Laguna Trip Blog Edition

Gadgets & Gears

3 Rules For Better Travel Photos

First of all, please note that i’m not a photographer. I have lots of friends who are a professional photographer, but no i’m not a photographer, yet!

Second of all, the three rules that i’m about to share to you, are designed for people who have no idea the differences between digital camera, pocket camera, point and shoot camera, DSLR camera, SLR camera, Prosumer, pro consumer camera, etc. Don’t worry you don’t have to know all of those things to have good travel photos. All you need is your digital camera / a smartphone in your hand and these 3 rules!

  1. Make sure the background is not crooked!
    I don’t know about you, but when i travel i take lots of selfie scenery photos. First rule is when i take the photo, i make sure the background is not crooked! Which means that the horizon of the background is leveled correctly. See image below for samples.

    The bottom photo looks better than the top photo, right? Photo taken using Nikon J1.

    The bottom photo looks better than the top photo, right?
    Photo taken using Nikon J1.

  2. Rule of thirds
    When you have people (subject) + beautiful scenery in the background, make sure you frame the subject using the rule of thirds. Imagine the photo you are taking is broken into thirds both vertically and horizontally. The best spot to place your subject is at one of the crosshairs of these lines and  try to place it along one of these lines for a more interesting photo. Some cameras already have “grid lines” option in the camera settings. I would suggest to turn it on to guide you doing the rule #1 & #2.

    Remember the rule of thirds! Photo taken using Nikon J1.

    Remember the rule of thirds!
    Photo taken using Nikon J1.

  3. CBC is your best friend.
    CBC stands for Contrast, Brightness and Crop ( i made this up). CBC can be done easily using your favorite photo editor software/app. If you don’t have one, i would suggest Photoscape! It’s FREE and it has every basic things you need to edit your amateur photo. A good photo doesn’t need any editing, but then again nothing in this world is perfect, somethings need some “enhancements”. Normally when i have copied the photos from my camera into my laptop, i would open my Photoscape software and begin to enhance by adding more contrast, check if the photo is too bright or too dark, and then if i forgot the rule of thirds, i will crop it accordingly. Photoscape can also help you fix the crooked photo too (use the ‘Rotate Abitrary’ tool). So basically this software is GREAT for me……. and you!

    Photoscape is GREAT!

    Photoscape is GREAT!

I’m not saying when you follow these three rules, your photo will look like a photo taken by a professional photographer. But when you do follow these three rules, your photos will definitely look BETTER!

Last but not least, please remember that photo is an art and rules are made to be broken. So don’t be afraid to break the rules and be creative in making an art, your art! :)

@iamMariza – who (maybe) someday will make money from photography.



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About IamMariza

Born in Surabaya and raised in Jakarta in a multicultural family, her parents introduced to her the world of traveling at a young age and has been addicted to backpacking since 2008, dumping her tourist status quo. She is the founder of Follow her rants and ramblings about her life as a traveler on her Twitter: @iamMariza

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  1. PaulMay 27, 2014 at 8:29 pmReply

    Great tips! I always use the rule of thirds tip – Photos look so much better like this, rather than the subject matter being central. I’m terrible for getting my shots aligned properly though – I have to use the “auto level” feature on Lightroom quite a lot haha!

  2. FransiskusFeb 28, 2016 at 9:42 amReply

    I haven’t well done yet by using its photos rule of thirds on my travel picture, sometimes lose a moment at the time late to thinking. Hopefully it will be well done soon. Thanks for your post it makes simple upon travel photos on right way.

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