An Insiders Guide on Taking Epic Travel Photos

Congrats, you’re on your way to an international internship! If this is your first time or your hundredth time you’ll always want to look back on your memories and well, remember. Whether you’re creating a slideshow for the fam, putting up a Facebook album, or rummaging through your photos, you’re going to want great pics for the long haul.

I’ve taken some pretty bad pictures during my international travels and TBH it’s a little depressing to look back on those awful shots. Not to mention trying to explain why you were so excited about a blurry landscape picture. In order to make sure you don’t make the same mistakes, we present you with a guide on taking pictures abroad.

Preparation: Highly Overlooked


Not enough phone storage

It seems there is no feeling worse than whipping out your camera when you’re hit with this nightmare.

Take your photos off your phone, upload them to your computer, Google Drive, Hard drive, whatever. Just get them off! You won’t need them.

Every app on your phone should serve a purpose. Like, an actual “I need this every day” purpose. Take this as a lesson in minimizing.

Try checking out Google Photos. Upload your photos to your drive when on Wi-Fi, and delete them off your device!

Do Your Research

If you know a couple major destinations you’ll be stopping at, hit up Google, Insta, and Pinterest to do some research. Get an idea of where the best photo spots are as well as angles.

Ex: Park Guell on Pinterest and Instagram

Park Guell Pinterest

Park Guell Instagram.png

Get a mobile charger

Incase Changer

You can thank me later. When you’re on a 12 hour day trip and your phone dies en route to the final destination you’ll be ecstatic to whip out your phone charger for the very last ones.

Definitely do your research, but I love how my Incase mobile charger can charge up too 100% battery, it's saved me out of some sticky situations!

Traveling Solo

Traveling Solo

It sounds a little scary, but embrace it! There are going to be times when you and your friends want to go separate ways, and you should! This is your experience. I personally like to geek out over castles but not all my friends are into that. As a result we usually split up for a bit. How can you take a quality photo if you’re by yourself? Great question: we’ve got you covered.

Try using the self timer instead of a selfie stick. Not only will you get some great candids, but you’ve now solved the problem of taking pics with tall structures.

It seems against everything we know about photos to take one from the ground up. Many of us have tried and ended up with multiple chins and giant heads. HOWEVER, there is a time and place for it. 

Angle your camera upwards to capture the whole building, stand a little ways away, and now you’ve cut out all the tourists! No more photobombers in your pics.

Lydia in Barcelona
Lydia, one of our Marketing Florence '15 Interns capturing the Sagrada Familia

Who to ask

Couple taking picture with selfie stick

The couple trying to take a photo, friends taking silly pics, etc. You see them everywhere! Best friends, honeymooners, and vacationers alike want a pic with their special someone. 

Offer to take someone’s photo, (with your new knowledge) wow them with your photo skills, and now you can comfortably ask them for a favor in return!

Common Sense Interjection

Don’t get your phone stolen! Use your common sense here. You’re going to be shy and excited all at the same time, but stop and think. Look for people who are doing the same as you: enjoying the landscape, taking pics, talking, relaxing, etc. Families are great as it’s hard to run off when you have kids, the honeymooners, the couples. Be smart here people.

Disclosure: I’ve seen people steal phones off selfie sticks! Obviously this is a worst case scenario, but be smart. Don’t extend that selfie stick to max length in a crowd full of people.

Look for the (amateur) photographers

Adjust tripod

Chances are, someone who has a decently nice camera hanging around their neck, has set up a tripod, or been there longer than you have taking pics knows what their doing.

Don’t be shy

Taking Picture

You’re all there for the same reason! Pics and memories. Don’t be afraid to give direction, most people need it.

Whoever you designate as your photographer, give them some direction: horizontal, vertical, angle, what you want out of the picture (candid), etc. I’m always glad when someone tells me what they want/what they’d like to see.

Tech Tips


Travel Solo

Turn your grid on for better centering! You may not need it, but that stranger might. How to: Settings, scroll down, keep scrolling, keep going, photos & cameras, swipe on grid.



Select HDR when taking a photo. It stands for High Dynamic Range and it will take the picture at three different exposures combined into one photo ensuring the best lighting possible! Perfect for taking a picture with a lot of light in the background.

Photo Editing


Sometimes an Insta filter doesn’t cut it. Or maybe, you don’t want to use the same filters over and over again. I recommend the app VSCO. You can use it to bring out certain colors and has it’s own photo sharing platform. (My personal fave is C3) Warning: It’s addicting!

Edit Wisely

Paris Intern exploring culture

Don’t over-saturate/filter. Let the natural beauty of the photo show for itself. It’s just like makeup, touch-up, some highlighter, a top off, and viola!

no filter gif

Show me something real like a photo with no filter on it, as told by Kendrick Lamar.

General Tips

Try not to Zoom


In fact, just pretend like it doesn’t exist. It ruins the quality, and besides, you can always crop!


Lydia exploring Germany

Try not looking at the camera. Chose your best side and stare off dreamily into the distance.

Above: What is she thinking about? How happy and carefree she is, or about that giant pretzel she just devoured at Oktoberfest.

Show off your personality

London Phone Booth Woman

Sure you’re going to want some pics of your gorgeous smile, especially if your mom is anything like my mom. However, try and capture the moment! Show your excitement and energy; those are going to be the ones you look back fondly on.

Have fun!

Lydia in Venice

Don’t worry about looking “dumb” or acting like a “typical tourist” you ARE a tourist! 

Now’s the time for silly, creative, typical, etc pictures. These are YOURS, for you to share and remember. Besides, you’re probably never going to see these other people again. If you do- they’ll remember you as having fun.

Bonus tip!


When taking a clever picture have your friend do the moving and you stay put! This will save a lot of “left a little, nope too far, a little more right, now up a little… “ you get the idea. 

Happy snapping!

Download Free Guidebook

Featured Categories

Snapchat Stories
Share Your Travel Story

Subscribe To The Global Experiences Blog

Subscribe to Email Updates