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Practical Tips to Improve Your Travel Photography – They’re easy and effective too!

August 23, 2017

As the technology that goes into cameras improves, one could be forgiven for thinking that you can just sit back and relax after the photo’s taken, and by all means, you can.

Or you can do better without too much effort!

If you would like to take your holiday snaps to the next level, we suggest choosing your favourite few and running them through a program on your computer or phone to really bring out the best them.  It’s incredible what a difference spending just a minute or so on each photograph can do.

How we Bring Out the Best in our Photos

Let me start by saying, we’re not professional photographers (obviously, right?), we’re just a couple that enjoy capturing our holiday memories and sharing them with you.

We have however picked up a few simple tricks along the way to bring out the best in our photos and figure, if we can improve our photos, so can you.

Tap into Instagram

Regardless of whether we choose to post a photo to Instagram or not, this free app is our go-to editing tool.  If you see a photo on our blog, chances are we’ve run it through the photo editor on there.

Just Editing?  Flight mode’s your friend

If you’re not wanting to post your photo to Instagram, just flick your phone into flight mode.  This will disrupt your internet/data connection and when you go to publish the photo, you’ll find Instagram saves the new copy in your photo folder without publishing it to your feed.

Make sure you remember to delete out the queue though, otherwise the photos will automatically publish when you’re next online.

Lux it up!

Instagram followers a variety of different filters and though we played around with them when we first started using the app, we use one almost exclusively now – and it may be one you’re not even aware of.

Before doing anything else, I play around with the Lux option, testing out the impact that it will have on my photos.  Generally notching it up results in crisper, brighter photos with improved exposure.

From there, I sometimes go on to make additional edits, but often find that’s all a photo needs.

The ‘lux‘ filter sits apart from the rest in the app – you’ll find it on the top of the first editing screen (look for the sun icon), as opposed to sitting in the carousel below.

Other Useful Edits

If you flick over from ‘Filter’ to ‘Edit‘ on the bottom of your screen, you’ll find a series of options that all you to change one element at a time.

Not all photos require changes to be made here but I’ll sometimes use the following:

Brightness – If your photo was snapped in a dark location, a touch of brightness can make a world of difference to the details in it.

Structure – This can add definition to your photos, bringing out the details that might otherwise go unnoticed.  It’s especially well suited to architectural features and water but doesn’t always do well in photos with people.  Bumping up the structure generally increases the contrast and sharpness of an image so it can work wonders on the right photo – if you’ve already used ‘lux’ then be mindful of how much ‘structure’ you add on top.

Warmth – I don’t generally play with this setting but do find some cameras tend to produce colours skewed to being either too warm or cool (my GoPro for example), in which case I’ll do my best to correct it.

Saturation – Another one that I dont tend to use if I’ve ‘lux’ed my photos but I will sometimes amend the saturation (both up and down) so ensure my images are bright but close to life.

Vignette – Sometimes when you use ‘lux’ on your photos, some of the shadows are removed.  If this happens, I’ll sometimes add darkness back to the corners of my photo using this option.  It can also add a bit of variation to an otherwise plain blue sky and bring clouds to life.

Sharpen – Again, some cameras tend to take softer photos, in which case I’ll use the sharpen option to bring definition to the details should the picture need it.

You can do a lot by altering your photos but we always try to keep them as close as possible to what we saw with our own eyes.  Because we’re not professional photographers, we tend to shoot on ‘auto’ which means we don’t get the most out of our cameras generally speaking – by following these easy editing steps though, we find it pretty easy to bring life to our snaps and hope you’ll be able to too!

If you’re keen to see the difference some simple editing in Instagram can make, check out these examples.

As always, click to enlarge (if you want to see the details) – the first of each is the original photo and the second is the edited version.

We recon it’s worth spending a few extra moments to bring out the best in our photos – what do you think?

Looking for a great camera to up your photography game?  Check out these travel camera recommendations!


If you’ve found this post helpful, pin it so others can find it too!

An easy guide to editing travel photos on your mobile phone. Instagram is your secret editing tool to bring out the best in your vacation snaps! An easy guide to editing travel photos on your mobile phone. Instagram is your secret editing tool to bring out the best in your vacation snaps!

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3 Comments

  • Reply Jeremy August 26, 2017 at 12:02 am

    Nice tips. We love using Snapseed for our one stop shop on all things editing. It is worth touching up to gain that extra kudos from your friends!

    • Reply Sarah - Exploring Kiwis August 27, 2017 at 11:36 am

      Hi Jeremy! Thanks for your suggestion – we’ve actually played with Snapseed but find we always over-process on it! Better give it another shot 🙂

  • Reply Frederic Paulussen September 2, 2017 at 10:22 pm

    Great tips! I really should go deeper in the Instagram-editting too. (I usually use snapseed or Lightroom.

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