travel photo mistake

people ineffectively


Click blue links for all top 10 travel photo mistakes


when you photograph people

Eliminate police
lineup photos

I see too many travelers take "I was here" type pictures of their travel companions standing erect with straight faces or forced smiles.

Be a Hollywood director

Make your photos come alive by having your companions do something. For example, instruct them to examine a local curio. Or ask them to lean against a railing and chat among themselves. Possibilities are endless.

Relax your subjects

Encourage them to smile by telling them something funny. Or, simply talk with them.

Don't keep
people waiting

Many people fidget and lose their smiles if the photographer takes too much time fiddling with his camera settings. Do as much of the camera prep work as you can before people assume their posing stances.

Tell a story

An effective travel photo should tell a story. Taking a picture of your companions stiffly posing at a table in a nondescript restaurant that could be anywhere doesn't convey much of the trip.  Showing them enjoying each other's company as they dine at a table laden with ethnic dishes does do it because it captures a travel-related experience.

The same philosophy is true when taking, for example, a picture of a seller in a marketplace. The photo should show the merchant in the midst of a doing something rather than sitting idly staring at your camera.

More helpful advice on
photographing people


Sense of Place

A travel photo should include something that establishes a sense of place. Otherwise, the locale could be anywhere back home.

Full body shots

Don't capture just a portion of a person's legs (it looks awkward in photos). Leave space under the subject's feet.

Close up shots

Even better, ignore the legs all together. Shoot above the waist. The photo will illustrate more of the individual's personality.

Focus on the eyes

Show a photo of a person to someone and they instinctively first look at the eyes because they give clues about the individual's emotions and personality. That's why it is important to focus your camera on the subject's eyes.

Turn the camera

In most cases, the horizontal orientation format is best for capturing groups of 3 or more people - and the vertical format (turn the camera 90 degrees) is superior for tall objects or one to two people.

Lock in the focus

Almost all digital cameras now have the lock-in-focus feature. It lets the camera use your main subject for calculating the focus and light even though that person is standing off center.


Don't over pose. Instead, encourage a child to have fun doing what he likes, such as playing with a souvenir.

Be quick. Don't make a child wait. Start clicking right away - and take many shots to get one great one.

Photograph a child at his eye level. If you shoot peering down at him, his head will seem disproportionately large and his body, the opposite.


Don't forget to put yourself in some of your pictures. You can do it by using the camera's self-timer feature.

Or, you could ask a stranger to take the shot. But don't ask anyone to use your camera or your photo may end up tilted, unfocused or poorly composed. Look for someone with a camera who seems to know the ropes.

Warning: Watch out for a "I'll take your picture" ruse. It's common. A stranger volunteers to take a picture of you and your spouse together. How nice of him. You hand him your camera and he begins backing up (ostensibly to take your picture). Once he has created a safe distance between him and you, he turns on his heels and dashes down the street with your camera.

Last but not least,
remember common courtesy

Chances are you would find it intrusive if a foreigner came to your town and started snapping pictures of you without first asking your permission. Remember that feeling when you are about to take a picture of a stranger abroad, whether it's in a big city or at a small rural marketplace.


Also learn to avoid these
top 10 travel photo mistakes

1 - Photographing people
2 - Composing your shots
3 - Using flash
4 - Taking landscape shots
5 - After your trip
6 - Memory
7 - Camera features
8 - Batteries
9 - Lens
10-Other situations


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