5 travel photography mistakes and how to fix them

Whether you’re new to photography or a seasoned hobbyist, find out how to overcome 5 of the most common travel photography mistakes with our tips…

26 Jul 2016


You’ve booked your tickets, your bags are packed and you can almost feel the sea breeze on your face but are you ready to get the most out of your holiday snaps?

We’ve looked at 5 of the most common travel photography mistakes and have some advice about how to fix them.


1. Not bringing the right photography kit

Whether you’ve got too much stuff with you or not enough, not having the right photography kit can be a disaster when you’re on your travels. Too much stuff and you’re likely to be weighed down by your camera bag. After a day of sightseeing, chances are you’ll be too exhausted to take your camera out of the bag.

A little bit of research before you go will help you decide which lenses to take – a 50mm and telephoto lens should suit most scenarios.

Tip: Don’t forget to bring a spare memory cards and batteries with you


2. It’s far too bright outside

Unless you’re an early riser, you’ll most likely take most of your photos during the day when the sun is overhead. Details are often bleached out by the brightness and deep shadows can creep over faces. 

One way to overcome this is to use a lens hood. It helps block some light and goes a long way to improve contrast and potential sun flares.

Another trick is to use polarised lens filter to bring out the blue in the sky – it can even help improve contrast on grey, rainy days. The middle of the day is one of the best times to take photos indoors where the rooms come alive with natural light. Stained glass windows look inspiring and alcoves look radiant when highlighted with natural light.

If you want the best light though you’ll need to get up early. The ‘golden hour’, when the sun rises and the sky is filled with light, is when you’ll take the best photos. You’ll be amazed by the difference it makes.

Tip: Turn off your camera’s automatic flash and take advantage of its low-light capabilities indoors


3. Too many people in the way

You’ve finally made it to the Taj Mahal, but you’re not the only one. Hundreds of people are there blocking the view you wanted to capture – how do you make it work? There are a few things you can do: 

  • Capture multiple photos from the same position and then remove any distractions in Photoshop 
  • Set up a tripod and take a long exposure shot – the blurred motion of people juxtaposed by the stillness of the monument is sublime 
  • Get up close and shoot from a different angle of the landmark – one that’s not as common but it’ll be more personal to you

Although people and obstacles may make you think that your photo-op is ruined, take the opportunity to get more creative and use it to your advantage.

Tip: Try using a Gorillapod or beanbag for added support when on your travels – they take up little room in your bag


4. Photos begin to look the same

You may have noticed the photos from your last holiday look the same – regardless of the landmark. Small changes to the way you frame the shot will go a long way.

Look for interesting foreground details and adjust your focal length to blur the background, or have a play with the aspect ratio to change the size of the photo to a square. There’s no need to limit yourself to standard.

Choose different angles or levels – a ground level photo of a statue will be imposing and more interesting than one taken at eye-level.

Tip: Take plenty of photos wherever you go – you might just find a true gem among them


5. Too many reflections

You’ve hopped on one of the city tour buses to escape the heat – you’d love to get some photos but you keep capturing reflections in the windows and ruining your pictures.

Once again the polariser filter is your go-to accessory. Simply screw the filter on top of your lens and then turn until you no longer see any reflection. If you don’t have a filter with you, you could try to remove them afterwards using editing software Photoshop or Lightroom. You may not want to get rid of all of the reflections though – sometimes they add to the story.

If you’re just getting started with photography, try using Photoshop Elements to give your pictures a professional quality. Make quick edits or use the step-by-step instructions to guide you through.

Get Photoshop Elements 14 

More serious photographer? Take your photos up a gear with Adobe Photoshop Creative Cloud and access Adobe's entire collection of creative apps for Mac, PC, smartphone and tablet – including Photoshop, Illustrator and Premiere Pro.

Check out Adobe Creative Cloud

Looking to upgrade your shots? Find the perfect camera for your travels