how to get instagram worthy travel pics!

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You spend months planning your trip and imagine yourself posting gorgeous shots all over social media, becoming the envy of all your friends! You even screen-shot your favorite influencers looking trés chic in front of a favorite Parisian hotspot or eating gelato in front of the Trevi Fountain. But when you actually get there you find it’s anything but glamorous! The streets are overcrowded and people are pushing each other out of the way. You leave feeling frustrated and like a first-class Pinterest fail.

Don’t be too tough on yourself! Those epic shots usually take a LOT more work than you realize!

Here are some of my favorite tips to get influencer worthy travel pics:

Do your research. Visit locations before you shoot so you can assess crowds, check lighting, and determine which time of day will be best to capture that dream shot. As a general rule, golden hour (that time just around sunset) makes for the prettiest light but if you’re shooting at an indoor location you may want to visit when there’s more natural light pouring in through the windows. If I have a location in mind, I’ll often visit several times in one day so I can properly assess the situation. If the location requires a ticket, be sure to purchase ahead of time on-line to avoid the queue.

Plan Your Outfits! Know the colors of the location where you’ll be shooting at so you can coordinate your outfits ahead of time! Leave the workout clothes at home and wear a fabulous sundress instead! Throw on a cute hat and sunglasses for that instant “travel glam” factor!

Show some movement in your photos!  A long skirt or sundress is an easy way to start! A cute hat is another way to get that chic-travel blogger look!

Show some movement in your photos!
A long skirt or sundress is an easy way to start! A cute hat is another way to get that chic-travel blogger look!

Go-Pro! And, I don’t mean with your camera. If you really want to make the most of your travel pics, invest in pro hair and makeup the day of the shoot. Have the stylist come straight to your hotel or airbnb one morning and then head out on the town to capture your images. If you’re on a budget, in many cities you can still get a shampoo & blow-dry for less than $20. It will make a world of difference in your photos!

Show movement! Don’t just stand there staring at the camera like a typical tourist! Instead, show some MOVEMENT in your images! Tell a story by interacting with your surroundings. Invite the viewer in with your eyes and smile! Practice your walk, twirling your skirt and laughing at the camera so you know how you look best!

Act Quickly! If you’re shooting at a popular tourist spot there will most likely be crowds so you’ll need to act FAST. Sometimes you’ll only have a few seconds to get your shot in before you're shooed out of the way or asked to leave. That’s why practicing (as mentioned above) is super important!

Quick Change. If you'll need to change outfits, wear bike shorts and a tube top under your clothes so you don't have to run and hide or use a dirty bathroom.

Hire an “Instagram Boyfriend” Even if you’re a photographer yourself, consider hiring a local guide! Airbnb has local “experiences” where you can hire “travel photographer” or “instagram boyfriend” for a few hours. They are extremely reasonably priced and well worth the small investment. I do this in many of the cities I visit, since these guides know where the beautiful, off-the-beaten path spots are for photos. Plus, if you’re traveling alone you’ll have someone to take YOUR pics for you!

Don’t be shy! If you’re not with a group, don’t be afraid to ask someone to take a photo of you. In my experience, your best bet will be to look for a teenage or college-aged girl! Young girls are so social media savvy. They’ll be honored to help you and will know how to compose the best images. The worst person to ask is usually someone’s dad or grandpa (sorry guys!)

Remember! Influencers often take hundreds of images to get that ONE shot you see on their instagram page so don’t be too tough on yourself! Don’t try to compete or compare yourself to them. But you CAN get the best version of YOU by spending just a little bit of time on the planning and prep!

I can’t wait to see what you create!

Ready to learn more? Want my secret to finding fabulous instagram worthy locations when I travel? Click here to find out how I do it….

Heidi HapanowiczComment