How To Take The Worst Ever Travel Photos: Anti-Photography Tips

In recent months, I’ve quite regularly been contributing select travel photography tips, as a self-taught travel photographer, in order to hopefully help you improve your travel photography.  I’ve covered topics such as changing your vantage point, taking candid portraits, ways to protect and share your travel photos and when you should upgrade your travel camera.

Nomadic Samuel taking travel photos

It should not be shocking for you to expect another gem of a post outlining ways to improve this and that related to taking better travel photos; however, you’ll get none of that here.  Instead what I’ve decided to do is tell you how to take the worst travel photos possible.

Nomadic Samuel taking a video at Machu Picchu

That’s right!  Want to take photos that will make your family, friends and followers cringe at all the time?

How Not To Take Travel Photos

1)  Take Shots Only Of You

That’s right.  Make sure you’re in every single one of your photos.  Better yet, try to block any boring subject matter that may be behind you, such as the Eiffel Tower or Taj Mahal.  Those kinds of boring structures won’t stand alone well on their own.  Bonus points for always being in the centre of your pictures.  Double up by having objects growing out your head, such as trees.

2)  Never Edit Your Photos

You’re a genius behind the lens.  Why bother editing?  What a waste of time.  Send your photos straight from your camera onto your favourite platform such as facebook.  Earn bonus points for taking 15 straight shots of you making the exact same pose over and over again.

3)  Keep Your Camera Always Pointed At Chest Level

We all know that the camera was meant to be held at chest level.  Why bother leaning down to get a unique vantage point.  Just keep your camera at chest level and receive plenty of bonus points by firing away.

4)  Use Special Effects Image Enhancements All Of The Time

Who needs to take a proper exposure these days?  With tilt shift, HDR & instragram, it’s a waste of time shooting normally.  Who cares if your HDR photos are as cheesy and potentially greasy as an 80’s mullet?  It’s what all the cool kids are doing and it’s what you should be doing as well.

5)  Stand Up Straight; Don’t Lean Over

Why even bother bending down, hiking up to get a unique vantage point or pointing the camera above your head for an overhead perspective?  Just stand straight up because it’s comfortable and you might split your swanky hipster pants open otherwise.

6)    Don’t Delete Any Of Your Photos

The advancements of digital photography mean you’re now free to take as many shots as you’d like without wasting rolls upon rolls of film, so why not go hog wild?  Take as many shots as you possibly can, bonus points for repetitive ones, and show them to all your friends.  Because after-all, they’re waiting impatiently for you to entertain them for hours on end.

7)  Always Shoot in Auto

This is my favourite!  Why bother learning about exposure, ISO, shutter speed or aperture when you’ve got Auto to play around with?  Cameras are designed to take good photos.  It’s not you taking the photos it’s your camera.  Trust in your camera and it will never let you down.

I guarantee if you master all 7 of these you’ll be well on your way to taking the worst travel photos ever!  GUARANTEED! 😛

Nomadic Samuel taking some more travel pics

How To Actually Take Great Travel Photos 😛

Capturing beautiful and evocative travel photos is an art form that requires a blend of skill, creativity, and a passion for storytelling. With the right approach and techniques, you can elevate your travel photography to new heights and create stunning visual narratives of your journeys. Here are some expert tips to help you take remarkable travel photos:

  1. Research your destination: Conduct thorough research before you embark on your trip. Familiarize yourself with your destination’s landmarks, historical sites, local customs, and traditions to get an idea of the type of images you want to capture.
  2. Choose the right gear: Select the camera gear that best suits your style and needs. Whether you prefer a DSLR camera or the convenience of a smartphone camera, make sure you have enough storage, backup batteries, and other accessories to support your photographic pursuits.
  3. Follow the rule of thirds: A fundamental principle of composition in photography is the rule of thirds, which divides the image into three vertical and horizontal sections and places the subject at one of the intersections of the lines.
  4. Experiment with different perspectives: Shake things up and try shooting from unique angles and perspectives to create a compelling and captivating visual story. Experiment with low or high angles, close-ups, and long shots to add depth and dimension to your photos.
  5. Play with light and shadow: Mastering the interplay between light and shadow is an essential skill in travel photography. Be mindful of the lighting conditions and time of day, and use the natural light to create the mood and ambiance you desire in your images.
  6. Capture candid moments: Candid photos have a unique charm that adds authenticity and character to your travel story. Look for those spontaneous, unguarded moments that reveal the essence of your destination and its people.
  7. Edit your photos to perfection: Post-processing is an essential element of creating visually stunning travel photos. Experiment with editing tools and software to enhance the brightness, contrast, color, and sharpness of your images, while preserving their authenticity.
  1. Be aware of your surroundings: As a travel photographer, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and respectful of the people and culture you are photographing. Seek permission before taking pictures of people, especially in sensitive or private settings.
  2. Look for details: While it’s essential to capture the big picture, don’t forget to focus on the small details that make your destination unique. Look for intricate patterns, textures, and colors that tell a story about the local culture and traditions.
  3. Embrace your creativity: Don’t be afraid to experiment with your style and creativity when taking travel photos. Let your imagination run wild and try new techniques, such as long exposure or black and white photography, to add a unique perspective to your images.
  4. Be patient: Sometimes the best travel photos require patience and persistence. Wait for the perfect moment, whether it’s the golden hour of light at sunrise or sunset or the right expression on your subject’s face, and take your time to capture the shot.
  5. Tell a story: Ultimately, travel photography is about telling a story through your images. Consider the narrative you want to convey and use your photos to create a visual story that captures the essence of your destination and your personal experience.

With these expert tips, you can take your travel photography to the next level and capture stunning images that tell a compelling story about your adventures. Remember, travel photography is about more than just taking pretty pictures – it’s about capturing the essence of your journey and sharing it with the world.

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  1. It’s also essential to get a good DSLR camera and even a few good lenses, filters. A good camera may cost a lot, but on the long run it pays off.
    And even the entry level DSLR cameras can produce terrible photos – especially during bad light and atmospheric conditions…

  2. says: Ashlea

    So funny and true, I never got the thing about having to have myself in every picture that I take. I think some people use it as proof that they were “really there”. I know I was there, isn’t that all that matters? Haha

  3. Pretty good tips. I especially like to be in the photo because no one will believe I was there unless I am in the photo. My friends and family won’t take my word for it! Nor will they fall for the “look its next to all the other pictures I took in the trip.” That’s the oldest trick in the book :P.

  4. says: Jeremy

    Too funny! All of those are so true… I used to work a photo-lab and the worst photos I’ve seen were the 10 rolls of film all taken from the passenger seat of a Winnebago and a side-mirror in almost every shot lol…

    I like the deleting one… I’m guilty of taking bad shots too like everyone else but I delete probably 2/3 of my photos and keep only 1 or 2 good similar shots…

  5. says: Belle

    Love it! Cracked up laughing when I read this, i still get frustrated seeing how many people waste all this money on buying an SLR only to use it in Auto! Why bother buying an SLR camera if you just want to point and shoot!!!

  6. says: Mandy

    Haha – love these! My husband is a photographer and I’m always doing everything OPPOSITE of him – especially when we are on a trip and I want to SHARE everything NOW! Even with my iPhone camera that switches vantage points, I still take 10 self-portraits covering the attraction I am in front of and end up deleting 9 of them, LOL! Fun read 🙂

  7. When i was in Dubrovnik, Croatia me and a few travel buddies hoped on the back of a German walking tour (none of us are, or speak German), and every time the crowd took a photo, we’d mimic their movements and also take a photo. (same vantage point, all on 100% auto, etc)

    I know have 2 full rolls of film titled “Bad Tourist Photos of Dubrovnik”. At the time we thought it hilarious. Now i realize i wasted about $20 being silly.

  8. says: Anis

    Can I also say- take multiple shots of you propping up the Leaning Tower of Pisa, carrying the Eiffel Tower in the palm of your hand and pinching the tip of the Taj Mahal? LOL!

  9. After leading student tours for almost 20 years, I can add another “worst ever travel photos” tip.
    Take numerous pictures of every stray dog and cat you encounter, to the exclusion of fellow travelers, landmarks and landscapes. Because you can’t see something as unique and exotic as dogs and cats back home. (-:

  10. says: Michelle

    I cracked up at this post, I have seen so many pictures that could have been straight from this perspective. Thankfully Number 1 will never apply to me cause I HATE having pictures taken of me, phew!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog, and I’ve added you to my google reader too.

    1. Thanks Michelle,

      It was great to discover your blog. I’m not big on having pictures taken of me either. It’s probably bad enough that I need to create suggesting I do take more…haha

  11. says: Callie

    Hahaha! Addition to #1: Pictures of you should be obvious selfies (arm visible, naturally), and you should be making a kissy face/duck face in each.

  12. says: Charles

    No. 1 really is true! I don’t get it…before they even soak in the place, they need to get a picture of themselves dead centre against the setting!

    Here’s one I’ve actually heard:
    “It’s the one that had the most megapixels in the store, so it just does everything by itself.”

  13. Very funny! That’s also a sure-fire way of earning the title of “Worst Travel Photographer of all Time”!

    I just love seeing the same face and pose over and over again and in the background, just a small glimpse of something nice and beautiful.;)

  14. says: Zarek

    This is hilarious Samuel. I especially like the first one! Who’s not guilty of that?

    Many of your points and experience echo my own. I actually just posted my own guide on 25 ways to improve travel photography without worrying about the camera settings, check it out if you get a chance!

  15. says: Molly

    I´m waiting for Christmas for a new camera with built wifi for instant sharing. Until then I reply on my iPhone4 and instagram retouching. Big cameras are great for amazing shots but are too bulky sometimes to lug about…

  16. says: Georgeonthego

    I love those people who take one hundred photos of their face in different settings but they are so close to the camera you can’t really see where they are anyway. I also love taking photos of the back of peoples heads, I don’t know why.

  17. says: Cassie

    Love this! Over-Instagramming is my pet peeve, but something I’ve been guilty of myself! If it’s a crappy photo, it will still be a crappy photo, albeit one with a cool effect.

  18. says: Tamika D.

    Funny! I am trying to get into photography more… It’s fun learning my camera, but I do need to get me some professional help! 🙂

  19. says: Julie McNamee

    I do just about all of those apart from the special effects because I don’t know how to do that one. Are you saying there’s something wrong with these techniques? ;o)

  20. says: wftristan

    I must admit i do use my slr one handed – but that when i am doing street photography and speed is of the essence
    rules of the road for me now are if it takes more than 30 seconds to edit – its rubbish 😉

  21. says: Priyank

    Hi Samuel, Never crop, frame or use the rule of thirds works wonders as well! I see lots of people (guys in particular) taking pictures while holding their cameras in one hand as if its a macho thing. I hope they enjoy the blurs! Oh oh I can’t resist this one: Use flash everytime, even when you are taking a picture of niagara falls at night. 😀
    cheers, Priyank

  22. Samuel, have you been following me, taking notes on my photography skills? This list is creepily reflective of my photog style. Anyway I think the Taj Mahal looks so much better with me in the foreground. Hmph. And my parents can’t wait to see my 20,000 out-of-focus shots in a continuous slideshow when I get home, so there.

    1. Hehehe, you’re a much better photographer than you give yourself credit for 🙂 That’s a good point! Mom will always appreciate the shots of you and that reminds me I had better take some more of those for my Mom.

  23. Something like this happens all the time. Some of us just cant delete any photos no matter how bad they are. No will ever look at it but gather dust on the hard drive. Great advice on how to take the worst photos. Makes a lot of sense.

  24. Very true! haha. But why do so many people live by these ways?! I hate seeing the same pose and the same picture a gazillion times on Facebook. One day when I can get myself a nice camera I will swear to stay away from all of these 🙂

  25. says: Dean

    These are really handy tips Sam! :D. Another great tip – Buy a really expensive DSLR, put it on Auto and hold it out in front of you with the screen view on like a point and shoot. I see it all the time so it must be the best way!

  26. I agree on all except shoot in auto. The modern cameras now are really smarter than many people. If only they can also decide on the composition, but they cannot. So that’s still up for the “photographer” or the camera holder if you’re so strict with the term. Cheers.

    1. They certainly are a lot better and there would be some instances where shooting in auto would be beneficial without having to tinker around with your settings; however, for special shots ‘such as sunsets’ it’s far better in my opinion to have full control over your exposure.

  27. says: Amanda

    Haha, thanks for the tips! The “Don’t Delete Any of Your Photos” one is my favorite – I LOVE when people upload 50 versions of the same crappy photo to Facebook!

  28. says: Irina

    Would you be surprised to learn that I have a lot of “professional” travel photographers among my Facebook friends? They usually hit all of your tips and add some personal touches of which my favourite was a bunch of blurry pictures of a floor in Brazil…