10 top travel photography tips and tricks

Photographer and blogger Diana Millos shares her top tips for shooting amazing travel photos.
A woman wearing a red strapless dress crouches down to take a picture with a Canon EOS R10.

Spanish influencer and photographer Diana Millos began travelling to attend music festivals and concerts. It ignited in her a love of adventure, which quickly blossomed into a full-time career as a professional travel photographer and blogger with more than 140K followers on Instagram.

Here, Diana, whose latest ventures include trips to Cuba and Spain, shares her top 10 travel photography tips for shooting stunning images when exploring new locations.

Tip 1: Research your destination

An ornate domed ceiling taken from below.

Travel photographer and blogger Diana Millos always researches her destinations to identify the best places to shoot. This striking shot of the ornate ceiling in the Hall of Ambassadors at the Alcázar of Seville was taken during a city break in Spain with the Canon EOS R10. Taken on a Canon EOS R10 with a Canon RF-S 18-45mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM lens at 18mm, 1/250 sec, f/4.5 and ISO12800. © Diana Millos

Two flamenco dancers in a traditional dress pose with arms raised and hands on their hips in a leafy courtyard.

When framing your photos, Diana explains it's important to consider what you intend to do with the image and tailor your composition accordingly. For example, portrait images posted to Instagram need to fit an aspect ratio of 4:5. Taken on a Canon EOS R10 with a Canon RF 35mm F1.8 MACRO IS STM lens at 1/200 sec, f/1.8 and ISO200. © Diana Millos

"I find that planning ahead is absolutely essential in travel photography," says Diana. "Once I know where I'm going, I start researching places of interest online, using social media, blogs and Pinterest.

"I look for locations that inspire me, so I have a good idea of where I want to go and how I'm going to get there. That gives me a framework to plan my photos but, once I've arrived, I look for different angles and perspectives that I haven't seen online, so I can be creative and try to bring something original and unique to my images."

Tip 2: Pack a dedicated camera that won't weigh you down

A Canon EOS R10 camera casts a shadow on a wooden jetty.

Despite being compact and lightweight, the Canon EOS R10 features a detailed, high-resolution electronic viewfinder (EVF) and a built-in flash – perfect for low light and other challenging shooting situations.

"I really love the Canon EOS R10," enthuses Diana. "It's simply perfect for travel photography and all-day shooting because it's so small and lightweight. It fits easily in a camera bag the size of a handbag, even with an extra lens or two, yet it's powerful and the image quality is impeccable. I also really like being able to preview the brightness, contrast and colour in the EVF, so I know how the photo will turn out."

If you’re new to photography but looking for a reliable entry-level EOS R System camera to capture picture-perfect memories on your next adventure, the Canon EOS R100 is small enough to slip in a bag yet capable of capturing both high quality stills and video right when it happens.

If you'd prefer a full-frame camera that gives outstanding image quality even in extreme low light, and the option of a shallower depth of field when using the same focal length, the compact and lightweight Canon EOS RP is a great travelling companion.

For those who prefer a compact camera, the fixed lens PowerShot G7 X Mark III packs a powerful zoom range, as well as 4K video and superb 20.1MP photos.

Tip 3: Choose lenses to suit your needs

A person wearing a yellow dress attaches a Canon lens to a Canon EOS R10 camera.

The Canon RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM gives you everything from a wide-angle perspective to powerful telephoto reach, without the need to pack or carry additional lenses.

A woman standing on a covered escalator in a blue skirt, taken on an EOS R8.

The light, compact pancake design of the Canon RF 28mm F2.8 STM is made to be discrete. The combination of its tiny size, versatile focal length- and fast aperture makes it a great lens to pack if your travel destination lends itself to interesting cityscapes and architecture. Taken on an EOS R8 with Canon RF 28mm F2.8 STM at 28mm, 1/200 sec, f/3.5 and ISO6000.

"If I'm out shooting from dawn to dusk, I don't want to be carrying a heavy bag of kit, so I try to keep additional lenses to a minimum," says Diana.

Travel-friendly lenses for the Canon EOS R10 include the RF-S 18-45mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM which has a particularly compact, retractable design and weighs just 130g. For a more expansive zoom range, the RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM enables you to adapt instantly to almost any shooting scenario without needing an extra lens.

The great thing about Canon's EOS R System cameras is that you can use full-frame compatible lenses on APS-C format bodies and vice versa. For example, the Canon RF 35mm F1.8 IS MACRO IS STM gives the same field of view on the EOS R10 as using a 56mm lens on a full-frame camera such as the EOS RP. Likewise, if you wanted to take advantage of their size and portability you could pair the Canon RF-S 18-45mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM and RF-S 18-150mm F3.5-6.3 IS STM lenses with the EOS RP, but the image will be cropped.

The Canon RF 50mm F1.8 STM is another great travel option for either the EOS R10 or the EOS RP. Top zoom choices include the lightweight Canon RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM and the RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM telephoto lens, which is very compact for a lens with such a powerful reach.

Tip 4: Be an early riser

A woman in a t-shirt and backpack holds up a Canon EOS RP to take a photo of a sunrise over the ocean.

If you're shooting into the sun, people or objects in the foreground are likely to be silhouetted. Don't fight it – embrace the opportunity to capture the atmosphere.

"Tourist spots get busy, even very early in the day," says Diana. "I get up really early to beat the crowds so I can capture scenes without people, or sometimes with just a single person to add interest. You also get the bonus of beautiful lighting at sunrise, which makes it my absolute favourite time to shoot."

Often referred to as the 'golden hour', the sun is low in the sky during the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset, casting a golden glow that can add real magic to travel photos. Diana always shoots RAW files, so she can fine-tune white balance and exposure to enhance colour rendition, highlights and shadows when she comes to edit her shots in imaging software such as Canon's Digital Photo Professional.

Tip 5: Return to your favourite locations throughout the day

A building in Paris taken from a low angle, with benches in the foreground, taken on the Canon EOS R8 by Martin Bissig.

With the sun comes shadows, but don't be afraid of high-contrast scenes. Expose for the light areas and watch the shadows appear in sharp contrast. Once you have set your exposure, recompose and shoot. Taken on a Canon EOS R8 with a Canon RF 24-50mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM lens at 24mm, 1/80 sec, f14 and ISO320. © Martin Bissig

"Although I love to shoot at sunrise, I think it's important to revisit great locations at other times of the day," advises Diana. "Bustling scenes can also make great travel photos, capturing the culture and mood of a place. Areas of shadows and light, and how the sun illuminates a scene, change fundamentally as the day progresses."

Remember that the sun moves across the sky so if, for example, landmarks and buildings you want to shoot are in shadow in the morning, it might be worth returning in the afternoon when the light has changed.

Tip 6: Use the Canon Camera Connect app

Hands holding a phone showing the Canon Camera Connect app. A Canon EOS R10 can be seen in the background.

The Canon Camera Connect app not only enables you to control your camera remotely, you can also download images instantly, ready for immediate sharing on your social channels.

A woman in a red dress poses in front of a series of ornate archways.

When taking travel photos, Diana often likes to appear in the frame. For front-to-back sharpness where both the subject and the background are key to your composition, stick with a small aperture (high f-stop) in the range of f/8 to f/11. Taken on a Canon EOS R10 with a Canon RF-S 18-45mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM lens at 18mm, 1/100 sec, f/5.6 and ISO100. © Diana Millos

"My favourite travel photography technique is to look for symmetry within scenes, with clean, tidy lines that create bold shapes," explains Diana. "I also like to put myself in the picture, so I always carry a tripod and set up the camera before walking into the frame."

The Canon Camera Connect app enables you to control the camera from your phone and make any adjustments remotely. You can also preview the image and adjust the autofocus while you're in the frame.

Tip 7: Shoot video as well as stills

A person records themselves on a sunny day using a Canon EOS R10 camera and mic.

The Canon EOS R10 is an ideal camera for travel vlogging. It can record beyond the conventional 30-minute time limit, and its Movie digital IS option helps to stabilise footage shot while walking around.

A person places Canon PowerShot V10 into her small handbag.

The Canon PowerShot V10 is an all-in-one, pocket-perfect 4K vlogging camera for travel. With everything included – a tilt-screen, large stereo microphones and even a stand – you’re ready to roll in seconds, wherever you are.

"Video is featuring more and more on social media, so it's important for me to shoot video as well as stills," says Diana. "I tend to capture lots of short clips of different locations, so that I can edit them together and make a video that gives an overall flavour of a place. I always use my camera's maximum quality setting for video, so I have the most latitude when editing."

The Canon EOS R10 is great for this, with options for 4K 60p, 4K 30p with 6K oversampling and high-quality Full HD at 120p, which Diana loves for creating slow-motion sequences.

If you want to keep your subscribers and followers up to date with your travels, then Canon PowerShot V10 is an all-in-one pocket-sized solution for your next trip. Designed for vlogging, you can create 4K UHD video on the go, with the option to add creative filters and smoothing effects as you go.

Tip 8: Work the angles for photos with a difference

The roof of a building, made up of metal hexagons with crisscrossing wires, taken from below on a sunny day.

Look around, take the time to think about the angle of your shot and you'll create more distinctive travel photos. Taken on a Canon EOS R10 with a Canon RF-S 18-45mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM lens at 18mm, 1/400 sec, f/4.5 and ISO100.

"When you're shooting famous landmarks and locations, it can be hard to make your shots stand out. I always look for unusual angles that give a different perspective," says Diana. "Shooting from low down near ground level or from high up can be a huge advantage, and it's easy to do with a vari-angle screen. For gaining even more height, I put my camera on my tripod and use it as a pole, so I can hold it high above my head and still preview the shot on the rear screen. It's great when you need to shoot over the heads of people in a crowd, or even over fences and walls."

Tip 9: Reveal more with wide-angle and macro lenses

A photography of a woman standing on a beach at sunset, taken on an Canon EOS R7 camera.

The Canon RF 28mm F2.8 STM is an affordable full-frame prime lens that's great for landscapes and seascapes, street photography, and everyday life. Taken on a Canon EOS R7 with Canon RF 28mm F2.8 STM lens at 1/100 sec, f/4.5 and ISO100.

A close-up of a hermit crab with a pale orange shell making its way across wet sand.

Search for the details that make the place you're visiting unique and create beautifully artistic shots using your camera's Macro setting. Taken on a Canon EOS R6 with a Canon RF 16mm F2.8 STM lens at 1/1250 sec, f/2.8 and ISO200.

"Travel images cover everything from wild landscapes to grand architectural interiors. For shooting both, I like using a wide-angle lens," says Diana.

If you’re looking to go wide and capture the energy of the streets you explore, while keeping your kit bag light, then the slim pancake design of the Canon RF 28mm F2.8 STM is an ideal option. A fast f/2.8 aperture takes you from day to night, and helps your subjects stand out.

The Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM gives you ultra-wide viewing angles and can be used on the Canon EOS R10 with a Canon Mount Adapter EF-EOS R. For the full-frame EOS RP or EOS R6, the Canon RF 16mm F2.8 STM is perfect, featuring a bright f/2.8 aperture that enables quick shutter speeds even in low light. This lens also has a minimum focusing distance of just 13cm, allowing you to get up close to your subjects, maximising every beautiful detail while still fitting lots into the frame.

A macro lens such as the Canon RF 35mm F1.8 MACRO IS STM is also ideal for capturing detail, providing greater magnification than a standard lens to bring even the tiniest elements to life. This lens features a bright maximum aperture to allow for perfectly exposed shots, as well as a 5-stop Image Stabilizer to keep everything sharp when shooting handheld.

Tip 10: Experiment in low light and at night

A rocky beach framed by silhouetted trees taken in low light, with the glow of the horizon in the distance.

You'll get the best results when shooting the night sky if you use a slower shutter speed to let more light in and position your camera on a stable surface or portable tripod to avoid camera shake. Taken on a Canon EOS R6 with a Canon RF 16mm F2.8 STM lens at 20 sec, f/11 and ISO200.

A portrait of a woman taken on a street at night time on a Canon EOS R8 and Canon RF 85mm F2 MACRO IS STM lens by Alexandra Andreeva.

Cities can come alive after dark, bringing a whole new set of shooting opportunities. Full-frame cameras such as the Canon EOS R8 excel in low-light situations, producing clean images even at high ISO values. Taken on a Canon EOS R8 with a Canon RF 85mm F2 MACRO IS STM lens at 1/128 sec, f/2.2 and ISO8000. © Alexandra Andreeva

"Just after the sun goes down, or before it rises in the morning, you get the 'blue hour'. I love the cool colours the light creates and the deep blue of the sky," says Diana. "It gives a completely different look to cityscapes so it's another way to create unique images. Even late at night, there are still brightly lit scenes to be shot. The most important thing is to enjoy the experience and have fun."

Looking for inspiration for your next trip? Check out these hidden spots.

Written by Matthew Richards

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