Travel photography in five steps

In How-to, Travel

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I’ve been looking in new places for photographic inspiration recently—in travel magazines in particular. Every time we go on a trip, it’s like a challenge: can I capture the mood of a place with a set of pictures, like in a travel magazine? I arrange my pictures into a montage, which seems like the next logical step after my long obsession with diptychs. And it means I can distill my travel memories into a single image—if I do it right, that is.

Luckily for me, our children are now old enough that they are keen to explore new countries, so we’ve visited several new places this year. Last month we spent a few days on the Greek island of Santorini. It’s been on my list of places to go for years, and a few weeks ago we realised we had a few days that would fit a trip perfectly. Another travel challenge! Going to an island like this really warrants hiring a car to see as much as possible on your trip. Those travelling to the popular Greek island of Crete could take a look at the vehicles available from Here’s how I got ready for the trip, and how it all worked out.

1. Preparation
Do your homework before you go. Pinterest is my favourite place to find inspiration for travel photography. Looking through the images of a particular place you can see what has inspired others, and which views and scenes are the most popular. I have a series of secret Pinterest boards of places I am currently researching. Instagram is also helpful, because you can see what others are posting by searching for a particular location.

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2. Shooting (planned)
Wherever I go there are always particular kinds of shot I like to get: I have a mental checklist. Landscape views are a must, but I also like to get close-up details. I like to find doors and windows that capture the mood of a place. A food shot, or an overhead shot of a table at meal time is another vital ingredient. I award myself added bonus points for any aerial perspective shots I can spot along the way, too.


3. Shooting (unplanned)
Those are the basics. But I also keep my eyes open for the unusual. We seemed to see a lot of random chairs in Santorini, for example. And always, always, always watch for the light. Because it can transform something quite ordinary into something extraordinary.


4. Editing

Even before we left for Santorini, it became apparent that the theme of the trip would be the colours blue and white. But it’s not always so obvious. I tried to limit my pictures to those with blue and white (so I ditched the chairs), and processed everything the same way on Instagram to keep the feel consistent throughout our magical stay there. I shot with five cameras; my iPhone, Polaroid, Sony A7 ii, Contax 645 and Contax Aria. When I got home, and the film pictures had come back from the lab, I chose a combination of views, details, landscape and portrait images.



5. Presenting/Sharing
I assembled this final set of images into a collage, which has the same kind of feel as a magazine mood board. I like posting collages on Facebook as they capture the mood of a place in one image. For my tumblr, I use a mixture of diptychs and single images which I break into smaller posts.

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So this is the travel-photography game I like to play. What’s your travel-photography routine? Tell me in the comments!



(My images are taken with a Sony A7ii, Contax 645 and iPhone).


  1. My travel photography routine is to sit back and enjoy all of the beautiful places you go my globe-trotting, camera-toting friend.

    And you know I want to see those chairs whenever and however you feel like sharing them.

  2. so much precious inspiration and such delightful images! I admire very much your organisation and planning. I would like to follow your suggestions on my next trip. this post is such a wonderful gift: thank you! x

  3. Wow, Kirstin! I wish I could say I plan as well as you do. I sometimes know about the “not to be missed” spots but generally I just explore as I go. (That can mean a lot of stopping by the roadside if we’re traveling by car 🙂 ) Your photos are stunning, as usual!

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