5 Tips For Taking Clichéd Travel Photos

You’re about to go travelling for the first time, but there’s a problem. You don’t know how to take a photograph! You got a book from the library, but upon inspection it had more words than pictures. Who can be bothered to read nowadays? If it’s not an easily digestible YouTube clip, then it’s useless.

Fortunately for you, I exist and I’ve decided to help you out in your conquest to take the most clichéd travel photo possible. So beautiful that you can literally put them on Facebook every 2 hours for all those people who don’t give a shit.

1. Don’t Look At The Camera

tourist looking out over wellington

Rookie mistake. Don’t ever look at the camera. Look away. You’re philosophical. You’re an observer of the world. You think really, really deep thoughts. Like “What if we actually are in The Matrix?!” You’re not travelling to have fun, you’re doing it to become cultured. Gaining perspective on life.

Looking at the camera will just show everybody else that you’re a stupid tourist. You want everybody to think that the photo wasn’t fabricated. Like the photographer has just caught you thinking.

back of tourists heads looking at franz josef glacier

So deep.

If your friend whips their camera out, turn away immediately. Otherwise people back home might see the truth in your face. That you’re hungover from the night before, when you slurped copious shots of vodka from a Thai woman’s belly. So cultured.

2. Take Moments, Not Photographs

tourist buying postcards from boy in petra

Like, life is just moments really, isn’t it? Like, you know. Stuff happening. And isn’t stuff happening just beautiful? No, I don’t mean taking the bus back home in England. That’s boring. Shit. Nobody cares about that. But taking the bus in Thailand. Well, that’s beautiful isn’t it? The life. The culture. The beauty. Just beautiful. Nobody at home will be wondering why you’ve started taking photos of everyday shit. Nobody at all.

dog food rolls in new zealand supermarket

Dog food. In rolls. Worthy of a photo surely!

When you’re using your camera, don’t think about the photograph. Just think about the moment. You’re not a tourist. You’re a documenter of life. Look at those people talking. That’s life. Look at that sign in a foreign language. Life, baby! Look at everything, it’s all life. Take photos of everything. Sorry, every “moment”.

obese mannequins jordan

3. Use All The Filters

Who gives a fuck about reality? Nobody wants to see the world for real. The sky is blue, the grass is green. That’s cool. But wouldn’t it be better if the sky was more blue, the grass more green. Well I’ve got good news for you. You can change your photographs to bring out more colour. Making places look even better than they are!

Everybody online will be amazed with your photos. Nevermind the fact that they don’t look anything like the real place. They don’t know that! Stupid fucks.

4. Selfie-Stick It To The Man

asian tourists using selfie stick on mount john lake tekapo

You’ve found the most beautiful place in the world. Paradise. Instinctively you reach for your camera. All your friends back home are going to love this photo. It will brighten up their dull, boring lives. But wait. Shit. If you’re not in the photograph, they wont know how much fun you’re having without them.

asian tourists using selfie stick at lake tekapo

Good job you’ve got a selfie stick so you can always include the most important subject into your photographs: yourself. Nice one.

5. Open Your Arms

There’s an amazing view of the world in front of you. This is a photograph you just have to be in. But what the fuck do you do with your hands?! If you just leave them dangling there awkwardly, it’s going to look weird. Hands in the pockets? Too apathetic, you can’t be apathetic about beauty. Think, think. What could you do?

daniel standing awkwardly during photo on tongariro crossing


I’ve got it! You could stand with your hands in the air. The visual equivalent of shouting “WOOHOO!” Everybody will see how adventurous you are! Forget the fact you just jumped off a tour bus. You earned this moment! Just pretend you’re R Kelly singing “I Believe I Can Fly!”

photo of tourist with arms wide open on tongariro crossing


6. Making a Meal of It

Wait a second, I thought there were going to be 5 tips? Yes, I tricked you, there are more. I just didn’t trust you’d make it this far! But if you have, you truly do want to take amazing travel photos. So here’s another great tip: take pictures of food. All of your food.

morocco sandwich

Back home people would think you were crazy if you whipped your phone out at every meal. But you’re not at home anymore! You’re travelling. So you must document everything you eat. No matter how unappealing it looks. Your parents will surely be interested. “Oh, Daniel’s eating some weird tomato dish tonight! How marvellous!”

egyptian food

I know, I know. It’s not very original. Well, here’s an extra tip to really make your food photos unique. Don’t just take a photo of the dish. Take a photo of yourself eating it! Nobody ever does that!

7. Crop It Like It’s Hot

You’re sitting in the hostel common room, looking at your photos on your laptop. You spent the day at a temple, learning all about Buddhism. Fortunately you also had time to take 500 photographs. But a poor beggar has somehow managed to weasel his way into half of the images.

Not a problem, just crop him out and pretend he never existed. Now you have the perfect temple photo.

The great thing about this tip is that it doesn’t just work for poor people, it also works for tourists, obese people, the disabled and generally anything else that takes away from your photo.

Now that you’ve read these tips, you’re truly ready to take some great travel photos. Good luck!


    • Anxious Travelers says

      You better! I’m sure there’s other cliches I’ve missed though, so don’t take this as a definitive guide. I’m saddened to say we have no photos of ourselves doing the haka in New Zealand as I feel that’d be quite cliched.

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