25 Travel Photography Secrets Revealed

Welcome to the wonderful world of travel photography!

Are you a travel enthusiast? Do you love taking images thru your camera lenses? Or both? Why not?! As Susan Sontag puts it, travel becomes a strategy for accumulating photographs. Or maybe you’re this person who’s been drooling over stunning travel photos shared throughout social media and for a moment it leaves you in awe, then suddenly low self-esteem strikes from behind leaving you doubtful with your own feelings of inadequacy (e.g., lifeless photo, lack of skills, wrong timing, poor cam quality, etc).

Hey! Fret not ‘coz the “BiyaHeroes” are here to save you from trouble. With all those impressive Instagram feeds and rosters of rad travel photos, these PROs would make you wish to know the answers to the gripping question: “How to be YOU po?”

Let’s take a cue from this list of “Master Snappers” as they share their secrets in taking striking travel photographs in their respective genres.

1. General Landscape
It is the most common genre of photography as it typically involves presence of a scenic landscape (or waterscape) and capture the grandeur of what you see. Its goal is to recollect a personal observation while in the outdoors, especially when traveling.

Featuring the crystal clear water of Basul Island 🏝

A post shared by Em Smith (@emsmithcb) on

BiyaHero: Em Smith Balaba (@emsmithcb)
Camera used: Iphone 6
Camera setting: Normal (Automatic)
Editing App: VSCO filter no.07 & basic adjustments
Pro tips: The right angle is usually just in front of you. Apply some photography techniques (e.g., the Rule Of Thirds) and focus on the element you want to highlight ~ sky, sand, sea or the boat.

2. Astrophotography
If you enjoy stargazing visually, then you might be interested in shooting the night sky as well. With astrophotography, cosmic-imaging is possible as you can discover spectacular wonders of the universe such as the Milky Way!


A post shared by Ed Lim (@edlimsanity) on

BiyaHero: Ed Lim (@edlimsanity)
Camera Used: Fujifilm xt10, samyang 12mm high aperture lens (f2.8 to f1.4)
Camera Setting(s): 12mm, f2, iso1000, 20s
Editing App: Adobe photoshop lightroom, Color Efex Pro (google nik collection)
Pro Tips: To achieve this kind of shot, put your camera on your tripod facing south west direction under a starry, moonless sky,  away from the city with no nearby lights coming from houses or street. It is also season dependent (e.g., during summer, appears at dawn while you can see it around 7pm this rainy season).  Image post-processing is a must.

3. Light Trails
Master the technique of crafting with light by photographing passing vehicles. Shoot light streaks and traffic trails and make the city come alive at night.

River of lights. #lighttrails #HuaweiP9 #HuaweiP9Ph #OO #Thenewchoice

A post shared by Will (@willjr42) on

BiyaHero: Wilfredo Lenterna, Jr. (@willjr42)
Camera Used: Huawei P9
Camera Setting(s): ISO 64, S: 23.87s, F:2.2
Editing App: Lightroom mobile
Pro Tips: Go to places that hasn’t been photographed many times before. Take time to observe that environment and find unique and interesting subject to shoot such as passing vehicles. Pay attention to the lighting and with the right camera settings, you’ll be able to perfect this river of light shot. While some of us are shooting with mobile phones, bring with you accessories like tripod, remote shutter, lens, etc. to maximize the capabilities of your phone.

4. Flat Lay
Flat Lays are classic and simple  ways to highlight your favorite objects taken in a manner of shooting ’em from above the layout. But sometimes, few people managed to bring their endgame to the next level.

BiyaHero: Miguel G. Abas, Jr (@vivomigsgee)
Camera Used: GoPro Hero 4 Silver
Camera Setting(s): Time Lapse (2 seconds interval)
Editing App: Snapseed
Pro Tips: Just lie down flat and position the camera parallel to you. You cannot do this shot alone so seek assistance from your travel buddy and let him/her hold the action camera for you. We were lucky enough to be the first one to take world-class images with the celosia fields in Sirao (unlike the “unnatural” view today).

Disclaimer: No flowers were harmed during this photoshoot.

5. Light Painting
Also called light drawing, this photographic technique is a fun thing to do while moving a hand-held light source taking into consideration a long exposure setting.

. The Sonic . Bethesda Fountain, Central Park,NY

A post shared by Marron Martinez🚦 (@alaehsimarron) on

BiyaHero: Marron Martinez (@alaehsimarron)
Camera Used: Canon Rebel T3
Camera Setting(s): f/8, 25 secs,ISO-100, 18 mm
Editing App: Snapseed
Pro Tips: This picture was taken at Bethesda Fountain at Central Park, NY. To achieve this shot, first you need to prepare the basic materials (i.e., Steel wool, dog chain, lighter or match and whisk). Find a dark area to set up your steel wool (000 or 0000 grade). Loosen the steel wool before you put it inside the whisk. As you start the fire, walk slowly while twirling around the dog chain. Make sure you start from a small circle and gets bigger as you walk forward to your camera. Always have a steady hand rotation to achieve a nice circle motion. Keep your elbow close to your waist.

6. Action & Adventure
Action-based activities requires a challenging  task of capturing sharp and detailed images full of excitement and adrenaline. This kind of photography relies on speed, timing and a little bit of luck.

BiyaHero: JM Yap (@findingjmyap)
Camera Used: Gopro Hero 4/ Iphone 6s +
Camera Setting(s): 12MP/Wide Burst Shot 10/3sec Protune On (depends on the weather)
Editing App: Snapseed
Pro Tips: JUST DON’T TAKE ONE SHOT. By taking more than one shot you increase your chances of getting the ideal photo that you’re looking for and you don’t have to worry about any blurry or out of frame images especially when you’re traveling alone.Test out different angles and vantage points to see how the images turn out. That way once you leave on your trip you will be able to take incredible shots. Just have fun and remember you’re telling a story.

7. Sunset
One of the most common nature photography element that gives a dramatic effect and color to the picture is the sunset. Who wouldn’t love the gorgeous view of fiery sunset?

BiyaHero: Jack Ponpon (@jak73)
Camera Used: iPad 3
Camera Setting(s): Normal (Automatic)
Editing App: DeluxeFX App + Snapseed
Pro Tips: Gazing at the vibrant colors of the sunset at the beach has always fascinated me. For years of engaging myself in photography, I kinda figured out one of the few ways to capture a stunning sunset photograph. For me, to achieve a good picture, you also have to capture your subject in a different perspective and apply the Element of Balance (in Arts) to your photograph. As an avid sunset chaser, I always want to achieve a perfect reflection of my subject especially if it’s low tide. I typically position my camera as close to the water as possible at a considerable distance and slightly tilt it upwards just enough to capture my subject and its reflection. And that gives a powerful impression to your subject, complementing its jaw-dropping background. Yet you should be mindful of your gadget, a water-resistant one would be much better. It’s hard to predict if there will be a sunset nor will it be low tide, it’s always different every single day. Think of a concept and creativity visualize it in your mind, nature has provided you everything, so once you’re already in the field, it’s up to you to look for that shot. So snap it and good luck!!!

8. Aerial
Taking photographs of the ground (or an island or other subjects) from an elevated/ direct-down position (top view) with the use of air-based/ flying platform such as drones.

BiyaHero: Ashley Yee (@ashleyyeee_)
Camera Used: DJI Phantom 3 Advance
Camera Setting(s): Aperture  – 2.0; Exposure – 1/1250; ISO – 100
Editing App: Premiere Pro CC
Pro Tips: Flying a drone can be tricky, but sometimes, it’s all about the timing. There are instances that you wouldn’t expect your shots to turn out as good as it did. Secondly, trust your vision. Make your individual choices according to your vision, ideas and concept. It starts before you even grab your camera and vision is more about you. And lastly, build your skills and push your potential, since learning is a continuous process.

9. Wildlife
A genre of photography concerned with documenting various forms of wildlife in their natural habitat. Patience is the name of the game for this kind of photography simply because wild animals are going to do what they’re going to do.

BiyaHero: Hans Seiter (@hans_seiter)
Camera Used: Canon EOS 1D Mark IV
Camera Setting(s):  ISO 250 | EV 0 | F 5.6 | 400mm L lens
Editing App: Photoshop
Pro Tips:  It needs a lot of patience to take a good shot of this species. A blue whale spends most of its time underwater so you must be attentive and quick when it goes to surface to breathe. I used a high speed continuous shot so I don’t miss any moment while she’s on the surface. Blue Whale spends about 20 minutes cruising underwater so we don’t know where to wait for her next surfacing. By the time we heard a loud blow coming from this biggest mammal on earth, we then tried moving closer so we could get a good shot. But not close than 100 meters because of some protocols. Sometimes, she goes swimming near our rubber boat that has almost the same size of her tail. It was a very exciting moment and scary at the same time. In a wild life photography, risks are everywhere. But these can be avoided by taking precautionary measures as safety is always the first priority.

10. #GoHole / Framing
This technique draws more attention to the subject by framing it up with a hole, usually a structural frame (windows or arches), objects (salbabida or even hands) or natural enclosure (sand or water).

Water bending has never been this fun! 😑👋💦

A post shared by Miguel Gee Abas, Jr. (@vivomigsgee) on

BiyaHero: Miguel G. Abas, Jr (@vivomigsgee)
Camera Used: GoPro Hero 4 Silver
Camera Setting(s): Burst Mode at a rate of 30 Photos/1 sec
Editing App: Snapseed
Pro Tips: Taking this photo is very challenging. Have to set my GoPro to burst mode while lying in the sand facing the waves of the ocean. Ask someone to hold the GoPro for you while he/she is hitting it against the incoming waves. It takes a lot of trial and error so better be patient if you really want to achieve this kind of shot. Make sure to review your photos to check whether you’re satisfied with the results. If not, then repeat from the start until you feel good about it.

11. Portrait/ Culture
A candid image of a tribal individual cuts across all political and national boundaries, it transcends the constraints of language and culture. And it’s quaintly beautiful!

#Tnalak weaving still continues when we visited the weaving center of the late weaving master Lang Dulay. We came accross Sibulan Dulay who gladly welcomed us and showed us how t'nalak was being done. ⠀ LAKE SEBU South Cotabato, Mindanao Philippines ⠀ VIN ARANAS © 2016 ⠀ @instagram @natgeo @natgeotravel @natgeocreative #natgeo #natgeoyourshot #travelgram #travelstoke @tourismPHL #LakeSebu #SouthCotabato #Cotabato #VisitSoCCSKSarGen #SoxPh #Mindanao #Philippines #ItsMoreFunInThePhilippines #VisitPhilippinesAGAIN2016 #beautifuldestinations #woogoph #explorephmag #EPSnapshot #SinoPinas #CNNtravel @ChoosePhilippines #ChoosePhilippines #The_PH #CEBtravels #MySmileSnap #tripBeFeatured #WTNadventures #TraluluPhilippines #GoASEAN #pinasmuna

A post shared by Kevin Tristan | Philippines (@kevintristan.espiritu) on

BiyaHero: Vin Aranas (@vin_aranas87)
Camera Used: Nikon D750, 85mm prime lens
Camera Setting(s): TBF
Editing App: Lightroom
Pro Tips: I was fascinated with the beauty of sunset and that starts my love for photography. I am a mobile photographer by then and instagramming was a hot thing for us. I started sharing my works on Instagram where I was recognized by several groups or hubs until I shift to using a DSLR. Then my love for travel started until I was discovered by tourism and became one of their ambassadors of fun. Through that short stint, I was able to share and contribute my stories from my travels. Throughout my work, I made sure that I will win my viewers’ attention by giving life on every photo I took. My secret is simple, just capturing real emotions. Candid ones are best.

Go ahead and explore. Professional photos were just once like you. Everything in photography can be learned – be it yourself or through others.”

12. Night/ Lowlight
Involving a lot of long exposures, patience is key to this kind of photography. It is usually taken outdoors (usually cityscapes) at night (occurs between dusk and dawn).

BiyaHero: Hoover Nempa (@hoovs07)
Camera Used: Canon EOS 700D
Camera Setting(s): iso:100, f:22: shutter speed: 8″, -2 exposure, with tripod
Editing App: Snapseed, VSCO
Pro Tips:  Better when there is a remote and set the shutter speed to BULB. Make sure to use tripod to to prevent your pictures from looking blurry.

13. Falls/ Nature
Love waterfalls? This most photographed subject has grabbed the hearts and minds of outdoorsmen. Learn this trick of capturing a stunning foamy falls photo.

BiyaHero: Jhan Keith Javar (@j_kitoy)
Camera Used: Nikon D700
Camera Setting(s): Aperture – F/22; Shutter Speed – 2-3 seconds; ISO – 150
Editing App: Snapseed
Pro Tips:  Use a tripod for steady capturing of the moving subject. Set the camera setting into manual (e.g., lower shutter speed) to give a smooth and silky effect of the waterfallBest time of the day to take nature photographs is during morning or late afternoon as sunlight gives you a soft glow of the scene. Don’t dwell too much on the waterfall itself. It is more dramatic if you include the surroundings such as rocks, flowers, grass or trees as a frame of the picture to add color and creates a pleasing view.

14. Look-up
Watch while the sky is falling! It refers to all photographs with the main subject suspended above the grounds while illustrating interaction with its surroundings. It is the exact opposite of flat lay.

BiyaHero: Miguel G. Abas, Jr (@vivomigsgee)
Camera Used: GoPro Hero 4 Silver
Camera Setting(s): Burst at a rate of 30 Photos/1 sec
Editing App: Snapseed
Pro Tips: This is just one of the best examples of trying out unprecedented angles and fresh perspectives. Look for a place with lots of uniformly lined trees or tall buildings or cascading waterfalls and put your camera on the ground facing above. The subject is usually portrayed from an unconventional vantage point bringing some cool perspective to the photo. Most of the time, your best shot may come from the most unconventional angles and timing. And you may have to rely on pure luck to get a perfect shot.

15. Motion
Photography in general is about freezing time yet in a motion photography, it shows an exception, somehow elongating time, thus creating movement in a still image.

BiyaHero: Michael Joe Medina (@joe.my.god)
Camera Used: iPhone 6 Plus
Camera Setting(s): Burst Mode
Editing App: Snapseed, Picsart
Pro Tips:  When using smartphone camera to capture motion, one must bear in mind that you have limited (or most of the time, zero) control of the cam’s shutter speed thus a single pic may not suffice to perfectly capture the action. In these cases, burst shots play an important role. Be sure to find the perfect angle then ‘burst away’. Be sure to select only the best shot that captures the perfect shot of elements bending.

16. Street/ Urban Architecture
It features direct chance encounters and random incidents within public places or contemporary images of buildings and edifice.

BiyaHero: Ian George Ruedas (@ian_george)
Camera Used: iPhone6s
Camera Setting(s): Normal
Editing App: Snapseed
Pro Tips: Since my target is to achieve a reflection effect. After the rain I prepared my phone and snapped series of shots. It’s difficult to focus a moving subject. Perfect timing and multiple clicks. I did not use burst because there’s a tendency that the subject may be blurred. I waited for 5 mins and ran to standby in this position. Then this Kalesa passed by which I believe is a perfect subject to add more historical vibe to the street. I didn’t capture the entire scene (e.g., almost half of the kalesa and the building) on the water reflection since I wanted my viewers to think what’s the whole picture is about. To add creativity, I turned the picture upside down. ?

17. Go Throw
Can’t afford drones? #GoThrow is the cheapest alternative for aerial photography.

BiyaHero: Miguel Abas, Jr. (@vivomigsgee)
Camera Used: Go Pro Hero 4 Silver
Camera Setting(s): Time Lapse with 0.5 sec. interval (sometimes video mode)
Editing App: Snapseed
Pro Tips: I usually use #GoThrow at the tip-most part of a sandbar or while atop the highest peak of a mountain depicting buwis-buhay shots. It is difficult to execute as the pole will constantly turn around no matter how you carefully throw it above. But the secret there is to set it into video mode so that everything is captured even when the camera is spinning uncontrollably up in the air. Just grab a photo image of your desired angle from the video while replaying it on your mobile/computer.

18. Underwater
Dive deep into the ocean and make some awesome underwater discovery. Offering exciting and rare photographic opportunities, underwater photography is usually done while scuba diving.

BiyaHero: Angel Juarez (@thelakwatsero)
Camera Used: GoPro Hero 4 Silver
Camera Setting(s): Default
Editing App:  Instagram
Pro Tips: Everything happens so fast underwater so it is best to be ready at all times. The pressure, the depth and the unsteadiness make it hard to operate or set the camera to a specific setting specially if you are using an action camera so I rely on the default to capture as many vivid underwater images as posible. Deep below, when you do not have strobes and highend underwater cameras and equipments, light is your best friend. So stay in the shallow area of the reefs where there’s an abundance of light source, afterall this where the actions are. I also use red filter to compensate for the lack of red light underwater.

On editing, I always rely on Instagram which is a pretty good photo editing tool. I avoid the filters and adjust manually the Lux, Brightness, Contrast, Warmth, Highlight, Saturation, Shadow and Sharpness.

19. Macro
Executed thru an extreme close-up photography, it is about bringing out the detail of your subject by displaying small items larger than life size.

🌇The Loner In London Series🌃 "Never Alone" – This is probably my last "Loner In London" photo for now because I'm still waiting for my new camera! I've been in London for two months and so far, although I feel homesickness once in a while, the feeling of loneliness is slowly fading. I'm excited for greater things to come! Have a beautiful Saturday, everyone!🌻🌻🌻 ■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■ #london #england #thisislondon #europe #visitlondon #greatbritain #streetphotography #kewgardens #unitedkingdom #travelphotography #beautifuldestinations #worlderlust #worldplaces #visual_heaven #FotografiaUnited #instatravel #huffpostgram #bbctravel #cnntravel #gothere #canon #travelgram #mycanon #lonelyplanet #lpfanphoto

A post shared by 🇵🇭Cyrus John Malonzo🇵🇭 (@the_boy_who_leaves) on

BiyaHero: Cyrus John Malonzo (@the_boy_who_leaves)
Camera Used: Canon 60D
Camera Setting(s): Shutter Speed – 1/250; Aperture – f4; ISO – 200
Editing App: Adobe Lightroom
Pro Tips: Whenever I take shots of flowers, I always try to have a better perspective and set my camera angle as low as possible instead of looking down. I then pick just one special flower which for me stands out among the rest and I focus on it to make the others look blur. If you still have time and there’s a bee or butterfly around, try to be patient in waiting and add them to your frame to give your image a more sense of place. ?

In terms of editing, I do not sharpen it so much because it should look as soft as possible (which is why flowers are lovely in the first place!). I add some vibrance as well but less editing on saturation.

20. Split
Also known as over-unders photography wherein half (or portion) of the photo is above water.

BiyaHero: Miguel G. Abas, Jr (@vivomigsgee)
Camera Used: GoPro Hero 4 Silver
Camera Setting(s): Time Lapse
Editing App: Snapseed
Pro Tips: What is special about this over-unders shot is that I didn’t use a dome. I just positioned my GoPro right in the middle of the water line to create a split-level underwater photo.  And oh, this shot is dramatically taken inside a natural cave pool with an otherworldly vibe of the stalactites while floating in its clear sapphire-hue waters. Though it is tricky, achieving this shot is best taken with a dome port.

21. Black and White /  Monochrome
Black and white photography is a very romantic medium highlighting only black and white hues  (and some grayscales too).

BiyaHero: Ben Salutan (@bentoterns)
Camera Used: Nikon D7000
Camera Setting(s): Aperture -f/4; Exposure – 1/40 sec; Speed – ISO 200
Editing App: Adobe PS 6.0 & VSCO (for the black and white version)
Pro Tips: Play with light and shadow. Increased contrast adds drama in a photograph. – if possible, use wide angle lens to exaggerate depth. also great in producing stunning landscapes – expose for highlights. In a tricky lighting situation, you can save more details in a photograph when the exposure is based on the lighter areas of the scene. It is easier to retrieve details from darker areas than from clipped highlights

22. Fashion
This genre of photography is not just devoted to displaying clothing and other fashion items as either an artistic expression or promotional advertisement, but it is also about strutting your OOTDs during travel.

BiyaHeroes: Aizey Kim (@aizeecream) & Van Navarro (@vansquared32)
Camera Used: Nikon D90 + Tokina 11-16mm
Camera Setting(s): f2.8; ISO 100; 1/200 sec
Editing App: Picasa 3
Pro Tips:  Teamwork is key. The photographer directs the model what to do while the model must trust and listen to the photographer. Both should exude trust and confidence while having fun. And oh, the Hair & Make-up Artist must be equally given credits too. =)

23. Food
AhHh! Craving for your comfort food? Travel creates a well-rounded food lover! Bring out the foodie in you while food crawling must-try delicacies from town to town or indulge in a mouth watering shots of food to satisfy both your visual and gastronomical delight!

#fujifilm #fujixa2 #fujimirrorless #mirrorlessrevolution #fujixseries

A post shared by U-J Almocera (@ujalmocera) on

BiyaHero: Ulysses John Almocera (@ujalmocera)
Camera Used: fuji x-a2
Camera Setting(s): f/22 0.77 sec exposure time ISO-200 focal length 32mm 3.6 max apperture
Editing App: No filter for this photo. (Selective and sharpening are my favorite features of snapseed. I only use them when needed)
Pro Tips: Do not be afraid to experiment with your camera settings to get your desired results. Move as close as you can to the food and try different angles. Be mindful of the colors of your subject and pick a background that makes the colors pop. Make sure that your photos are not far from what’s on the menu to avoid any reputational backlash. Food photography should be appetizing but not deceiving.

24. Group
The people you travel with can make or break your trip. But with adaptation of the group dynamics, traveling in group can create a lasting memory in each others hearts. And with this BiyaHero, he believes it’s more important to click with people than to click the shutter.

“Travel becomes a strategy for accumulating photographs.” – Susan Sontag I had the extreme privilege of meeting online friends via instagram.the online friendship became a flourishing personal relationship filled with non-stop adventure, long trips and unlimited photoshoots.we have instagram to thank for for providing an avenue to express creativity thru pictures, meet new people and share adventures.i can't imagine if i'll ever visit the places i've been to lately without these fun-loving people.cheers to more stess-free,fun-filled,laughter inducing and creativity inspiring trips. Meet my circle of travelling adventure loving friends who i spent the weekend with in Masbate. Our version of the #wwim13 #lifeonearthwwim13

A post shared by William Clemente (@willianism09) on

BiyaHero: William Clemente (@willianism09)
Camera Used: GoPro Hero 4 Silver
Camera Setting(s): Normal (Default) with remote
Editing App: Snapseed
Pro Tips:  Be clear with your concept.  Set your expectations with your models/ mowdels before shooting. Be patient. Group shots can be frustrating at times especially if your models don’t get the concept you want.  The people in the shot shouldn’t be the only interesting element in the picture.  Find a captivating background, a vibrant color or a textured structure but don’t let it outshine your main subject.  And most importantly, have fun!  Your attitude while taking the shot comes across the photo.

 25. Silhouette
When traveling, there’s always a time when you’re bored or worse, stranded in your accommodation due to circumstances beyond our control. Maximize your time by trying this Do-It-Yourself silhouette shot, courtesy of this “human edge artist”.

BiyaHero: Junfer Tecson (@iamjumper)
Camera Used: Iphone 5
Camera Setting(s): Normal/ Self-Timer
Editing App: Snapseed and Pixlr
Pro Tips: For a DIY silhouette photography like this, all you need is a white curtain, a good lighting (gloomy weather is perfect), something to mount your camera on (a tripod or a cabinet in my case) and then let your creative imagination work. With a little tweak from the editing apps (double exposure), and voila! Who would have thought that’s just all me in the picture ?

Or consider doing a manipulation shot like this one. Smokey!

There you have it aspiring travel photographers!

It’s quite a list of expert opinions but passion is really key to achieve that dream “travel photo” of yours. If you are not convinced yet, here are some of the alternative ways to benchmark your photography skills with the techniques of other travel photographers:

  • follow & join entertainment hubs in IG (Fotografia United, Curation Nation, etc.)
  • join photowalk sessions or instameet activities in your respective areas
  • watch “beginners guide” photography tutorials online via select video channels
  • read tips and tricks from digital photography blogs and articles on the web

It doesn’t really matter what camera you use when taking photographs during travel. Experiment if you must and just keep shooting. As long as you have the heart to learn and open to opportunities for improvement, then pressing that shutter will take you places!

Which genre of photography do you wish to master? Do you know of any other travel photographers with unique style not included above? Feel free to leave a message or tag that friend of yours on the comment section below. Happy clicking!

16 thoughts on “25 Travel Photography Secrets Revealed

          1. Exactly my point!! You don’t have to be on top of everyone else. You just have to be yourself and continue learning from others. Personal growth/development plays a huge role in blogging. =)

Leave a Reply