Photographer under Joshua Tree

8 Useful Tips to Improve Your Travel Photography

Ready to Step up Your Travel Photography?

Looking to improve your travel photography? I’ve spent 10-years shooting photos from destinations around the world.

Here are my 8 favorite travel photography tips for beginners.

Morning light at Jumbo Rocks Campground in Joshua Tree
Morning light at Jumbo Rocks Campground in Joshua Tree

Wake up Early (like, super early)

The early bird gets the worm. How does this apply to travel photography? The most fundamental element of great photography is light, and soft, warm morning light produces stunning photos.

Travel Photography using the rule of thirds
Rule of Thirds

Rule of Thirds

This is a general rule of thumb to follow – don’t go crazy trying to make it exact or work for every shot. It is more like something that you practice and think about when shooting so it starts to come naturally.

The gist of it is this: Place your points of interest where the lines intersect. In the example above, I placed my tent (the main subject) directly on the bottom-left intersection. The horizon line lines up with the grid lines as well.

Turning on your camera’s “grid” feature will display a grid directly on your LCD screen making it simple to compose using the Rule of Thirds. This works on your phone as well!

Using a tripod to create dramatic photos
Using a tripod for dramatic skies

Use A Tripod for Travel Photography

Tripods allow you to shoot at much slower shutter speeds (waterfalls, low-light, stars, and so on) without having to worry about camera shake. For adventure and traveling, I use the Peak Design Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod.

Using Human Element to show scale
Using Human Element to show scale

Use Some Human Element

A better sense of scale is also created by using a human element. You can get a better feel of how big those mountains are by placing your subject in the distance or using a wide-angle lens.

Travel Photography using leading lines
The lines of the walkway bridge are used to pull the viewer’s eye into the photo

Use Leading Lines

Basically, you’re trying to direct people further into your photo by using the land, objects, or other elements to take them to the main subjects. Roads, rivers, hiking paths, alleyways, and mountain ridges are all great examples of leading lines.

These guys know all the good spots, trust me

Ask the Locals

Don’t be shy, but always be respectful and polite. Make friends with locals or do some research before your trip to seek out off-the-beaten path locations.

changing the composition of a photo to help spice up your travel photography
Playing around with composition to make a photo more unique

Mixing It Up

Always keep learning. Try different lenses, different poses, play with your composition or test ND filters. Maybe try to shoot an epic timelapse. Stay Fresh!

How to Shoot an Epic Hyperlapse Video on Your iPhone
How to Shoot an Epic Hyperlapse Video on Your iPhone
Step by step tutorial about how to shoot a hyperlapse with your iphone

Travel Photography – Listen. Learn. Share

Take notes, take courses, make friends with people who are doing what you would like to be doing. Absorb what you can. Put yourself out there and just keep at it.

dis·patch | (/dəˈspaCH/) | verb
to send off to a destination or for a purpose.

I started this site as a platform to share my adventures, passions, tips, fails, and everything in between. A safe place and space to shed some inspiration, information and education.

Nothing changes if nothing changes.

Now more than ever, people are heading out into the wilderness and nature in search of freedom, recreation, peace, normalcy. We have an opportunity to promote a positive influence through sharing each of our own experiences to help control our social,  environmental and commercial impact.

I would love to hear your voice & share it on here: Reach Out!




I am a professional photographer & visual content creator for the outdoor industry. I started this site to serve as an outlet to share some of my adventures on and off the grid. I believe the best way to LEARN is to LISTEN, and in turn, SHARE.


Founder, Nick Tortajada

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8 Useful Tips to Improve Your Travel Photography
How to Shoot an Epic Hyperlapse Video on Your iPhone