Improving Your Travel Photography
By: Liana Minassian for Travel-Wise
An essential part of the travel experience, photography not only documents where you’ve been and who you were with, but also represents a moment frozen in time. It’s easy to go overboard snapping photos when on vacation, especially of the kids, but it’s important to strike a balance between enjoying the moment and capturing what you see.
Travel photography is not just about taking picture of every place you went on a trip. It should showcase your unique perspective and experience of a location in addition to making beautiful pictures with good lighting, composition, and exposure.
Once you’ve learned how to take better photos in general, focus on moving beyond being technically proficient. Next time you take a trip, get creative with your travel photos, keeping in mind the following tips.
Research the Location
Chances are, if you’ve made the decision to visit a specific location, you’ve already done a bit of research on it. Therefore, half the work’s already done!
But researching a location in relation to photographing it is a little different than just figuring out where to go and what to see while you’re there.
Of course you want to photograph all the things that drew you to that location in the first place — whether it’s the mid-century architecture, colorful street fairs, or photogenic beaches — but take things a little bit further.
Look through travel books or Google your destination online. Peruse Pinterest and Instagram for visual ideas of spots to check out. Maybe there’s a local ice cream shop that sells enormous cones covered in rainbow sprinkles, which would make for great photos of the kids.
Seek out the colorful and unique, taking into account how it relates back to the personality of your destination.
Get up Early and Stay out Late
No matter where you go in the world, things will look slightly different depending on the time of day. A lot of this is because of the change in lighting and the way the sun casts shadows in some places and illuminates others.
Take full advantage of how light plays with locations by getting up early and staying out late. Landscapes in particular can benefit from this rule.
Even though the Grand Canyon looks magnificent on a cloudless day, imagine how beautiful it would be at sunrise or sunset.
Choosing to visit a location during a specific time of day works in terms of the pace of a place as well. Many smaller villages and towns might be bustling in the early morning, but activity tapers off during midday or at night.
Conversely, some cities don’t really come alive until night falls, so plan your photography around capturing a place during its most iconic moments.
Have Your Camera at the Ready
While you certainly should have time during your vacation to just enjoy the present moment — and the people you’re in it with — when you do decide to go out and explore with your camera, be ready.
Make time to immerse yourself in the moment, taking note of what draws you in while still paying attention to all the possibilities swirling around you. Think of it like a photo safari where you must ready yourself in the event that a beautiful creature walks into the frame.
Perfect shots are sometimes elusive and can disappear in an instant. Life moves at its own pace so you may have to take your cues from your surroundings rather than the other way around.
Keep your camera on an auto setting that doesn’t require a lot of adjusting to allow for spontaneity.
Try a Different Angle
It’s fine to want to emulate the photos on postcards, but once you get that shot, move on to something else. Sometimes a straight on shot is not the best one, so don’t be afraid to explore other angles.
If a building is super tall, shoot up at it for a more dramatic effect. Similarly, if the place you’re visiting has a lot going on, get closer to really hone in on the details.
The same goes for people. Most portraits only focus on a person’s head and shoulders, but those kinds of photos can be taken just about anywhere.
Context is just as important as what the person looks like when composing an interesting shot. Give the viewer a sense of place and time while still evoking a strong sense of emotion from your subject.
Communicate with the Locals
One of the best ways to really up your travel photography game comes from talking with the locals. Ask people you meet where the best place to watch the sunrise is or which old church has the most dramatic lighting during the day.
Other people can be a wealth of information since they know the area and have been around long enough to become a type of expert on what’s good and what isn’t. If the locals don’t speak English, find creative ways of overcoming the language barrier.
Locals can also have connections to places you otherwise wouldn’t have access to. Maybe they know the operator of a special attraction and can set up a private tour for you so you can photograph the area without tourists straying into the frame.
Talk to people and let them know what you’re looking to photograph. Most of the time they can point you in the right direction, or a better vantage point you didn’t even realize was there.
Even if they’re not sure how to help you, they probably know someone who does. As they say, it takes a village, even when it comes to perfecting your travel photography.
For more travel destinations, tips, and tricks go to Travel-Wise.
When planning your trip with a beach destination on the horizon, Georgia is probably the last place you would think of. But you may just want to put St. Simons Island on your radar. Laced with gorgeous Live Oak trees, beaches, a little “main street” and an atmosphere for the casual and laid back, St. Simons Island is an ideal weekend getaway!
Be prepared to relax on this small island and escape from your busy life with all the amenities you need for a great vacation During my recent visit the weather was cloudy, cool, and overcast but that did not stop me from having a wonderful time!
St. Simons Inn
This quaint boutique Inn is not located directly on the beach but trust me you won’t be disappointed. The ocean is just a few steps away! Directly across the street you will find the grandeur of the Lighthouse museum to be visually pleasing. And the majestic Live Oak Trees that encompass the streets will leave you breathless. Did I mention they have a pool?
THINGS TO DO:
This may go without saying but while on the island enjoy the beaches. And set your clocks to take in a magnificent sunrise. Truly a must!
Lighthouse Museum Tour
This is a casual yet wonderful activity that can be enjoyed as a couple or with children. While you are there, make sure to shop for the perfect souvenir. I guarantee you will find it!
Mallery Street and Pier Village
With its “main street” appearance, Mallery Street hosts amenities such as casual restaurants with outdoor seating, ice cream, coffee, and souvenir shops, bike rentals, and more!
At the end of Mallery Street you’ll find St. Simons Pier and Neptune Park. This area is perfect for an evening stroll, fishing, or let the kids enjoy the playground, oceanside swimming pool, and Putt Putt golf.
St. Simons Island Tours – with Ms. Bunny
$20 for adults, $10 for children 4-10, kids under 4 are free
A nice way to relax and enjoy the island scenery!
For The Adults
The Georgia Sea Grill – piano bar (reservations recommended)
Casual Dining (kid friendly)
Let me know if you’ve been to St. Simons Island, Georgia or plan on going. I would love to hear about your experiences!
Charleston, South Carolina is a small city rich in southern history, amazing culinary delights, and a charm that will leave an impression. Charleston is best known for it’s gorgeous downtown location with a massive variety of upscale shopping and dining. Visitors certainly won’t run out of things to do but if relaxation is more your speed, Charleston provides that too! Also, if you’ve come to Charleston for the beaches stay tuned as I have great recommendations for the perfect beach getaway. In the meantime, let’s see what downtown Charleston has to offer.
This Inn is within walking distance to any place your heart desires. Located on the harbour, it boasts beautiful view of the water. There is an oak lined park available for a early morning walk which will lead you to the iconic Pineapple Fountain. If you are traveling with children or as a couple HarbourView Inn is my number 1 choice!
THINGS TO DO:
Market Street is truly my favorite place in Charleston. I love the variety of local art, crafts, and souveniers. You will also find a wonderful toy store for the kids along with other shopping wants.
Walk To The Battery
Take a walk down to The Battery; a historical waterfront park. This is a great place to let the kids run free or to have a relaxing sit and think under the gorgeous Live Oak Trees.
Horse Carriage Ride
A local carriage ride will provide you with a short history lesson on Charleston and give you the opportunity to rest from all of your adventures. You will also get to see some beautiful southern homes.
If the kids are getting anxious to burn some energy, the Children’s Museum is perfect! You will also find some great coffee shops nearby so everyone gets a nice break!
Magnifilous Toy Emporium on King
Another great place for the kids is Toy Store on King street.
Tour of Plantation Home
This is a great activity for adults as well as older children. Some of the homes are pretty amazing inside and the history is quite interesting as well.
During the spring, summer, and fall every Saturday morning there is a Farmers Market loaded with fresh local vegetables, art, and a variety of local treats. Perfect for children and adults.
Shopping on King Street
The shopping on King Street was made for the avid shopper. You will find shops such as Louis Vuitton, Lilly Pulitzer, Sperry and Marc Jacobs just to name a few.
Play in the Fountain
When the weather is warm visitors and locals alike will bring their children to play in the fountain located by the Harbourview Inn. Adults are also welcome to join in the fun!
The Southern Charmer -Mystifier of the Finest Affairs
The Southern Charmer is a mystical delight and is a wonderful and unique activity to enjoy with older children or as part of a date night. Enjoy dinner in the Palmetto Cresent Lounge before the show begins. You won’t be disappointed!
Places to Eat
Charleston is bursting at the seams with some of the best culinary dishes the country has to offer. It’s extremely difficult to narrow the list down but I will give a few of my favorites. The restaurants I choose (to me) represent the best of Charleston and southern cuisine. Reservations are highly recommended in Charlestons! Open Table is a great app for making reservations.
Low Country Bistro
The Rooftop Bar at the Venedue (a great place for drinks)
Please let me know if you are planning a trip to South Carolina or if you have already experienced the charm of Charleston!
You may be surprised by this but the coast of Georgia boasts some unique little islands that I’ve been exploring lately. Jekyll Island is small but beautiful island community that has plenty of amenities and activities to offer without the feeling of being over-crowded or touristy. Much of my weekend weather was cloudy and overcast but that did not stop me from riding my bike through the gorgeous oak lined trails. A rainy weekend on Jekyll Island is nothing to complain about as I feel completely relaxed, well fed, and visually stimulated.
Beachview Club Hotel
Surrounded by astonishing Live Oak trees, Beachview Club may just be the best “bang for your buck” hotel. Would you like to experience a peaceful morning sunrise sitting by the ocean? You’ve got it! Beachview Club is located on the beach and a bike rides distance from all of the local amenities.
The Westin Jekyll Island
If you are looking to be in the middle of the “action” than I highly recommend The Westin. This gorgeous hotel will provide everything you need and want for a fabulous stay on Jekyll Island. And the ocean views won’t disappoint! Plus, how can you pass up a hotel that offers Starbucks? 🙂
THINGS TO DO:
Yes, this probably goes without saying but relaxing and walking on the beach is one of my favorite things to do. I took full advantage of this during my stay. Also, please take in a sunrise. They are so visually stimulated and good for the soul!
In the center of Jekyll you will find a small but darling shopping village. The village provides restaurants, boutiques, grocery and other shopping needs. While you are there, stop at Maxwell’s General store for the perfect souvenir.
As I mentioned earlier, the bike trails are a must! Rent a bike and get lost on an adventure through the hauntingly beautiful woods!
Unfortunately during my stay I was not able to partake in all the outdoor activities Jekyll Island has to offer. But that shouldn’t stop you!
Along with bike rentals, Kennedy Outfitters also provides water sport rentals, fishing charters, fishing tackle and bait, and beach gear.
Summer Waves Water Park
If you are traveling with children there are plenty of things to keep them happily entertained.
Summer Waves is a great water park and should be enjoyed by all including the big kids aka adults!
Family friendly miniature golf is available and just a bike ride away in any given direction.
Harry’s at The Reserve
Bar and Rooftop Lounge
Hands down my favorite dining experience on the island! You can’t ask for better views! And I may have enjoyed one too many margarita’s. But that is a different story for another day.
Another great casual dining experience on the beach! The seafood was enjoyed, the atmosphere was casual yet entertaining, and the view was admired.
Please let me know if you’ve been to Jekyll Island, Georgia or plan on going. I would love to hear about your experiences!
Disclaimer – None of the products mentioned were gifted nor am I being paid for my review. After fervent research and product testing I have concluded that these products are my current personal favorites! Affiliate links are provided which can be used if you would like to support Destination Travelbug at NO COST to you. If you do not wish to do so, you are still more than welcome to use this website for your convenience at any time with no obligation!
Recently I have made small changes in my choice of beauty products. I now purchase products that are organic, cruelty free, and provide quality ingredients. I’ve also started buying travel sizes for two reasons; one, I travel a lot and two, it helps me use up product without waste! After product is used, I make sure to recycle my empty product containers.
Remorsefully, I have thrown away a countless amount of makeup and beauty products creating unnecessary waste for our landfills but small changes will eventually add up in a big way. I am still using some products that are not considered organic, environment friendly, or cruelty free because I’m also sticking to a new motto of “waste not, want not.”
The products listed below not only meet my new beauty standard but also measure up in terms of quality results. In essence, I LOVE these products! All products will be linked to their sites.
Stowaway Cosmetics is a dream come true for travelers. Their slogan, “Right Sized Makeup” is not only beneficial for travelers but also to those who are environmentally conscious. I can honestly say after using this makeup that I will end up with empty containers and that makes me feel good. Their cosmetics are also cruelty free, organic, and have beneficial ingredients.
My absolutely favorite product of Stowaway Cosmetics is their cream lipsticks! I bought the color ‘Muted Plum’ and I feel like it was made for me! The Beauty Balm is really nice too and gives great coverage. All of the products are great except (sadly) for the mascara. They have two formulas; Extreme Lash and Defined Lash. I got the Extreme Lash and the formula is too thick for my taste. I will use it up though but my next purchase will be the Defined Lash.
The other thing I LOVE about this company is their recycle program. They pay to have your empties sent back to them AND they give a $5 credit towards purchase for every product container sent back. All I can say is THANK YOU!
Stowaway Cosmetics – https://www.stowawaycosmetics.com/?source=affiliate-cj
The other products I have in my travel bag is John Masters Organics. I started with the full sized bottles in my shower and enjoy them so much that I wanted to travel with them! John Masters Organics is another company that offers cruelty free, organic, and quality ingredients as apart of their philosophy.
All of their products are great and small divine but my favorite is their Rose and Apricot Hair Milk. My hair loves it!
John Masters Organics – https://johnmasters.com/
The last travel product that I wanted to mention were the toiletry and makeup bag I use and LOVE. They are small enough for convenient travel yet big enough to hold all of my necessities. The makeup bag I use whether I’m traveling or applying makeup at home. My makeup is always in that bag. Also, my toiletry travel bag is always packed and I have a post coming up on what I keep in it so stay tuned for that.
Recently, I had the opportunity to make one of my travel dreams come true (finding cheap tickets helps!) by visiting the fabulous London, England. When traveling internationally, visitors may have certain expectations or a visual in their mind of what they will experience which is certainly normal. My personal expectations were exceeded as I participated in many of the amazing tourist opportunities this spacious city has to offer. And let me be clear; in no way am I ever ashamed to label myself a tourist.
One of my first impressions of London was how fashionably people dressed. Perhaps its a odd thing to notice but its true. You can’t help but gain the desire to dress yourself in a chic Burberry coat and scarf while aimlessly walking about the city in your stylish rain boots.
Another impression I eventually established was that the coffee seemed to be much tastier compared to the coffee in the United States. Which makes me wonder if others feel this way or am I just crazy? I will tell you this, I drank more coffee in a day during my visit than at any other time in my life. London oh London, I really enjoyed my 10 days with you.
Walking down brick paved side streets, popping in and out of book shops, endless latte’s, and stylish shopping felt like a London fog laced dream but it was infact, reality. I look forward to my return and future explorations to the other brilliant and beautiful parts of the United Kingdom.
It will be difficult to share my recommendations because truth be told anything and everything London has to offer is wonderful. But now that you are curious about the keen sense of fashion, incredible coffee and allured by the fog let me give you a few suggestions.
I’m the type of person who greatly enjoys (I find it thrilling actually!) getting the best price for an item or service. Finding airline tickets at the lowest possible price is a priority for me when planning trips for me and my family. To ensure good quality service and to know that you are getting the best price for airfare, hotels, and car rentals I suggest using a site called FareDepot. Its simple to use but if you do have questions or run into problems they really have great customer service.
Now, for my London recommendations …
1. Lodging – A quick Home Away search will provide an endless amount of options but let me get specific and recommend finding a flat/apartment in the Covent Garden District. You will be within walking distance of anything and everything imaginable. You will also be delighted by the bustling about and endless amount of shopping, dining, and entertainment. https://www.homeaway.com/
2. Be a Tourist – Take a ride on the Tube; go see London Bridge; walk to Big Ben; ride the London Eye; take a tour of the city on one of the famous Double Decker buses and by all means, get your picture taken in a classic red telephone booth.
3. Take in a Show – While in London I went to see Les Miserables at the Queens Theater and it was beyond fabulous! The city boasts a variety of shows including dramas and comedies. Here is a little tip – Buy tickets at any ticket vendor closer to the show date. You can get tickets for up to half off. I did!
4. Visit Sky Garden – Before visiting London I had never heard of Sky Garden. A local friend made a reservation for me weeks in advance and I would suggest you do the same. Its free! Once you get to the top you will find the most incredible city views of London! There are also wonderful places to grab a bite to eat, have a cocktail, or coffee. https://skygarden.london/
5. Enjoy Afternoon Tea – Anything you could possibly desire, London will have it! But if you want something a bit more traditional I would suggest Afternoon Tea Afternoon tea also known as high tea is a meal eaten in the late afternoon or early evening and includes a cooked dish bread and butter and of course, tea. http://www. davy.co.uk/wine-bar/crusting-
Please share with me your upcoming travel plans or if you have visited London. Also, let me know if you have used FareDepot in the past and what your experience was like. I would love to hear from you!
One of the things I enjoy doing after returning home from traveling is giving myself a facial. Traveling can disrupt our daily routines including skin care! Other disruption to our skin and bodies are climate, environment, and cabin air also known as bleed air from airplanes.
In order to breath in high altitudes, hot compressed air is drawn from an airplane’s engine. It is then cooled and directed into the plane cabin to supply breathable air. This air does not generally pose any health risk but it may cause a feeling of thirst and dehydrated skin.
To help my body and skin get back on track, I like to do a body detox, drink lots of water, and give myself a facial. All you will need to get started is listed below. You won’t regret it!
Exfoliant– 1 Tbs Baking Soda, 1 tsp milk
Mask – 1 Tbs Plain Yogurt, 1 tsp raw honey, 2 drops of Frankincense Essential Oil
-Cleanse face with favorite cleanser
-In a clean pot, bring 4 cups of water to a boil to create steam (if available add fresh rosemary, mint and lemon)
–Exfoliant: In a small bowl mix 1 Tbs of baking soda with 1 tsp milk
-Exfoliate – Gently apply mixture to cleansed face with fingertips.
-Steam the face. After water comes to a boil, position your face over the steam. (caution: To prevent burn or injury, do not position face too closely to steam)
-After 5-10 minutes, rinse off the exfoliant with cool water.
-Gently cleanse face with favorite cleanser and pat dry.
–Mask: In a small bowl add 1 Tbs plain yogurt, 1 Tbs honey, 2 drops of essential oil
-Apply mask to cleansed face. Keep mask on for 10-15 minutes.
-Rinse off mask with cool water and gently pat face dry
-Apply your favorite toner
-Apply your favorite serum, gently massage into skin and allow to fully absorb!
-Apply your favorite moisturizer
While traveling, I normally let my everyday routines go by the wayside. I will allow myself to indulge in good food and local treats. Exercise is not usually included in my travel plans but I do manage to stay fairly active. Infact, on a recent trip I walked so much that I actually lost weight!
Returning home is bittersweet and getting back into a routine can be a challenge. Personally I like to take at least one full day to unpack, start laundry, combat jetlag, and DETOX!
Here is what I do: (1-2 days)
1. At the start of my day I put on my waist trainer. It helps with bloating and regulating digestion. Trust me, it works!
2. Glass of water. During the course of the day, drink a gallon of water. Yes – a gallon or more!
3. Breakfast -Protein shake with strawberries, coffee with almond milk and stevia, large glass of water, and a multivitamin.
4. Unpack luggage and pile up the laundry.
5. Snack – handful of almonds and more water!
6. Lunch- Protein shake with berries, raw veggies, and lots of water!
7. Snack – Apple and WATER!
8. Dinner – Assortment of raw veggies with herbal tea (get all of your water in before dinner)
9. Waist trainer off
10. At home facial and shower
11. Early to bed! (adjusting to time zone and not feeling tired? Chamomile tea and melatonin)
Note – This is not a weight loss post. I do not promote the restriction of food for the intention of unnecessary weight loss. This is my detox routine used to help my body get back on track and back to healthy living. Also, this detox is not recommended for longer than 2 days.
Before confirming your travel plans here are a few tips you may want to consider.
Do you have a passport? You need one!
It can take anywhere from 2-8 weeks so plan ahead.
There are very few countries that require a visa and typically a passport is sufficient for most leisure travel. Double check to be on the safe side! Also, if you plan to stay for an extended length of time you may need to apply for a visa.
Does your credit card charge international fees?
Some cards charge up to 3% per transaction! Unless you don’t mind find out.
If you travel often it would be wise to apply for a travel reward credit card.
Cell Phone Coverage
Do you have an international cell phone/data plan?
If not, find out how much it will cost to use data/text.
Advice: Turn off data and use free Wifi i.e. coffee shops
OR: Download the Whats App -Very useful!
Tipping for Services
Find out what is appropriate.
Who do you tip? Who not to tip? How much?
Every place you visit and service will vary.
Converters for Electronics
In many cases you will need a converter if you are traveling with electronics.
How will you get around? Its often very easy if you plan ahead.
If renting a car find out what side of the road to travel on.
Research public transportation i.e. city buses, trains, or subways.
This isn’t necessary for most travel destinations but traveling to certain countries (for example) in Africa immunizations may be required so be sure to find out!
Find out where the nearest hospital or medical facility is located. Have addresses, directions, and phone numbers available in case of emergencies.
If you plan on traveling with cash find out what the conversion rates are. Also find out if it’s best to convert money using your personal bank or with a facility at your destination.
Personal Medical Prescriptions
There are many travel items you can easily replace if forgotten with the exception of your medical prescriptions. Do not forget to include them on your packing list!
When planning a trip, give yourself at least one full day to settle in, unpack, and combat jet lag. Often times we feel the need to jump right into our vacation but taking a day to recover will give you a good start to your travel experience. Traveling across time zones can disrupt natural body patterns so give yourself time to adjust. Also note, traveling east typically causes more problems than traveling west because the body clock has to advance.
What is Jet Lag?
According to Wikipedia, Jet Lag is a condition which results from alterations to the body rhythms resulting from rapid long distance travel on highs speed aircraft.
Symptoms may include sleep disturbances, general fatigue, headaches, and body aches.
How long does it last?
Every traveler will experience Jet Lag differently but symptoms generally last between 1-3 days.
Tips to getting back on track
-Immediately adjust to your new time zone. Don’t think about what time it is at home. Adjust your schedule to accommodate for the current time.
-Get a good night’s rest! If you find it difficult to fall asleep on schedule try taking a sleep aid and enjoy a cup of hot chamomile tea before bed.
-Help overcome symptoms of Jet Lag by staying hydrated and taking your favorite multi-vitamin.