How being a travel blogger influences the way you take photos

81% of shoppers do their research online in several areas, including traveling. As I launched my first website almost 12 years ago and I work in marketing, I’ve seen how the online environment changed. Apart from my Romanian website and blog, I also have two English travel blogs. And, oh boy, did things change in this area as well!

I had a couple of themes for my first travel blog (this one you are reading right now). Each new at its time, each fitted to the trends of the moment. And one thing I’m guessing every [travel] blogger noticed is how things evolved in what taking photos for a travel blog is concerned.

At first, photos were small. And inserted on the right or left part of the text. They were not the focus. Hey, I still have some old posts with small photos – articles that I didn’t manage to change, to allow photos to appear bigger (back then a 300px photo was OK). Nowadays, it seems that a great post must have at least one amazing photo. And nowadays, there are posts with only a photo (I too have several such posts) or photo-essays.

Social media changed the way we take photos. Social media changed the way we THINK photos. Because in order to be successful as a travel blogger, you have to be successful on at least one social media network. And each has its own requirements.

I was actually explaining recently to a colleague from my husband’s workplace why I take several photos of a house, different orientations. We were at the Village Museum in Bucharest at that moment. And while I was explaining to him, I realized that indeed things changed – and some didn’t even notice.

So, for all those out there who didn’t experience all the stages of blogs and photos and for the readers who are not travel bloggers, here is how I think being a travel blogger influences the way you take photos.

To all of you travel bloggers reading this article, please confirm or deny if things are as shown below. Keep in mind that I’m not saying that all the observations are universal, valid for every travel blogger out there, but I believe many of you will encounter several common points.

How Being a #travel blogger changes the way you take photos

First, it’s about the equipment

A travel blogger doesn’t just go and buy a simple camera. They do their research and buy a camera that has important features that will allow them to take perfect photos. Now, for each blogger the requirements might be different – some prefer bridge cameras, others choose DSLR (my case), some pick several lenses for different types of photos. Other go with small cameras and also choose a Go-pro – and so on and so forth.

One thing is clear though: the camera has to serve the blogger’s purposes which means fulfilling a long list of criteria. And yes, I recently bought a new camera and, even if we did a lot of research, we still spent almost two hours making the perfect choice for us!

And it’s not only about the camera often. Sometimes it’s also about choosing the perfect accessories. A battery extension, the perfect selfie stick, a microphone, additional tools for your smartphone camera, and so on – you get the idea. See, it’s not that easy!

Then it is about the perfect photo, light, and formats

As a simple tourist, who is not a photography enthusiast, you take photos of what you like. You don’t think automatically about THE perfect photo. You don’t “chase” the perfect light – and I am sure you saw many photos with people photographed with the sun from their back, etc. But as a travel blogger, you don’t have this luxury. So, yes, usually a travel blogger is someone who read a lot about taking photos – guides, recommendations, etc.

Social media, as mentioned before, is important. Which means that the different requirements for photos are in our heads. As I was explaining to my husband’s colleague, a travel blogger takes photos thinking of a perfect one for Facebook, another one for Pinterest – one that will have no text over it – another one that will go on Pinterest, but with text (actually, you’ll have several photos for Pinterest, to have more pins to promote in time and get traffic for an article that way). You also have to think about an instagram (at least) photo. And, of course, for the blog.

The Louvre, Paris

And it’s about apps too

If you use a phone to take pictures, you most certainly have several apps you use. It may be a HDR app, an app that adds effects, and editing app, but it will definitely be an app. Some use instagram as an app (given how many filters are available and easy editing options).

There are also photography editing programs that travel bloggers are familiar with. Happily, some of them are free and easy to use.

Food is first photographed, then eaten

Depending on what social media platforms or networks a travel blogger uses, they will take pictures of the food prior to eating it. They will take pictures of the restaurant – before going in. And inside. Many photos.

Everything has to be documented. And the travel blogger becomes an influencer. They are those who’ve been to a place, those who say how their visit went, how the food tasted and so on. They are experts. And photos document that.

Same goes for hotel cameras or other places that travel bloggers review. Because they document their experience, present the good and the bad, to help other people make the best choice for their travels.

Let’s not forget about the post-process

Travel bloggers take a lot of photos. Digital cameras and cards allow us to have enough space.

I read an article a while ago – though I don’t find the link now – with tips and tricks for an instagram account with an impressive number of followers. That travel blogger said that she doesn’t posts pictures when she takes them. She said that it is recommended to first get to a computer and post-process it. Choose the perfect photo from the many frames taken, editing it, and then using it on social media platforms/networks.

And if you’ll look at the most successful posts, instagram accounts, Pinterest accounts, you’ll see that the quality of the photos is important. You’ll see edited photos. You’ll see HDR ones.

I wrote a while back why I think that too much enhancement is harmful – it creates an image that’s not actually real: brighter colours, for instance, which raises the expectations of those who want to visit that given place which, inevitably, leads to disappointment. And yet, it seems that there is a contradiction, as without perfect photos – great light, perfect contrast, bright colours, etc. – the photo doesn’t get that many shares. I know there was an instagram account that was deleted by the owner as she said it was a lie – it looked perfect, but taking those pictures was far from perfect. As you can see – long discussion.

A picture is worth a thousand words

I hear that a lot. And I admit that it is true. At least sometimes. I have well documented articles that don’t have as many shares as some with more pictures in them. And I’m comparing the same type of an article.

Nothing is as easy as it looks

When someone looks at an instagram account or a travel blog with quality photos, they admire those. Some think it is very easy to take that kind of pictures – because the travel blogger makes it seem easy.

In fact, taking great photos, having enough and relevant ones for all social media platforms, is not really that easy. It takes time. And effort. And dedication.

Things changed in terms of taking photos – because the cameras are better and better, there are many options available, and because different on-line environments have different requirements. I witnessed these changes – and it seems like they all happened so fast! But hey, I felt old while visiting the Technical Museum in Brno – so… 🙂

How about you?

How Being a #travel blogger influences the way you take photos

Lori

I’m offering public relations, communications and image counseling in everyday life and I have a PR agency – PRwave INTERNATIONAL. I am passionate about reading, blogging (I also have a blog in Romanian) and traveling. Follow me on Twitter - @violetaloredana (Romanian) and @TravelMoments.

20 thoughts on “How being a travel blogger influences the way you take photos

  • 3 October, 2016 at 14:33
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    Yes – photography can be complicated. Your article points out some of the challenges. Each photo “purpose” requires a different approach. Are you shooting for your own pleasure? For a photo article / blog? For sale as “stock” images? For framing and direct customer sale? Or for an assignment from some picky photo editor? If you don’t keep the Purpose of your photo in mind you might end up with a less than satisfactory result. When I head out for a travel day of shooting I start by reminding myself of what my day’s “assignment” or “purpose” is – You can still shoot for pleasure or fun but you will also be more likely to get the shots you need. Still- it’s a challenge.

    Reply
    • 4 October, 2016 at 08:04
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      Thank you so much, Bruce, for this great addition to the article. Indeed, I didn’t even manage to speak about this part – the photos that are sold. And indeed, it’s all about the final goal – which influences the camera, the light, the scenery, everything!
      Lori´s last blog post ..The Best Tourist Attractions in Louisville

      Reply
  • 3 October, 2016 at 17:15
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    Hey Lori, very true article. I totally agree. I literally used to take thousands of pictures (10007h was not uncommon) when I was out with my camera. I documented everything, flowers, animals, clouds, shapes, architecture, everything. Now that I’m a blogger and do it as a job, I take way fewer pictures with my camera but in my head they are already mapped out. I know the angles, the lighting, the colours and composition. I know what works and what doesn’t. I know where I need to try new things and need practice, it sometimes drives me insane. It’s hard to just turn it off and it is often met with frowned looks by friends and family members who don’t understand that a carefully staged photo will help me more on my social media than a dorky one of me you just snapped. Authenticity might be key but it also needs to be groomed, sadly enough. The discussion of it never ends but travel bloggers do sell the dream of travel and that goes hand in hand with dreamy pictures. So thanks for your article. It was on point!

    Reply
    • 4 October, 2016 at 08:07
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      Thank you, Annemarie, for this comment. I’m happy to see that others share my view. I decided to write exactly for this reasons: because there are many challenges and hidden reasons that people sometimes don’t know. And these challenges and reasons influence the way we take photos – if we want to be successful.

      I totally agree that it takes time, perseverance – and a lot of practice. I too take many photos – some just for my pleasure (I like clouds, flowers, and animals for instance).
      Lori´s last blog post ..How being a travel blogger influences the way you take photos

      Reply
    • 4 October, 2016 at 08:37
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      Yeah, I spoke with many travel bloggers and they all said the same thing. It’s understandable – like I said they become influencers, plus trying new foods from across the globe is interesting – but one has to take a photo before eating. 🙂
      Lori´s last blog post ..How to cure jet lag

      Reply
  • 3 October, 2016 at 19:14
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    Yes, taking good pictures and spending the time to frame an image in the right angle, timeframe, environment is all crucial and important if you want to get an image that is unique and stands out. So it does take some pre-planning and worth the effort if you enjoy doing this and sharing this aspect of travel, but also for myself having a good balance to enjoying the moment is equally important in the experience.

    Reply
  • 4 October, 2016 at 11:04
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    I am reading this nodding along with many of the things you have said. Apps on phone for instant editing on the go – check; taking a photo of each course at dinner before eating – check; taking far too many photos throughout a trip to then work your way through, choosing the best ones (whilst not deleting any just in case you need them again in the future) – check!! 🙂

    Last year, we were on a press trip talking to the representative from the tourism board who had only started working with bloggers and his comment was about the food photos – he had taken a group of bloggers out for dinner and had casually snapped away throughout the evening highlighting how often each camera came out to photograph the food – he was completely amazed by it!

    Reply
  • 31 August, 2017 at 01:06
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    Oh my goodness! an amazing article dude. Thank you However I am experiencing issue with ur rss . Don?t know why Unable to subscribe to it. Is there anyone getting identical rss problem? Anyone who knows kindly respond. Thnkx

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  • 31 August, 2017 at 19:35
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  • 2 September, 2017 at 13:40
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    An impressive share, I just given this onto a colleague who was doing a little analysis on this. And he in fact bought me breakfast because I found it for him.. smile. So let me reword that: Thnx for the treat! But yeah Thnkx for spending the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love reading more on this topic. If possible, as you become expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more details? It is highly helpful for me. Big thumb up for this blog post!

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  • 2 September, 2017 at 20:26
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    There are some interesting points in time in this article but I don?t know if I see all of them center to heart. There is some validity but I will take hold opinion until I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we want more! Added to FeedBurner as well

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  • 16 September, 2017 at 04:09
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    When I originally commented I clicked the -Notify me when new surveys are added- checkbox and today each time a comment is added I get four emails concentrating on the same comment. Perhaps there is that is you may remove me from that service? Thanks!

    Reply

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