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{Tips} If nothing else, take these 3 photographs on your travels

When we first started taking photos on our travels, we didn’t have fancy cameras and were definitely not “professional travel photographers”. We did however aspire to take great photos without having to take professional photography courses and carry thousands of dollars worth of camera equipment with us. We identified a “shortcut” to get at least 3 great photos on our travels and we hope this can help you too!

At the very least, we figured we couldn’t go wrong by taking the following 3 photos at each of our travel destination:

  1. Postcard Shot
  2. Different Perspective Shot
  3. Storytelling Shot


Postcard Shot

Professional photographers have probably spent a ton of time taking the picture perfect postcard shot of a travel destination. They’ve already done the “groundwork” for you – identifying the best shot for a location. So, stop by a souvenir store, take a look at the postcards on the rack and pick a few that you like. You can do the same by browsing image results on search engines. Now, all you need to do is to take a similar photo as the one you saw on the postcard/online image search results.

For example, the following are our “postcard shots”:

“Postcard Shot” at Taj Mahal.

“Postcard shot” at Kyoto Nijo Castle in Kyoto. We saw this on a postcard and learnt of this “angle” at the castle that makes for a great photo.

“Postcard shot” at Kinkakuji in Kyoto. We saw a postcard with an image of this structure from a similar angle.

Different Perspective Shot

A good 2nd photo to take is one from a “different perspective”. To do this, challenge yourself to take a shot from a “different perspective”.  Consider:

  1. Get Lower – Kneel, get on your knees, get on your stomach, angle your camera upwards, take a flight of stairs down etc…
  2. Get Higher Up – Climb up to a higher location, stand on a ledge, angle your camera downwards, take a photo while on your plane ride etc…
  3. Turn Around – Don’t forget to turn around! Too often we take photos of what’s in front of us but forget to take a moment, turn around and look at the scenery that is behind us.
  4. Black & White – When you see a lot of architecture details and interesting textures, consider taking a black & white photo.
  5. Framing – See your shot through a different “frame”. You can frame your shots using branches, holes in the wall, window frames etc…
  6. Zoom in – Zoom in or take a step forward. See your subject in more detail.
  7. Illusions – Play with illusions. You know, those pictures where people seem to be pushing on the Leaning Tower of Pisa?
  8. Go Elsewhere – Find a different location away from where all the tourists are.


The things we do for a good photo…

This is Jeremy on his side, trying to take a “different perspective” shot!

Here are examples of “different perspective” shots we’ve taken on our travels:

“Different Perspective” shot at Taj Mahal. We walked off to the far right of the garden where there were no tourists and took this shot by standing between two large trees.

“Different Perspective” shot at Leh while visiting Shanti Stupa. We specifically looked for the view of the city of Leh when we were up high at Shanti Stupa. We did not just focus on taking pictures of Shanti Stupa but instead looked for photo opportunities of another location while up high. We then brought out the details of the picture using HDR processing.

Storytelling Shot

When you get home from your travels, what is the ONE picture you can show friends and family and tell a ‘story’ about? What is that one picture that you would be able to show and storytell a year or five years from now? That’s the “storytelling shot” you need to take. It doesn’t have to epitomize the ENTIRE trip or the entire travel destination. It just has to be the one shot that has a story associated with it.

Here are examples of our “storytelling shots”:

“Storytelling Shot” at Taj Mahal. We will never forget how the Carnelian gemstone glowed when we put our flashlight against it. This is the one shot we will continue to tell stories of every time someone asks us what’s a “must see” while at Taj Mahal!

“Storytelling Shot” at Kiyomizudera in Kyoto. To this day, we still talk about how delicious the tofu and the udon we had at Kiyomizudera was.


We hope you find these “3 basic shots” tip helpful! To further improve the photos you take, we highly recommend that you also learn some of the photography basics such as Rule of Thirds, adjusting aperture/exposure/ISO, lighting and photo editing etc…



  1. 3 basic shots to take when traveling: “Postcard shot”, “Different Perspective shot” and “Storytelling shot”
  2. Take “postcard shots” by browsing postcards at souvenir stores, browsing images of the location online and looking at any pictures about the location that you’ve seen before.
  3. Take “different perspective shots” by changing your position. Take a few steps forward than you normally would, get lower, get higher etc…
  4. Take “storytelling shots” by taking that one picture with which you will have a story to tell when you show it to your friends and family.
  5. PHOTOGRAPHY TIP: To further edit your photos, you can consider using Lightroom and for HDR effects, use Photomatix.
  6. PHOTOGRAPHY GEAR: On our travels, we use a Nikon D700 with a Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 prime lens and Nikkor 16-35mm f/4 Wide Angle lens. We also carry our Leica D-Lux 5 for those point and shoot moments. Other point & shoot cameras we recommend and like include the Panasonic Lumix LX-5 and the Canon S95.


Do you have tips on how to take great photos while on your travels? Are there any tried and true ways to get great shots that you’d like to share?



  1. Michael Figueiredo
    August 18, 2011 Reply

    These are great tips, thanks for sharing! I do the same thing–find the shots that are on postcards and try to duplicate them. 🙂
    Michael Figueiredo recently posted..The World of Coca-ColaMy Profile

  2. Michael Figueiredo ( August 18, 2011 Reply

    Great tips for travel photography from idelish!

  3. James Penner ( August 18, 2011 Reply

    Take these 3 photos on your vacation: #photography

  4. Faith McKay ( August 17, 2011 Reply

    Some smart travel photo advise! RT @grachececilio {Tips} If nothing else, take these 3 photographs on your travels

  5. Faith August 17, 2011 Reply

    I haven’t really thought about this before, but it is excellent and well though out advice 🙂 I love my “story telling” shots and after I take my more obvious postcard shot, I’m always wiggling around trying for different perspectives. Well put!
    Faith recently posted..Achievement Unlocked: ChopsticksMy Profile

  6. Christy & Kali ( August 17, 2011 Reply

    {Tips} If nothing else, take these 3 photographs on your travels via @Idelish <– Helpful & great #photos, as per usual

  7. This is really helpful! I particularly appreciate the suggestion to take photos that tell a story; unfortunately I think we get stuck in the “postcard” mode, so time to branch out a little. 🙂
    Christy recently posted..This Art Makes No Sense… but the Scones are Delicious (Tate Modern)My Profile

  8. Grace August 16, 2011 Reply

    Jeremy, I like the idea for this post. Interesting and useful photo tips. Plus your photos are truly amazing!! The perspective shots are ones I need to work on myself.
    Grace recently posted..Manila Revealed: Testimonials on Why the World’s Most Misunderstood City RocksMy Profile

  9. Graciel Cecilio ( August 16, 2011 Reply

    {Tips} If nothing else, take these 3 photographs on your travels

  10. Idelish ( August 16, 2011 Reply

    Thx guys 4 the RT U guys rock// @NVRguys: Another GREAT one from @idelishTravel photo taking tips: #photography #travel

  11. Lisa
    August 16, 2011 Reply

    I love these tips, and I had to laugh when I saw the photo of Jeremy taking the perspective photo. I will use these tips on my next trip, I too am always trying to learn to take better shots.
    Lisa recently posted..Out of My Comfort ZoneMy Profile

    • Author

      LOL – I have an entire folder full of shot of Jeremy doing his “different perspective” shot. You’d have a good laugh if I published it all 🙂 Best of luck in trying out these tips! Don’t forget to share them – we’re looking forward to your next post!
      Idelish (Jeremy & Shirlene) recently posted..{India} Juleh, the Magic Word in LehMy Profile

  12. Alfee August 16, 2011 Reply

    I try to take the postcard shots the least. They don’t invoke much emotion when you look at them. Storytelling shots are the best, definitely. But it takes some practice before you spot such photo opportunities.

  13. NoVacationRequired ( August 16, 2011 Reply

    Another GREAT one from @idelishTravel – photo taking tips: #photography #travel

  14. Kent @ No Vacation Required
    August 16, 2011 Reply

    This is awesome and so helpful for people like us who are really trying to focus on improving our photos. Thank you!

    Those noodles look great, by the way!
    Kent recently posted..Every Action CountsMy Profile

  15. Debbie Beardsley ( August 15, 2011 Reply

    {Tips} If nothing else, take these 3 photographs on your travels

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