Taking pictures by the sea at sunset

Capturing the perfect moment: A guide to travel photography


Whether you take the odd snap on your smartphone or you're equipped with a state-of-the-art camera, taking photographs is an essential part of the travel experience. It helps you capture those special moments that you might have otherwise forgotten. It is also the perfect way to document all your life’s travels to be able to look back on those special memories for years to come.

Our guide introduces the essential elements of photography. When you understand these key elements, you'll be better equipped to improve your skills resulting in photos you'll be proud to share with your friends and loved ones. Technicalities aside, you must be prepared for those special moments in order to capture them. Here we share our best suggestions to get you thinking and planning like a photographer!

Technical tips and framing the perfect shot

Becoming confident at using your camera is the first step towards taking better photographs for your travels. By experimenting with different functions and learning how to frame your shots, you’re guaranteed to be on your way to better photographs of your treasured memories.

Capturing unique memories

Successful travel photography isn’t just about being technically savvy when it comes to using your camera; it’s about seeing the world as a photographer, and recognising when a brilliant shot is laid-out before you. Here are top tips for making your holiday photographs more creative, personal and enriching.

Tell the story of your trip

old couple taking selfie

While everyone enjoys sharing holiday photographs, it can be tiresome to sit through hundreds of images that don’t flow together. Rather than taking pictures of every architectural landmark and beautiful vista you see, try to capture the underlying story of your trip from beginning to end. Candid moments, favourite views and meals you want to remember forever are all par the course when it comes to telling the story of your holiday, and will make it more likely that you’ll return to old photo albums in the future.

Carry your camera everywhere

Old school photographer

If you want to take beautiful images during your travels, you need to commit to taking your camera everywhere. How often have you encountered a serene view or unique moment of local life, only to find you’ve left your camera at your hotel? The best photographs are taken in those opportune moments, when you can capture life as it’s happening in front of you – so don’t leave your Emerald Star-Ship without your trusty camera in tow.

Capture the candid moments

While posing in front of landmarks has long been associated with amateur travel photography, we think some of the best holiday snaps come from those more candid moments – when you’ve caught your subject off-guard or they’re not aware you’re taking a photograph.

Be there with a selfie stick

Whatever you think about the new phenomenon that is the selfie stick, there’s no denying that they’re really handy to have when travelling – helping you take great pictures of you and your companions in some unique settings. They can also help you to take steadier shots, acting as a makeshift tripod when you’re trying to photograph a beautiful landscape. Some selfie sticks and camera holders can even be mounted to the front of bicycles, giving you the option to capture unique photos and videos as you pedal along.

Photograph the locals

Old man looking at wine glass

Nothing captures a sense of place quite like photographing local people. Wherever you travel, be it Europe or beyond, you’ll encounter colourful characters, rich traditions and unique customs – and what better way to remember your trip than by photographing these intimate aspects of local life? Whether it’s a street food vendor, taxi driver or your expert tour guide, there are lots of people who you can take pictures of throughout your travels, and it’s a great way to remember special moments you’d otherwise forget.

Find unique aspects

Lavender field in Avignon

Nothing captures a sense of place quite like photographing local people. Wherever you travel, be it Europe or beyond, you’ll encounter colourful characters, rich traditions and unique customs – and what better way to remember your trip than by photographing these intimate aspects of local life? Whether it’s a street food vendor, taxi driver or your expert tour guide, there are lots of people who you can take pictures of throughout your travels, and it’s a great way to remember special moments you’d otherwise forget.

Budding travel photographer? You’ll find limitless opportunities for honing your skills on an Emerald Waterways river cruise. Arriving somewhere new every day of your trip, inspiration awaits from the heart of beautiful Budapest to the splendour of the Wachau Valley – meaning you’ll rarely find time to lower your camera.

To browse our collection of luxury river cruises and tours in Europe and beyond, visit the homepage or call our team now on 855 444 0161.