The vacation photo has long been a tradition of travelers and tourists everywhere. How else are you supposed to tell your friends about your trip without a visual aid? Plus, it's a memory to live vicariously through while you waste away at a desk until your next vacation.
But with the digital age and the invention of Instagram, the travel photo has become an entirely new artform. It's an opportunity for everyday people of all backgrounds to curate their own public image with an editorial eye. For a select few with enough creative vision, it allows them to travel the world for free, snapping some beautiful shots along the way.
We caught up with some of those elusive Instagrammers to find out some of their most helpful secrets. Follow these simple tips on your next vacation.
"I use Instagram to find influencers and photographers in the city I’m visiting. I travel alone a lot, and each place I go to, it’s important for me to have my photo taken by someone else who understands photography. I start by searching popular city hashtags like #visit_berlin, and then click on the photos I find most interesting. Then I contact a few by direct message for the hope to meet up." -Freddy Rodriguez (@blueperk)
Make a Friend
"Traveling on your own, still want pictures to remember the trip by, but too shy to ask strangers to take pictures for you? No problem. Just offer to take pictures for strangers. They'll almost always offer to return the favor. Everyone gets pictures and everyone wins!" -Kit Williamson (@kitwilliamson) & John Halbach (@johnhalbach)
"To find the best photogenic locations, I always start with geotags on Instagram from other Instagrammers who inspire me, and then see what the top nine photos are. This way, I get an idea for what the location looks like and what I would like my photo to look like before arriving. That’s how I decide what outfits I will coordinate with locations when traveling." -Freddy
Find Your Light
"Watch for bridges, overhangs, and anything else that might create a shadow to give you even light to take a picture in. Direct sun can lead to an image being blown out, and low light can get you a picture where you can't see how beautiful your eyes are. There are spots out there for you to get the perfect shot if you're looking for them." -Kit & John
Catch the Golden Hour
"Take advantage of the 'golden hour.' Taking photos in the earlier morning or right before sunset can result in some extremely beautiful light. If you're an early bird, you might also avoid touristy crowds by showing up right when a location opens." -Melissa Langley & Constance Taylor (@lezbackpack)
Strike a Pose
"Don't forget to add a human element. Travel photos of beautiful locations can be breathtaking, but travel photos of a beautiful location with a person in them can be enviable. Viewers look at our pictures to put themselves in our shoes. It seems common sense, but we strike a cord with our audience when we show ourselves on our travels." -Melissa & Constance
Editing is Key
"Lightroom is the best tool. There are also many apps you can use on the iPhone. My favorites are Snapseed, VSCO, and Polarr. The key is figure out what type of mood or feel you're looking for, and make sure you edit your photos all the same way to create a cohesive look. If you can invest in a good camera, it'll cut down the need to edit your photos. Some of the scenic photos I've taken on my good camera didn't need to be be edited at all." -Cameron Lee (@thecameronlee)
"Leave them wanting more. When you're posting all the amazing pictures you're getting of your trip, be sure to spread them out and only post one image every two hours or so. No one likes to have their feed clogged up with 10 pictures from the same person. Okay, maybe your mom does, but she can go directly to your profile, okay?" -Kit & John
"Getting the most out of social media posts on Instagram is best done by using specific related hashtags that aren’t over used. For example, #indotraveller has only been used 319,768 times, meaning it is not as popular as, let's say #love, which has over a billion posts. The lower the posts in a hashtag allows you a more likely chance to be one of the top nine photos and for your photo to be seen by more people on Instagram, which will hopefully mean more followers for you." -Freddy
First full day exploring Lombok was a blast Went for a morning swim, took a hike & visited 3 beaches with the most beautiful crystal blue water The @aseantourismonline team have made a great itinerary so far This photo was captured in-between tanning sessions by @saulrasco, who is also on my trip for another point of view from ASEAN region #ASEAN50 #BluePerkTravels
"I am a true believer that quality will stand the test of time. Don't worry about the number of likes or comments you get right away. Focus on the quality of the content. There are photos that I've taken that didn't get that many likes on my account, but they've been picked up by many popular travel accounts that have generated millions of likes. At the end of the day, if you have quality content, that's what people are looking for. Tag some of the popular accounts in your post, and they might repost you. Collaborate and work with other influencers and companies to get the most out of your posts." -Cameron