Change Your Vantage Point: Creative Travel Photography Tips

One of the most common mistakes an amateur/novice photographer makes is to take the majority of their photos standing up with the camera held near chest or eye level.  Although this is the most comfortable/natural orientation it’s not the one that is going to yield impressive or unique photos.  Everybody else is doing it and if you’re interested in taking photos that are going to impress an audience outside of friends and family it’s time to get down & dirty, climb, contort & twist your body all over the place 😛

Change Your Vantage Point: Take More Creative Travel Photos!

Change Your Vantage Point: Travel Photography Tips that are creative!

These are five travel photography tips to improve your photos by changing your vantage point.

Getting down on the ground to take creative travel photos from a unique vantage point


1)  Look Up / Look Down

As mentioned previously, taking photos from chest or eye level is what 90% of other photographers are already doing.  Start noticing what’s going on up & down.  You might notice a man shaving nearby an overhead window or a cute dog scurrying about at ground level.  Try taking photos of somebody climbing up steep steps from an overhead perspective.  The next time you take a portrait of somebody have them sit down and look up towards the sky or ceiling before taking their shot from an above perspective.  Try capturing architecture or a statue from a close-up perspective pointing your camera upwards to capture a distinct or select element.

Taking travel photos in La Paz, Bolivia from a high vantage point

2)  Climb a Mountain, ladder, tree or just some steps 😛

One of the easiest ways to change your perspective is to shoot from a higher vantage point.  In other words, be prepared to get physical and do a little exercise climbing a mountain, ladder, tree, or just some steps 😛  When shooting above and looking down it’s almost as if you have a bird’s eye perspective of what is going on below.  From a higher vantage point you can take great shots of parades, crowds, traffic or scenic valley views.  The rewards of doing this are that ‘many’ other photographers are simply too lazy to ‘climb’ something.  This is a travel photography tip that can’t be underestimated:  putting in a bit of grunt work 😛

Taking travel photos by squatting on the ground while visiting the Salt Flats in Bolivia and Chile

3)  Get Down & Dirty

I’ve often mentioned that one should wear their worst clothes out when taking photos.  As a general travel photography tip, if you’re not prepared to get some stains, tears or a little dirt on your shirt or pants you haven’t noticed what’s doing on at ground level.  Capturing a photo of a cat, dog or other animal from the eye level perspective the creature is experiencing provides a whole new dimension to the photo.  The exposure will speak to the subject’s way of viewing the world as opposed to your own.  Furthermore, landscape & street photography is greatly enhanced with some shots of traffic, insects & scenery from a low vantage point.

Low vantage point to capture a small puppy

4)  Shoot from the perspective of your subject

If you’re taking a travel photo of an ant or small insect be prepared to get down on your hands and knees and shoot from the perspective of it crawling on the ground.  If you’re shooting a large animal or billboard try crouching down and shooting upwards at a wide angle to exaggerate its already impressive size.  Whatever subject you are photographing try to mentally visualize what you are trying to emphasize in the photo (subject’s size, background, foreground, etc) to capture the moment from a unparagoned viewpoint.

Dangling off of a cliff to take the picture shot in Machu Picchu, Peru

5)  Twist & Shout

To improve your travel photography you need to be willing to twist, contort & misalign both you body & camera from typically held positions – shouting is optional 😛 When it comes to your camera, try shooting in orientations other than typical landscape and portrait poses.  Try twisting the camera in a diagonal manner (left or right) for some creative shots.  When it comes to your body be prepared to contort it in positions, as if you were playing a game of twister and you suddenly noticed something interesting that involves capturing it in an awkward position.

These are just are a few ways a photographer can improve his/her photos from the majority of others who are taking the ‘typical’ shots from ‘typical’ angles and vantage points.  None of these tips involve upgrading your camera or lenses to see the world from a unique perspective.  It’s just a matter of using whatever you’ve currently got available and improving your skills & techniques to produce better photos.  Sometimes, just a few refinements in your techniques can aid in your quest to have a top travel blog.

As a travel photography tutorial, check out the following photos & see if you can match them with some of the 5 tips I’ve mentioned above:

Looking down with my camera pointed at people climbing steep stairs

Cute cat stretching and making a funny face by getting down low to capture this moment

How To Take More Creative Travel Photos

Capturing the essence of one’s travels through creative photography is an art form that requires careful planning and execution. To begin, researching the destination beforehand and identifying iconic landmarks or locations is crucial to capturing these elements in a unique and visually interesting way. By taking note of different perspectives and angles, a photographer can create a sense of depth and intrigue that is both captivating and memorable.

Moreover, the use of different lenses is another technique to consider when taking creative travel photos. By experimenting with wide-angle or telephoto lenses, for example, a photographer can capture a more nuanced and detailed perspective that is different from the standard view. In addition, the use of light is also an essential element that can make or break a photo. Whether it’s taking advantage of soft morning light or the warm golden hour in the evening, a photographer can use shadows, reflections, and other natural lighting elements to create unique and dynamic compositions.

Incorporating patterns and textures is another way to make a photo more creative and interesting. Whether it’s the texture of a building’s facade or the intricate patterns found in a landscape, incorporating these elements adds depth and visual intrigue to the photo. Additionally, experimenting with composition is another way to create a unique and compelling photo. By breaking away from the traditional centering of subjects and incorporating techniques such as the rule of thirds or leading lines, a photographer can create a more dynamic and visually interesting composition.

Furthermore, capturing candid moments is a way to add a sense of authenticity and emotion to one’s travel photos. By taking photos of people and animals in their natural settings and going about their daily routines, a photographer can create a connection between the viewer and the place being photographed.

Editing one’s photos is a crucial step in enhancing their creative potential. By adjusting elements such as brightness, contrast, saturation, and cropping or adding filters, a photographer can transform an ordinary shot into a visually stunning and emotionally impactful image. In conclusion, taking creative travel photos is an art form that requires a combination of planning, experimentation, and creativity. By incorporating these techniques, a photographer can capture the essence of their travels in a visually compelling and memorable way.

Taking Better Travel Photos With Different Vantage Points

Capturing unique and captivating travel photos can be achieved by experimenting with different vantage points. This involves the use of various techniques, ranging from altering one’s height to looking for reflections and leading lines. Each technique provides a unique way of looking at the world, and by incorporating them, a photographer can create compelling and visually stunning photos.

One effective way of utilizing different vantage points is to change one’s height. By crouching down low or standing on higher platforms, one can create a sense of depth and dimension that is not readily apparent from a traditional viewpoint. This technique can reveal details and textures that would be overlooked from an average viewpoint, allowing for a more immersive experience.

Looking for reflective surfaces is another technique that can create stunning travel photos. Water and glass are two examples of surfaces that can be utilized to create a unique and interesting composition. By capturing reflections, a photographer can add depth and interest to a photo and create a more dynamic visual experience.

Wide-angle lenses are another tool that can be used to capture different vantage points. These lenses capture a broader field of view and can be useful for photographing landscapes or architecture. They can create a sense of place and environment that is not easily conveyed through a traditional lens.

Getting up close to a subject is yet another technique for creating unique vantage points. By focusing on details and textures, a photographer can create a more intimate and powerful connection between the viewer and the subject. This technique can create a sense of presence that is not attainable through traditional photography.

Alternatively, taking a step back and incorporating more of the surrounding environment into the frame can also create interesting vantage points. By providing context and a sense of scale, a photographer can create a more complete visual experience.

Looking for leading lines is a technique that utilizes natural lines in the environment, such as roads or fences, to create depth and interest in a photo. These lines guide the viewer’s eye through the frame and create a more dynamic and visually interesting composition.

Seeking unique perspectives is a technique that involves thinking outside of the box and looking for angles and viewpoints that are not immediately apparent. By experimenting with different viewpoints, a photographer can create visually compelling and memorable travel photos.

By utilizing different vantage points, a photographer can create unique and captivating travel photos. Through techniques such as changing one’s height, looking for reflections and leading lines, using wide-angle lenses, getting up close, taking a step back, and looking for unique perspectives, a photographer can create a visual experience that is both immersive and memorable.

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  2. says: Cole @ Four Jandals

    Been trying to get “down and dirty” with our photos lately. Love finding a special spot that is away from the other tourists in the area which allows you to get that different perspective.

  3. says: NLM

    Great advice–thanks. I’m just starting to work harder/smarter on my photography–I’ll think of you when I’m all twisted up somewhere! I had some cool shots in China taken from below, but haven’t thought to climb much…will try it tomorrow!

    Keep having fun.

  4. says: Ashley Beolens

    Some excellent advice it is always worth exploring different angles when shooting one subject as you would be surprised the different ways the light can hit the same thing when viewed from elswehere.

    1. Ashley, that’s a great observation! A photo is really nothing more than the quality and direction of light and playing around with angles and vantage points allows you to a variety of shots.

  5. says: jade

    wow- love the photos and really great tips! I have found that I really like taking photos of animals- their faces are so unique and usually pretty cute, too.

  6. says: Pete Heck

    Some great tips here. I’m not afraid to get in the dirt or lie down somewhere odd and gain that perspective. Sure you get some strange looks, but I do what it takes to get the shot i’m looking for.

        1. Oh man, how I’d do just about anything to be in Thailand permanently 🙂 I’m back in Canada (rare occasion) for the summer and then off to Korea in the fall to teach English. How about you?

  7. These are great tips. I think many new/amateur photographers are agraid of looking silly while taking photos, so they restrict themeselves. You have to be patient but also assertive about getting the photo you want. I can stand in the same spot for an hour waiting for the crowd to clear or the light to hit just so. Its worth it, and always cheaper to wait then to travel back for a better photo.

  8. Great photography tips and awesome examples of each style. I love the Wat Aran photograph looking up the stairs. I have seen a lot of Wat Aran pics, but I have never seen one like that.

    1. Thanks Ted, I found Wat Arun very under-rated among temples in Bangkok. Actually it was probably my favorite. Even though I don’t like heights I did climb it. How does it rank for you?

      1. It was my favorite as well, although I do not remember climbing it. I think it was actually closed for climbing when I was there because I do not remember having to make a choice.

  9. says: Sweet Ronit

    All of these shots are fabulous! I love them all, but the kitty winking is especially great, and you nailed the focus on the cow’s nose.

    My mentor (who studied with Jay Maisel – bonus!) and I recently discussed working an image from all angles. It’s something I try to do, but sometimes I move on too quickly. Shooting is like yoga – no matter how deep you go, you can always go a bit deeper. That’s often when you find the best angle/shot.

  10. says: Annie

    These are fantastic tips and great photos, so I assume you definitely know what you are talking about! I always try to get a bit out of my comfort zone when I taking pictures but sometimes I get in such a hurry I forget. This post was a great reminder!