10 Tips to Look Good in Travel Photos
It is hard to look great in travel photos even if you are not a blogger.
[Disclaimer: this is quite a girly post aimed at my female readers!]
10 Tips to Look Good in Travel Photos
One thing I quickly learnt from publishing a blog is that there is generally a LOT of backstage work behind each post: all your favourite bloggers, be it either fashion, travel or food, most likely take quite a bit of time to come up with an assortment of simple, not-trying-hard-at-all photographs – yet they look absolutely faultless – that they choose to share with you.
Personally, for an aspiring travel blogger whose site focuses primarily on beautiful imagery so that I can take my readers on a visual journey, looking/trying to look good in photos can be an all-consuming headache! Imagine running around Istanbul all day under the scorching sun in 35C+ degree heat and lugging around your heavy DSLR camera. Or, hiking up a very windy mountain in the Scottish Highlands, where no matter how much you try to keep your hair looking decent, it simply doesn’t work, and to make matters worse, it starts raining…
However, there are a few tricks I have learnt over time that do make a considerable difference on how you will look in your travel shots.
1. Prepare in advance
Preparations in anticipation of a trip are crucial to looking good in your travel photographs.
Get a new haircut, which is easy to style without a proper blow-dry.
Refresh your hair colour, or at least touch up your roots, especially if there is a big contrast between natural and dyed hair.
Shape and tint your eyebrows – I have found well-done eyebrows do miracles for my make-up-free face.
Do not forget to get a manicure or pedicure: grubby–looking nails do not always look great in photos…
2. Wear a tiny bit make-up
I am not a fan of wearing make-up when travelling. First of all, oftentimes it looks out of place; for example, if you are trekking though the rainforest or if you are lounging on a beach. Secondly, foundation and heavy eye make-up do not usually agree with hot or humid conditions.
However, what I do believe makes a big difference is wearing something that evens out your skin tone and protects you from harmful UV rays: either a tinted sunscreen (La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL SPF50+ Tinted Cream), or a BB cream (boscia B.B cream), or a tinted moisturiser (theBalm BalmShelter Tinted Moisturizer).
A few other tips: curl your lashes or even put on a little mascara to open up your eyes (Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler is pure magic). Groomed eyebrows visibly transform your face for the better (if done well, of course!). Also make sure that you have a lip balm handy: chapped lips are enemies of good travel shots!
In the evening, adding a touch of red lipstick – finding the perfect shady is tricky, but so worth it in the end- will instantly “wake you up” and add sliver of glamour.
3. Wear photogenic clothes
No matter how good your hair/face looks, if you are wearing “un-photogenic” clothes, your efforts of looking like Bridget Bardot in your travel shots will be wasted.
Have a look at your old travel photographs and see which pieces in your wardrobe work, and which don’t. For instance, I have found that oversized cashmere jumpers – despite being very warm and snuggly – make me look two sizes larger than I really am.
Clothes with a vibrant shade of colour translate best into photographs – my father, an ardent travel photographer himself, always tells me off for wearing dark-coloured pieces, because they look ‘dull’. If you are not a fan of colour, then pick black as it is always chic, and looks better in photos then other dark colours.
I have also discovered that clothes that look best in photos are silk and/or lace pieces of predominantly one-colour, and denim items. Also, nothing too short, or tight, unless you look like Gisele Bündchen!
5. Take your shots early in the day
First focus on taking photos, then explore your destination more in-depth.
Light is always best for taking pictures in the early hours of the day. In addition, you will always look fresher in the morning, especially in hot countries – your skin will be less shiny, your hair sleeker, your clothes less creased. In addition, there will be much less other tourists around, who tend to make travel photography unnecessarily complicated!
So, in a nutshell, waking up early on your holiday will be worthwhile in the long-term!
6. Play Around with Posing and Composition
First of all, learn how to pose a little. Find the best angle for your face. Move around while somebody is taking a photo of you: dynamic shots are much more enticing then static ones!
Experiment with different angles: All your travel shots need not consist of you looking directly into the cameras! To mix it up a little, have photos taken of you looking sideways. Add some back shots, which are great because they look stylish and eliminate the need to wear make up or do up your hair. Also try slightly unusual angles, although do avoid camera pointing upwards at you, since that creates the most unflattering perspective.
If you are feeling adventurous, try crazy shots! Like the one of me (see it at the end of the post) climbing a palm tree, attempting to emulate a monkey. Or, perhaps go skydiving, to get a shot with a different perspective on the place that you are visiting. But, remember: safety is first.
Pictures that you will like best will probably the ones with an added ‘Wow factor’.
However, do not forget that travel photos should focus primarily on your surroundings, and you are a lovely addition to them! These photos are a record of all the wonderful places that you have been to and of your experiences and feelings while out there.
7. Carry a hairbrush with you
Brushing your hair will often make a huge difference to how you look in your travel shots – especially if you are undertaking a “windy” activity like hiking up a mountain or doing a sunset cruise with dolphins, and it only takes all of 5 seconds!
I always carry around my compact hot pink Tangle Teezer, whenever I travel.
8. Wear Sunglasses
Wearing sunglasses is one of the best ways to take attention away from the no-make up situation, instantly transforming the way look in your travel photos!
Obviously wear sunglasses if the situation is appropriate: you are wandering around a sunny city, or lounging on the beach. With the right shades you will instantly look chic – think Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s – and the need to wear make-up disappears.
For different looks, take more than one pair: simple black shades for a sophisticated look, and shades with a bit of colour or interesting decorative element for a more funky look!
My sister once said that ‘sunglasses make shots impersonal’, but I think they are a better alternative to squinting, and, in general, they make me look more presentable.
9. Take more photographs that you think you need
It is quite unlikely that you will look your best in the first photo that you take in a certain location – I certainly don’t. Ask whoever is taking your picture, to take a few shots. Try different poses, facial expressions, more zoomed-in/zoomed-out, different angles.
It is always better to take more photos, then afterwards feeling disappointed that you did not get a single decent shot of yourself in front of the Eiffel Tower.
10. Edit your photos
Editing photos is last means of making yourself look your best in your travel photos! Adobe Lightroom is the most convenient and easiest means of editing your photos, and you can easily correct things that you are not completely happy with: uneven skin tone, puffy eyes, and so on.
Do you have an tips on looking good in travel photos? Let me know in the comments section below…