I love to take lots of pictures when I am traveling, they are great momentos of the memories we are making. I’ve finally given up on the pictures taken from a moving vehicle, they never come out. If I want the shot we will have to pull over. Also never count on the quality of your selfies, or the photo some stranger offered to take of you in some tourist spot. If you really want great photos of yourself or family, hire a professional photographer for a session on your next trip, this is a common trend.

But now for the photos that YOU are going to take on your next trip, here’s some tips from the pros…

Make a plan

Attempting to take quick snapshots as you rush from one location to another will leave you with the same boring photos everyone else has. Make sure you plan “photography time” into your travel schedule. Good travel photography requires a solid time commitment on your part.

The rule of thirds

The basic principle behind this rule is to imagine breaking an image down into thirds – horizontally and vertically – to create nine equal parts. Make sure to place the object of the shot in a third of the frame, not in the middle.

Wander More

You’ve visited all the popular photography sites and captured your own version of a destination’s postcard photos. Now what? It’s time to go exploring and get off the beaten tourist path. It’s time to get lost on purpose. Chances are these will be some of your favourite shots

If you want to get images no one else has, you need to wander more. The best way to do this is on foot — without knowing exactly where you’re going. Grab a business card from your hotel so you can catch a taxi back if needed, then just pick a direction and start walking.

Bring your camera, and head out into the unknown. Check with locals to make sure you’re not heading somewhere dangerous, but make a point to get lost.

Please take this advice lightly, better if you are not alone. In some places in the world this would not be a good idea, use your common sense.

Keep Steady

Bring a lightweight travel tripod, it allows you to set your camera position and keep it there. Once the camera is set, you can then take your time arranging the perfect composition.

You can also adjust exposure settings, focus points, and really spend time paying attention to the image you want to create. Tripods give you the ability to shoot much slower shutter speeds (waterfalls, low-light, stars, etc) without worrying about hand-held camera shake. You can keep your ISO low (for less sensor noise) and use smaller apertures, so more of the image is in focus.

Take time to really learn about the settings on your camera 

You’d think that modern cameras are smart enough to take incredible pictures on their own, in AUTO mode. Well, that’s just not the case. While they do a pretty good job, if you want truly stunning images, you need to learn how to manually control your camera’s settings yourself. If you’re new to photography, you may not realize all the camera settings that need to be adjusted. These include ISO, aperture, and shutter speed. If you want the best images possible, you need to know the relationship between them, and how to adjust these settings on your own.

To do this, switch your camera’s dial into Manual Mode. This camera mode gives you much more control of the look of your images in different situations. By manually adjusting aperture you’ll have more control over the depth of field in your image.

Set your clock for golden hour

Golden hour, the time right after sunrise or before sunset, is a great time to photograph outdoor scenes because the lighting is ideal. Waking up early also means you will have to deal with fewer tourists and other photographers, especially at popular tourist sites. Get there early as it opens, and you’ll pretty much have the place to yourself. “Blue hour”, is the hour after sunset (or before sunrise) when the sky is still blue, but city lights are turned on. It’s worth playing with your natural lighting for different results.

Embrace cloudy days… “People, food, and foliage often look best in diffused light. On a bright, sunny day, if the light is too harsh, seek the open shade of trees or buildings for a softer glow. Blue skies are overrated!”… and rainy days. “I love shooting after the rain, when the air is dry and clear. There’s a feeling of freshness, and the colors are deeper and stronger.”