4 Simple and Effective Ways to Improve Your Travel Photography Portraits

Although most of us cannot travel due to COVID-19, we can still work on our photography skills. Let’s not waste time complaining about travel restrictions and improve portraiture skills instead.

How to take amazing portrait shots? How to master the art of post-processing? Which camera is the best choice for portraiture? Answers to all these questions are very important for a beginner, so keep reading and you will discover a ton of helpful tips. 

4 Tips To Improve Travel Photography Portraits

Be Nice and Respectful

First of all, bear in mind that you are a visitor to this country and you have to be respectful. Research the cultural norms of the place you are visiting before approaching people. Try to build a rapport with your models before shooting them. It is important since you want them to be themselves, to relax, and enjoy the process. 

Secondly, be kind and respectful, don’t forget that an open smile opens many doors. It is the best way to charm someone and let them know that you are no danger to them.

When you approach a stranger, smile, greet them, and pay them a compliment. It is important to remember that before taking out your camera and making your future models feel uncomfortable you should engage in a small conversation to help them get in the mood.

Ask them about themselves, their lifestyle and traditions, tell them what you like about their country and culture. Take a genuine interest in their stories and create a comfortable atmosphere for them. 

travel photographer

Choose the Right Camera

As you will be on the road, the best choice you can make is a small portable camera that you can take anywhere. It should not be very expensive either, since while you are in a foreign country by yourself, the last thing you want to worry about is getting robbed.

For example, Sony A7R III might be a great decision since it’s very small and light yet very powerful. On top of that, choose the right lenses – every photographer appreciates the importance of suitable lenses.

For travel photography, you should go for a small depth of field which means a smaller range of focus. Additionally, choose fast lenses that allow you to let more light in your shot. 

Alternatively, use your smartphone camera. Considering how much they have improved in the last decade, you can take professional photos with them. With modern phone cameras, you can shoot telephoto or select a wide-angle if needed. 

Finally, whichever camera or smartphone you purchase, make sure to learn all its ins and outs. You should know your weapon as the back of your hand and be knowledgeable about its features, strengths, and weaknesses. 

Himalaya Shelphard Himachal

Appreciate the Value of Post-Processing

Post-processing is a crucial step for every photographer, especially, if you shoot outdoors. The lighting is never perfect and there is less control of it when you are outside. You have to adjust to the weather, to the sun exposure, to its brightness and position. Even if you have some experience, you will probably make mistakes every once in a while. 

However, it is worth mentioning that you should not go overboard with photo editing. The goal of portraiture is to capture the essence of your subject and convey it to the image. If you hide every blemish and every wrinkle, your model will end up looking like a doll and not like a real person. People have imperfections that make them unique and interesting and you don’t want to hide them away. 

Equip yourself with a free portrait editor – PhotoDiva. It is a great helper for a newbie as well as for a professional. Due to its algorithms of face recognition, you can enhance the quality and correct colors in literally one click. PhotoDiva contains every basic editing option for portraiture and yet does not require a powerful PC to run smoothly. 

bodoland images

Explore Local Areas

Stay away from tourist areas and immerse yourself in the local culture. Instead of going to the big city with thousands of tourists, visit a small village nearby where you can experience the local way of life. Engage with locals and learn about their lifestyle. These photos will be much more interesting and one-of-a-kind since not many people visit such places. 

And don’t forget to learn a couple of phrases in the local language, because people who live outside of the city usually do not speak foreign languages, including English.

Locals really appreciate it when visitors pick up at least some expressions in their language. It shows respect and sincere interest in their culture. Finally, it will put a smile on their faces and make your pictures more lively and dynamic.

While you are awaiting the end of restrictions and the freedom of traveling, start practising your photography skills and improving them every day. Visit new places in your own country or at least suburbs to polish your skills and be prepared when your next big adventure comes. 

Also Read: Most Useful Travel Photography Tip: Learn Composition

Categories Miscellaneous


I am Dev, and I've been travelling full-time since 2016. I was a journalism student & started my corporate career as a documentary film-maker in England, before moving to India & becoming a full-time nomad. 25+countries. 50+ Brand Partnerships. And the adventure continues...

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