So, you’ve officially booked your ticket to travel. The countdown begins! Whilst packing and doing last minute prep, there’s always that question that lingers: How do you document everything when you’re away?

Read on to check out six ways that’ll take your photography game to the next level. Get ready to capture some incredible travel photos!

1. Smartphones FTW

(Don’t underestimate a smartphone! Florence, Italy).

Believe it or not, you don’t need a fancy camera to take breathtaking shots. There’s this assumption that you need the best of the best when it comes to documenting your travels but that’s simply not the case. Whilst having a DSLR can be great, if you’re travelling light, your smartphone camera or even a GoPro can do the trick instead.

Plus, apps like Snapseed, VSCOcam and Enlight can enhance your photography by allowing you to edit your pics like a pro. Get those creative vibes flowing!

2. The early bird really does catch the worm

(Sunrise over the Charles Bridge. Prague, Czech Republic).

Let’s face it, you may be somewhere for only a few days so why not get the most out of it? Push yourself to wake up early in the morning, hike up to that panoramic view and take that epic sunrise photo. You’ll feel super satisfied when you look back on your experience.

3. Work those angles

(Capturing reflections. Chain Bridge, Budapest, Hungary).

The beauty of using a smaller camera means that the lens can get closer to the ground. Some of my favorite images are those using a puddle to reflect the scene. It helps add that little bit of uniqueness to a photo that you can really call your own.

(What a view for only a couple of Euros. Taken from Altare della Patria, Rome, Italy).

Aim to get above the view for that spectacular panorama – it’s more than worth it! It’s usually only a few dollars to climb a bell tower or tall landmark for some Insta-worthy shots.

4. Golden hour glow

(Sunset from Giotto’s Campanile, Florence, Italy).

Photography is all about lighting and there’s a reason photos are more beautiful during the “golden hour”. Whilst taking photos under the midday sun can result in harsh shadows on your subject, the time right before sunset and right after sunrise offers a soft golden light instead.

Not sure where the sun sets and rises? Use the app called Sky Guide. With this app, you can hold your phone up to the sky and fast forward using its features to see exactly what position the sun will be in the sky at a certain time! #winning

5. Do your research

(The Supermoon rises above The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence, Italy).

If you’re going on a weekend trip and want to snag an awesome photo that will summarize your time there, plan it out! By researching the destination and seeing if there is an iconic landmark or special event happening in the area, you will be well prepared.

At the same time, be flexible. You may have a set plan on where/what to photograph but locals may offer an even more awesome idea of how to spend your time – often resulting in a better experience and a better photo!

6. Live in the moment

(Oktoberfest, Munich, Germany).

Sure, this may be obvious, but don’t forget to actually experience the moment instead of just photographing it. Way too many people get focused on the process of taking photos and fail to appreciate where they are.

Countless times, you’ll see tourists snap photos of a popular attraction and immediately move on to the next one. Don’t be that person!

These are some basic principles to keep in mind while you’re abroad.

Share your snaps from the road on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook using the #topdecker hashtag for a chance to be re-posted on Topdeck’s social channels.

Kevin Walsh
Kevin is a freelance travel photographer who is always ready for his next adventure. Whether it be photographing sea turtles in Belize, exploring the black sand beaches of Iceland, or eating his way through Europe, his passion for visual storytelling and immersive learning shows through his vibrant work!