5 Quick tips for capturing scenic travel photos

When we travel, it’s only natural to want to capture the things we see and remember details about the places we visit. While on a recent trip to Queensland I had the opportunity to photograph the luscious rainforest, gorgeous coastline and the majestic Great Barrier Reef. There was no shortage of breathtaking views, it truly was a photographer’s paradise!

Aerial view of Green Island, Great Barrier ReefView of beautiful Green Island by helicopter. GBR Helicopter Group.
It can be difficult to translate what we see with our eyes into photographs that adequately convey the beauty of our surroundings, so today I want to share a few quick tips for capturing scenic photos. Follow me through beautiful Queensland, enjoy the views and learn a few tricks along the way!

Mossman RiverExploring the Mossman River and Daintree Rainforest. Such a tranquil and relaxing place to be.

5 Quick tips for capturing scenic travel photos:

1. The technical stuff – First thing to consider when taking scenic photos is the equipment you’ll use. Wider angle lenses are ideal because they allow you to fit more of the view into your photo. A tripod can be a useful tool especially when photographing in lower light situations, to help eliminate camera shake. Since you’ll be photographing in the outdoors, a sturdy camera backpack is recommended to protect your gear.

Cape TribulationPeaceful Cape Tribulation with it’s beautiful beaches, relaxing waves and the rainforest nearby.

It’s also important to consider your camera settings when taking scenic photos. Most cameras have an automatic landscape mode or you can manually change your camera settings to accommodate a larger focus area. With scenic photography you want more in focus since you are photographing expansive areas, as opposed to portrait photography where you want your subject to take centre stage. A small aperture {larger f-stop} is best when photographing landscapes as more will be in focus.

Cairns HarbourThe view of Cairns harbour by helicopter. You can also catch a glimpse of one of my favourite places to see in Cairns, The Esplanade. 
2. Best time of day – You can’t always control when you’ll be passing through certain areas, but if you have the opportunity, photographing in the early morning or early evening can be magical. At these hours the light is soft, details aren’t lost in harsh shadows and colours aren’t washed out by bright light. I love shooting when the sun is low in the sky and catching a glimpse of it in my photos is a dream!

Sugar cane fields, Tropical North QueenslandView of the flowering sugar cane fields and scenic Queensland mountains at sunset. 

3. Quick corner check – Have a look at the composition of your photo before releasing the shutter. I like to do a quick look in all four corners of the view finder and check:

  • A) If there are there any distracting elements that take away from the scene eg. a light post or brightly coloured sign;
  • B) If my horizon is straight;
  • C) If I’m using the rule of thirds to help make my photo more visually appealing.

See the photo example below illustrating the rule of thirds. Basically, you divide your photo into three sections horizontally and vertically and you want to place your horizon line or other point of interest in your photo, on one of these intersecting lines.

Corner check for compositionFlying over the Great Barrier Reef at sunset. 

4. Try unique angles  – Don’t forget to switch things up a bit when photographing scenery. Try some different angles to add interest and variety to your photos. Take a picture from behind a plant, laying down on the ground, or from above. Experiment and have fun with different vantage points.

Also, include some point of reference in your photos to give relationship in size and a sense of perspective. Instead of zooming out and including only what is viewed from afar, include something from the foreground to add perspective. This will give your photo added depth and scale.

Rex Lookout Port DouglasView of the beach from the road on the way to Port Douglas.
5. Get in those photos  – Make sure you take the time to get in a few scenic photos yourself! Hand the camera over to someone else, use your self timer or camera remote and get in a photo or two. I promise, you won’t regret it. Not only does putting a person in a scenic photo help to give a sense of the grandeur of the place, but when you return home you’ll be so happy to have images of yourself enjoying the beautiful places you travelled.
Rebecca Cooper from Simple as That Blog

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little tour through scenic Queensland and were able to gather a few photography tricks to help you on your next travel adventure. For more photography tips and inspiration please visit me on my blog Simple as That!