10 tips for taking a good photo of your tour or activity in action

10 tips for taking a great photo of your tour or activity in action

Posted by Colm Hanratty on Mar 8, 2016

If you’re in the business of marketing yourself online, and you’re in the travel industry, you’re going to need good imagery. A good photo jumps out at you on a website, in a social media feed and from a newsletter.

Taking a good photo isn’t as simple as pointing at something and hitting the camera button – you need to give it a bit more thought than that. But listen to these 10 pieces of advice and you’ll find the photos you’re taking are ones worth sharing.

Always have your camera ready

This is obviously easier said than done when you’re trying to guide a group of between 5-50 people, but if at all possible, always have your camera ready. If you’ve got a good camera on your smartphone, then half the battle is already done. The best shots can sometimes come at the most unexpected times, so if you’re not reactive you’ll miss it.


2. Get to know your camera

Whether it’s a standard camera on a smartphone, an extremely complex one or a digital SLR, your camera can probably do things you’re not aware of. Don’t let the different features go to waste – get to know the functions of your camera and you’ll see the results immediately.

3. Frame it properly

While you’re looking through the viewfinder, look at all the corners and edges. Is there something being cut off that shouldn’t be? Is there a huge gap over one side of the shot that unbalances everything? Take a look at your subject matter and make sure it’s framed perfectly for your photo.

4. Use light to your advantage

You can use light to your advantage in many ways. If you’re up early you can take advantage of sunrise, while if you’re in the position to take photos just before the sun goes down, you’ve a good chance of capturing some very pretty pictures. These are just two ways you can take advantage of light. There are others – don’t shoot into the sun unless you’re deliberately looking for a silhouette and don’t put subject matters directly below lights as it can make strange looking shadows.


5. Clear the foreground

There’s nothing worse than going through your photos and noticing something in the foreground that you weren’t expecting to see there. If you don’t want this to happen to you, make sure to look all around the subject matter to ensure there’s nothing distracting in the photo before you take it.

6. Use a tripod if shooting at night

Capturing landscape photos at night is next to impossible if you don’t have a tripod. But once you do, they can be stunning. If you need photos of your location (which is also your product in this industry) at night, invest in a tripod. They’re not too expensive and you’ll see the results after the first shot.

7. Find interesting perspectives

If you’re based in San Francisco and you operate walking tours of the city that take in the view of Alcatraz from Hyde and Lombard, you take it that numerous other websites have that same photo. You need to think out of the box – how can you feature the famous island in a photo that will make it different to the norm? Once you figure that out you’ll have the edge over your competition.

8. Use lines cleverly

Lines can change the entire appearance of a photo, either for better or worse. They can separate shots, they can draw your attention to a subject matter, they can display the depth of field… they can do lots of things. When you’re looking through the viewfinder, see what lines are in the shot and whether or not they can add to the photo.


9. Have some guts!

This rule mainly applies to people shots… if you don’t take numerous photos when people are at their most natural, you won’t get those shots that really capture the moment. Don’t be afraid to start getting trigger-happy with your camera at all times. But, make sure you get your customers’ permission before you share it!

10. Touch up afterwards

Temperature; sharpness; contrast; exposure – these are all parts of a photo you can edit. Depending on the shot in question, they’ll either add or take away from your photo. You can do this in the most basic software such as ‘Preview’ on a Mac or Adobe Lightroom which is a far more complex tool.

Do you have any other tips to help tour or activity operators take amazing action shots? You can check out our previous post on 5 free image editing apps too! 


Get more pro tips to up your mobile photography game in our free guide by our in-house designer:


Mobile photography guide

Colm Hanratty

Written by Colm Hanratty

Colm is Founder and Managing Director of digital marketing agency Sixtwo Digital. After running Hostelworld.com’s content and social media for almost 11 years he felt it was time to branch out on his own, using all his experience to educate others in the travel space.

Topics: Marketing tips

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