Instagram has definitely had an impact on how people travel and document their adventures. There are Instagram hot-spots all over the world, with hundreds of tourists being inspired by (or downright copying) their favorite travel influencers. It’s easy to understand! Travel bloggers have feeds full of gorgeous imagery from far-flung, exotic destinations. I have definitely made efforts to elevate my travel content over the past year. It takes a bit more planning but I think I’ve got a formula down that helps you get gram-worthy photos without compromising your vacation time.
Find an affordable professional photographer
I know it sounds like diva behavior, especially for a normal tourist, not blogger. But pro photographers are fast and know the best locations! I have found that in spending 1 hour shooting with a pro, I can get enough content to last at least a week, if not more! That means I never have to worry about bugging my friends for photos, or spend time editing while on the go. I’ve worked with professional photographers in Savannah, and most recently in Paris and it was amazing. My photos were way better than anything my friends or bf would have taken, and because pros can be faster than the average person, I was able to squeeze in multiple outfits and different locations. I usually shoot the first or 2nd day of the trip just to get it out of the way, and because the photographer may take a few days to send the pics. AirBnB Experiences is a great place to jumpstart your search, and I’ve also had luck on Groupon Goods when browsing in the US!
Plan Your Outfits Accordingly
Instagram photo magic doesn’t just happen! Half the battle is having the photographer, and the other half is the person in the picture. If you don’t feel comfortable wearing something glam or eyecatching when traveling, just bring extra photo shoot outfits so you can change just for pictures. If you are shooting with a friend, try to coordinate but not 100% match, and don’t forget to finish your look with the right hair/makeup.
Practice Art Directing Before You Have Someone Shoot You
If you can’t find a pro or don’t think it’s worth the cost, you can still get amazing travel photos from your friend/travel buddy or other tourists if you are alone. In most touristy sites, you’ll see people or couples taking pics of each other or trying to take selfies. I usually offer to take one for them, then ask them to take one for me. Before I hand them my camera, I demonstrate exactly how I want the image framed and place it in their hands at that exact angle. I know it’s nitpicky, but that ensures I get the image I want, instead of someone’s random interpretation. Half the time they nail it, and half the time they move the camera and miss my angle, or something else goes wrong and I hate the picture. In that case I politely thank them, wait a few minutes until they leave, then try again with someone else. This can take a few tries, but I’ve really never waited more than 10 minutes at a popular tourist site to get the perfect photo.
Pack Your Tripod and Shoot Yourself
I love playing with self-portraits! I always pack my tripod when I travel solo, mostly for cute hotel room shots or if I’m staying at a resort with lots of good photo ops on the grounds. Before you pull out a tripod in a public area or tourist spot, double check the rules. A lot of places, especially rooftops don’t allow them, and you also want to make sure it’s a safe place to set it up. Use your judgement on that front! I usually prefer to pull it out in areas that are quiet enough that I can get a good shot without people staring at me like I’m crazy, but still have a decent amount of foot traffic so I won’t worry about anyone grabbing my camera. Again, use your judgement before trying this approach, and above all make sure it is safe!
Let me know how you guys get travel photos where you are off to next!