised with fabulous guides throughout - especially in Vietnam! First holiday with your company and certainly not the last. - Glenys on Vietnam

Great group to travel with

Having a small group meant that the days were more relaxed and flexible and I really felt spoilt and looked after. Melinda on Borneo

Thoroughly enjoyed Uganda

Thoroughly enjoyed my trip especially Uganda. There was so much variety of things to do on this trip. Jaros & Julius were great. Thought in Kenya the Maasai Mara were beautiful people, so easy to get along with. Judy

Can’t stop talking about my experience

I just feel so privileged to have shared with the Maasai the most awe-inspiring majestic sights and sounds of Africa. The fantastic memories will be with me forever. Maureen

Absolutely enjoyable

Gillian was a fantastic host. She was there for us from the moment we reached Hotel Troy. Heather on Africa

Best holiday I’ve been on!

One of the best holidays that I have been on - really well organised. I would never have travelled to Vietnam or Cambodia on my own. Bronwyn

Well organised

Fun, well organised and a really great group. Barbara on Vietnam/Cambodia

Great time together

I found the trip interesting and eye opening with a great overview of both Vietnam and Cambodia. The other travellers on the trip were fabulous and we had a great time together.

Great value

Well done. No complaints. Very pleased with this trip. Great value for my hard earned dollars! Really enjoyed the [Vietnam/Cambodia] tour. 

Fabulous rapport filled with much humour!

A great bunch of people & I can't believe how we all had such a fabulous rapport filled with much humour!!!

I couldn’t fault anything.

The (Uniworld River) cruise was great, I met up with some wonderful people who treated me like part of the family !
The ship & crew were fantastic & the excursions were very good, I couldn't fault anything. I'd recommend this cruise to anyone.  Peter

Informative and educational

The entire trip was one of the most enjoyable and exciting. Also so informative and educational. I was so pleased to make the trip. Wish I was over there in that magical place.  Marjorie


I’ve just returned from the wonderful Kimberley trip.  It was my first experience with Two’s a Crowd and I was delighted.  Kay

Opportunity to experience

I have had the opportunity to experience things I would never had done by myself.  Solo travellers is a fantastic concept and use of social media has been a great way to share and keep in touch with friends and family. Judi

I need not have worried

Being my first tour and a senior member, I admit I was apprehensive but I need not have worried. It was great and I was very well looked after.  Can’t wait to go to Kenya with Two’s a Crowd.  Maureen

Smooth and seamless

A memorable trip of a lifetime, a wish fulfilled.  A fascinating cultural country steeped in history which I found totally enthralling.  Two’s a Crowd service was smooth and seamless.  Pam

A wonderful experience

It was a wonderful experience visiting Cambodia and Vietnam and gave me a better understanding of these countries. I had a great time with new friends, we had a good bunch and Leonie was the perfect host. Eric

Value for money

Value for money and outstanding co-operation from your staff and tour operators. Joan

Safe and secure and totally looked after

An awesome adventure for my first time overseas alone.  Leonie was excellent and both guides were also fantastic.  At all times I felt safe and secure and totally looked after.  Melinda

Well done Two’s a Crowd.

Leonie was an excellent host, the ideal person. I never felt any pressure to  be involved in every activity so I could explore alone during free time. Having 2 or 3 nights in most places was great – you could rest up or party. Well done Two’s a Crowd. Jenny

A completely different experience

It was a nice surprise holiday, a completely different experience from all my other holidays. Thanks. Piroska

I’ve had at least 10 travel agents.

In my travelling life, I’ve had at least 10 travel agents.  Two’s a Crowd is the first one where I haven’t had to correct anything in my travel documents.   Piroska

I’m so excited to have found you Two’s a Crowd.

“Finally. A travel company is recognising the needs of people like me”

This is perfect for me.

“I’ve been to Burma but can you please send me some information about other destinations. This is perfect for me.”

I really wanted to meet the people behind it

“I saw your ad in the local paper and could have phoned but I wanted to come in and congratulate you on starting this great business. I really wanted to meet the people behind it.”

Two’s a Crowd on the internet was definitely meant to be!

I’m really enthusiastic about the niche you are determined to cover in the market, and have the feeling stumbling on Two’s a Crowd on the internet was definitely meant to be.

I find them inspirational

Thanks for sending these emails as I find them inspirational and will sit dreaming for the next hour or so.

Thank you for providing a service for people like me

“I am very excited to read about your area of speciality, and look forward to devouring all information that might come my way. Thank you for providing a service for people like me.”

Excellent throughout.

The entire 14 days ran so smoothly from Two's a Crowd booking my flights to  airport transfers and then the 12 days camping in the Kimberley. Excellent throughout. Congratulations. Marjorie

See More Testimonials