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Instagramming Your Trip: Getting the Perfect Shot

We’re sharing tips and tricks on making your subject look good in your visual travel diaries!

We’ve all seen those travel shots on Instagram – the ones that make us want to hop on a plane to a faraway destination, sip a mojito, don a bikini, and strike a pose on an exotic beach in the hopes that we too will look like a social media influencer.

If you’ve ever tried to recreate one of these you’ll realise that getting the perfect shot can literally take hundreds of attempts, and very rarely ends up like that post you marvelled at on your favourite Instagram account.

Angles, lighting, framing, practice and hundreds of takes all go into perfecting those travel pics. Taking really amazing Instagram photos is not easy; while we can’t help you become an IG influencer, our guide on creating better images may help improve your chances. Keep reading for top tips on how to look even better in your Instagram travel pics!

How to Make Your Subject Look Good in Photos

Unfortunately, looking like a professional model in photographs doesn’t come naturally to most of us. But don’t worry; we’ve curated some top tips and tricks around what to do to look your best and how to make your subjects look good in your Insta snaps.

It’s All About the Angles...

If you’ve seen images taken minutes apart from different angles you’ll know that they can completely change a photograph. Try playing around with shooting from above, below, or even diagonally – get creative!

For portrait shots, professionals recommend avoiding facing the camera straight on as this is rarely flattering, no matter who you are! Turn your head left or right slightly to allow the camera to capture your features in depth. In an article on, writers Maggie Griswold and Samantha Feher say to avoid face-on shots and instead take a face shot from above to give the angles of your face more definition. “To master this, snap away! It’s all about finding that sweet spot and having lots of options.”

Images @chelseakauai

…And Lighting

Getting your lighting right is essential in photography, and Instagram pics are no different. For the best photography lighting for portrait shots or selfies, don’t stand directly under or in front of a light as this can play havoc with shadows on your face (unless of course, you want a sunset silhouette!) Facing directly or side-on to soft, natural light is the best option.

In an article in the Huffington Post, influencer and model Margaret Zhang says natural light is always the best option for shooting “so if you're outdoors, early morning, late afternoon and overcast days are prime times for shooting.". With almost 2 million followers, we think she knows what she’s talking about.

Shooting in the right light is just as important when taking scenery shots. National Geographic photojournalist Renan Ozturk likes to shoot at sunset or sunrise, which makes for some fantastic imagery.

Image @margaret_zhang

Composition and Framing

Composition and framing in photography refer to placing visual aspects within an image and how your subject is framed within a photograph. To help you take a great shot, frame and compose your subject while shooting so you can see the exact composition.

The basic rule of composition – particularly for beginners - has been to use the power of thirds. This technique involves mentally dividing your image into 9 equal square parts (kind of like a noughts and crosses board), and then framing your main subject at the intersection of these squares. Many cameras these days actually have a grid format option to make it easier for you!

Despite this being seen as one of the most well-known photography techniques, it’s not a rule to follow all the time as each photograph and subject is different. Placing the subject slap bang in the middle often works well, so test your framing and composition to determine which works best for each shot.

Image top @directormesut

Image bottom @jpgoldsmithm

Lift your Arms and Elongate your Neck!

There are some nifty tricks to use when posing that will make any picture super flattering. Poses such as putting your hand on your hip, lifting your arms slightly off your body, or elongating your neck and pushing your face forward a little can ensure you look fantastic in all photos.

It might feel awkward, but it will look great in the final shot!

Play with Shapes and Patterns

Many professional photographers like to use patterns and shapes to create bold visual impact in their images. Patterns, textures, and shapes are appealing as the eye is naturally drawn to these elements. Try looking for repetitive or contrasting shapes. These can be found in many forms and locations from artfully decorated plates in a Turkish market, to an Arabian Mosque, to a traditional Filipino meal in a local village. So remember to be on the lookout for any shapes or patterns that you see, as well as cool textures and materials such as sand, gravel, wood, glass, or stone that can bring a whole new dimension to your pics.

Whether it’s a selfie in front of the Eiffel Tower or a shot of a horse galloping through the Utah desert, these top 5 tips used by professionals around the world will help your subjects look better in your Instagram photography.

Images top: @jobsavelsberg - @chuklanov

Images bottom: - @the_retree

Travelex Top Tips

Spend more time getting the perfect shot and less time worrying about exchanging currency by organising your foreign currency before your trip. You can buy your cash online, then simply collect it at your nearest Travelex store or at your local Australia Post office, you can also load currency directly onto the Travelex Money Card online or via the Travelex Travel Money app for our very best rates!