It’s easy to get sucked into the typical travel photography clichés. When you’re travelling the world, you want to take photos to have mementoes of your trip and it’s all too easy to take the same dull shots that everyone else takes. If you want to return home with unique photos inspired by your actual travel experiences rather than generic postcard images, read on to discover our tips for how to avoid travel photography clichés.

Stop taking selfies in front of monuments and landscapes

If you scroll through Instagram you will see thousands of photos of someone standing in front of a landmark either grinning at the camera or looking away nonchalantly into the distance. These photos can look nice if shot well, but the focus is on the person rather than the surroundings. If you want to capture a beautiful landscape or a striking building, resist the temptation to leap into the frame.

How to Avoid Travel Photography Clichés - The Wise Traveller - Selfie

Avoid crowds of photographers

There are many locations around the world where you will have to stand in a long queue or elbow people out of the way to take the same photo as everyone else. Oia’s white and blue buildings in Santorini or Iceland’s most popular waterfalls are good examples of this. If you see a crowd of photographers, by all means admire the view but walk away and find something different to photograph, like a similar scene close by.

Think outside the box

If you’re tempted to photograph a popular building, landmark or natural attraction that you know everyone else will be shooting, think outside the box. Try a different angle or a new perspective on your subject, such as shooting from above or below or zooming in on the detail.

How to Avoid Travel Photography Clichés - The Wise Traveller - Sunset

Play around with light

Sunsets are fun to photograph, but the typical sun-setting-over-the-ocean photo can look dull when you realise how many similar photos there are. Pay more attention to how the changing light and colours affect the whole landscape, rather than just aiming your camera at the ocean.

Don’t get sucked into travel photo trends

Travel photo trends like ‘hotdogs or legs’ or ‘follow me’ might be fun to try out for your self but be aware that everyone is sick of them. Take the photos that you want to look at yourself, rather than what you think you should shoot because everyone else is.

How to Avoid Travel Photography Clichés - The Wise Traveller - PhotographerMaintain your usual photography style

Don’t get sucked into taking generic travel photos by imitating the ‘look’ that you think you should be achieving for a particular location. Keep your usual photography style, even if that results in photos that don’t look like the typical shots of the location. For example, if you usually shoot dark and moody photographs, don’t change your style just because you’re in a sunny Mediterranean location – make the location work for you.

Avoid taking ‘humorous’ photos

You may see other tourists pretending to prop up the Leaning Tower of Pisa or reaching out to ‘hold’ the sun but don’t get sucked into these clichés. They just look naff and overdone.

Emma Lavelle is a UK based writer and photographer and has her own blog Field and Nest.