How To Take the Best Travel Pics Ever: 8 Tips for Taking Photos You'll Actually Hang Up

Apartment Therapy's Guide to the Perfect Summer

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Have you been exploring this summer? What's not to love about taking a fabulous trip, snapping shots to remember it by, and then having lots of beautiful photographs to print out and choose from to hang on the walls, adding to the beauty of your home? Whether you're going near or far, some gorgeous shots of your travel surroundings are a great way to have access to affordable art and spark memories later down the road. Here are few tips to help you capture great shots this summer!

1. Don't start shooting immediately (and don't always have your eye behind a camera)
Not only is this just great travel advice, but it's great photography advice, too. Absorb and experience each place as you travel to it before you start trying to grab shots. This will help you get a better understanding of where you're visiting and might give you a better perspective on what the best subject for a photograph would be. It'll help you take some visual snapshots in your mind before you start snapping with your camera.

2. Speaking of perspective...
Unless you want all your photographs to look like posters you could get at a store, don't take the "obvious" shots of famous landmarks. Switch up your perspective by getting up close, far away, on the ground or some other fresh spot. Add your own personal twist, even if it's just a detail of a landmark or a new angle. The top photo in this post is of Key West's Southernmost point buoy, where all day you can see folks line up to snap shots in front. I chose a different angle (and didn't wait in line) and came off with a photo I liked a lot more than I would have if it was just me standing in front of it in the shot!

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3. Look for the best light
Yes, the magic hour of just after sunrise and just before sunset is definitely going to give you some gorgeous shots, but also look for really harsh sun that might create interesting and dynamic shadows. Or a really foggy or rainy day that might make landscapes seem mysterious.

4. Start early
Not only will the light be lovely as promised above, but getting to spots you want to shoot early will mean less people, so you might manage shots without people or have more of an ability to find the really interesting people shots, without having crowds crowding your compositions.
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5. Simplify compositions

Related to the idea above, when in doubt, simplify your compositions by going in for a tighter shot. Instead of trying to get an entire building in, zoom in a bit so you just get a portion of a wall or window. Sometimes trying to fit too much in can make a shot too busy. A hint of a story can be more interesting than the whole story.

6. Don't be afraid to capture the action
Depending on what type of camera you shoot with and what mode you like to shoot in, there are different ways to achieve this look. But don't be afraid of a little action blur — it'll be a lot more interesting when you're trying to capture the essence of a street scene when things that are in movement blur a bit when you take the shot instead of being frozen in time.

6. Consider a concept you carry from travel spot to travel spot
You could consider really close up shots of textures of different buildings, or shots of flowers on restaurant tables. It could be heavy-handed or subtle, but considering a common thread that weaves itself through your travel photos might make for a pretty cool art project by the time you get home.

7. Be mindful of your camera's photo quality settings
Aiming for huge large scale prints to adorn your walls in your home when you get back? Don't take the lowest quality and smallest file images so you can fit more on your memory card. Know what you will want to do with the images you take on vacation and choose the file size that works for you. Consider taking extra storage with you so you can shoot the highest quality shots you can print!

8. When all else fails, shoot what you love!
Because shooting what appeals to you —the colors, the sights, the people — will be your own way of making visual memories you can hang around your house. The kind of photos you might be able to look at after a long work week and transport yourself back to when you were behind the camera exploring and traveling!

Have you been exploring this summer already? Send us some of your favorite photos from your travels (near or far!). Tag us on social media so we can see where you've been exploring!

Visit the Guide to the Perfect Summer main page for links to all of the posts published so far or sign up to have them delivered directly to you each weekend.

(Image credits: Adrienne Breaux; Janel Laban)

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Adrienne photographs beautiful homes in and around her home base of Austin, Texas. She's a contributor to UPPERCASE Magazine and spends all her free time exploring small town Texas. She watches a lot of Star Trek.