Creating Storytelling Images on the Road: A Guide To Travel Photography

Travel photography is a captivating and rewarding genre that allows photographers to document their journeys, share cultural experiences, and capture the beauty of diverse landscapes.

Whether you’re an amateur or a professional photographer, it is possible to capture your images from the road and create storytelling images that will bring the essence of your travels home with you. 

Here are some tips to enhance your travel photography and assist you in creating storytelling images on the road… 

Research and Plan for Each Destination

Planning a successful travel photography trip involves careful consideration of various factors to ensure you capture the best moments and scenes.

For each destination on your travels, make notes of diverse landscapes, cultural richness, and unique features that interest you.

Then consider the weather conditions and seasons that align with your photography goals. Different seasons offer very distinct photo opportunities, so make sure your travel itinerary takes this into account.

Identify famous landmarks, iconic spots, and must-visit locations in the area where you can plan to capture the essence of the local culture, including people, traditions, and daily life.

But be aware that some ancient landmarks and places of historical significance may only be used for photography opportunities under the protection of permits and restrictions.

Research and obtain any necessary permits for photography, especially in sensitive areas or historical sites. 

Photography Gear

Camera and Lenses: Pack your camera body and a selection of lenses suitable for various types of shots.

Depending on what your storytelling plans are and how adventurous you plan to get, you may want to bring a sturdy tripod, and the necessary items – lens filters, extra batteries, memory cards, and a camera cleaning kit.

If you have more kit than you can comfortably carry (like all good photographers), consider shipping your equipment ahead of your arrival, it can often be the most cost effective option, as opposed to excess baggage rates. 

Backup and Storage

Having a backup plan is essential; you do not want all your efforts to go to waste!

Ensure you have a secure and trustworthy backup storage solution, such as an external hard drive or cloud service, to safeguard your photos.

Plus, it is a good idea to set up a file-naming and storage system to keep your photos organised during the trip. 

Book Accommodation

Proximity to shooting locations is going to be at the top of your list when it comes to selecting where to stay (as well as budget – popular tourist destinations can prove to be pricey!!).

Choose accommodation that is centrally located or easily accessible to your planned photography spots.

And as you are no doubt travelling with some pretty pricey photography equipment, ensure that security is on point, wherever you choose to lay your head.

Ensure your accommodation provides a secure place for your equipment. 

Local Transportation

Plan how you’ll get around, whether it’s by rental car, public transport, or a mix of both.

Scout out your locations and familiarise yourself with the local transportation options to reach remote or less-travelled spots.

Create a flexible itinerary to suit any local restrictions, with designated times for specific shoots and locations.

Schedule photography sessions during the golden hours (early morning and late afternoon) for optimal lighting. 

Capture Candid Moments

Candid shots often tell more authentic stories than posed ones. Be patient and observe people in their natural environment.

Capture interactions, emotions, and spontaneous moments to add depth to your storytelling.

People can be powerful storytelling elements. Include locals, fellow travellers, or even yourself in the frame to add a human touch to your images.

Pay attention to their expressions, gestures, and relationships between individuals.

The best advice to ensure you manage to find these specific moments is to be observant and open to unexpected photo opportunities; they will always occur when you least expect them, so be ready to click that shutter! 

Use Varied Perspectives and Focus on Details

Experiment with different angles and perspectives to add visual interest to your storytelling images.

Consider shooting from low angles, high vantage points, or through objects to create a unique viewpoint.

Zoom in on small details to highlight the intricacies of a place. This can include textures, patterns, or culturally significant objects. These details can complement the overall story and give viewers a closer look at the environment.

You can also use composition techniques such as leading lines, framing, and the rule of thirds to guide the viewer’s eyes through your images.

But be sure that the composition supports the narrative you want to convey. 

Capture the Essence of a Place

You can capture the unique feel of each location by trying to document local traditions and customs.

Attend local events, festivals, or ceremonies to capture the vibrancy of the culture.

Pick out elements of traditional customs, rituals, and practices to provide a comprehensive view of the destination.

Look for iconic landmarks, landscapes, or elements that define the essence of the location.

Focusing on these points will help serve as anchor points for your storytelling and provide context to the overall narrative. 

Edit Thoughtfully

Editing plays a significant role in enhancing the overall quality and impact of travel photography.

While capturing a compelling image in-camera is crucial, post-processing allows photographers to fine-tune and optimize their shots, correcting imperfections and adding creative elements.

When creating a series of images to tell a story or document a journey, editing helps maintain a consistent look and feel across the collection.

This cohesiveness enhances the overall visual impact of your travel portfolio.

Unfortunately, sometimes, due to challenging lighting conditions, certain parts of an image may be underexposed or overexposed.

Editing provides the tools to salvage these shots and bring out details in both dark and bright areas. 


Remember, the most important aspect of travel photography is to enjoy the experience and immerse yourself in the culture and surroundings.

Each destination offers a unique opportunity for creative expression and personal growth as a photographer, so be observant, patient, and open to the unexpected.

Through your storytelling images, you can share the essence of your travel experiences and create a visual narrative that resonates with others.