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How to Take Amazing Travel Photos as a Couple

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A couple of years ago we wrote an article for The Blonde Abroad, offering our best advice for taking amazing travel photos as a couple. While still incredibly relevant, we have upgraded our equipment, our photo editing style, and our process for taking amazing travel photos as a couple. We thought it was time for an updated article! Here are our tips that should help you take amazing travel photos as a couple!

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How to Take Amazing Travel Photos as a Couple

First thing first. To take amazing travel photos as a couple it’s imperative that you have some decent camera equipment. These days the most recent iPhone Xs or the competing Android devices all offer 12 megapixel+ cameras and some halfway decent photo editing software. If you’re strapped for cash and want to leverage what you’ve already got, this would work fine. We both have the iPhone Xs and we use these to shoot landscape and portrait shots all the time. The new software allows users to adjust the bokeh (amount of blur in the background) after taking a portrait shot, so you have a lot of freedom to manipulate the aperture after you take a photo.

However, if you’re able to invest a little bit of cash in some travel photography equipment, you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the way your couples photos are going to turn out.

Unfortunately, we haven’t yet been in a position where we have felt comfortable enough to spend $5,000 on the Canon 5D Mark IV and a nice lens, but we have certainly made some small investments in photography gear.

Our travel photography gear:

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Taken by a stranger who had a nice camera
Travel Photography Tips

1. Ask the person with the best camera or ask a couple

Don’t be afraid to ask a stranger to take a photo of you and your partner. If you don’t have a tripod or don’t feel like lugging it around with you, a stranger is probably your best bet. We always make sure to ask the person with the nicest looking camera or a couple. Why? Well, the guy or gal with the nice camera probably knows how to work your camera/take good photos, and the couple will be happy when you offer to take a photo of them as well. We have met a lot of awesome couples this way and continue to make friends as we travel. Of course, you can always offer to take a photo for the solo travelers as well. *Safe bet – hand the camera to the person in automatic mode. It might confuse the person trying to adjust settings in manual.

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Taken with DJI Spark
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Taken with DJI Spark

2. Use drone shots to get a new perspective

Who says a cute couples photo has to be eye level with the camera? Sometimes changing your perspective will make for an incredible photo. The DJI Spark that we use is affordable, compact, and takes incredibly high-quality photos.

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Taken on our tripod

3. Use a tripod

Tripods will help you solve multiple problems. First, you’ll mitigate any shaking and your photos will turn out completely in focus. Second, you’ll be able to take photos of you AND your partner.

Tripods are especially crucial in low light situations, for night sky photography, and for photography techniques like long exposure photos. If you want to take your solo and couple travel photos to the next level, invest in a decent travel tripod.

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4. Take unique couple travel photos

Sure, you can take the same photo that 14329042938 of the people you follow on Instagram have already taken and posted…OR you can take a unique photo that captures your vision, your feelings, and your love as a couple. Sure, snap the photo of the tourist attraction and take the cliche photo, but try to put a unique twist on your photos. Our most popular photos are invariably the photos that we set up and created rather than attemping to emulate something that has already been done.

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Taken by our friend Heather Goodman

5. Bring a friend

Some of our greatest photos have come from double dates and days we spent exploring with friends. This photo above was taken by our friend Heather Goodman while we were exploring Positano with her and her husband, Bryant. Heather is a phenomenal photographer of nature, weddings, and more. Check out her photography and follow her on Instagram for more.

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6. Let there be light

One of the most important aspects to photograph is light. Shooting into the sun will usually result in bad photos, as will shooting in a dark area with the wrong settings. Play around with light a bit and don’t necessarily think that the subject (you and your partner) have to be in one particular location. Move around to adjust for the best lighting.

Time of day is also a key component to light, shadows, etc. Shooting at sunrise/early morning and golden hour/sunset are our favorite times to shoot.

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7. Wake up early

Speaking of sunrise…if you want to take amazing couple photos without massive crowds in the background, it is important that you’re willing to wake up early. We have forced ourselves out of bed before the sun numerous times to ensure we can beat the crowd and beat the sun rising over the horizon. The hour or 2 following sunrise are usually great for well lit photos without crowds.

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Edited in Adobe Lightroom

8. Learn how to edit your photos

If your photos are perfectly well exposed, the lighting is just right, and you happened to take that frame on a nice, expensive, camera and lens, then you will likely have to edit significantly less than if you take a photo that is under/over exposed on an iPhone.

Over the years, we have edited our photos with a variety of tools. We have used Camera +, Snapseed, VSCO, Lightroom, Photoshop, etc. If you want to ensure your photos are vibrant and beautiful, you need to learn how to edit. Think of editing like an art – you’re putting your touch on a photo. The finished stage is your masterpiece.

If you don’t know how to edit photos, you should sign up for Skillshare, watch videos, and teach yourself how to use platforms like Adobe Lightroom.

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Adobe Lightroom is the preferred editing tool of photographers around the world. The product allows you to edit just about every detail in your photo, save presets, copy and paste settings to similar photos (batch edit) and much more.

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9. Leave the selfie stick at home

For the love of God, please, leave the selfie stick at home. 3 years ago the Colosseum banned selfie sticks and many other top travel destinations are banning selfie sticks. Destinations like Disneyland, Versailles, Coachella Music Festival, Running of the Bulls, the entire city of Milan, Italy, Sydney Opera House, Yankee Stadium, and many others have joined il Colosseo in banning selfie sticks.

We have literally had experiences where we have been hit by people with selfie sticks as they aimlessly spin around trying to get the right shot of their faces. No one wants to see photos from underneath your chin. Leave the selfie stick at home and opt for a tripod or a stranger.

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