5 Cliché Travel Photos to Avoid and 5 to Take Instead

Tips & Tricks

You’ve seen them a million times. They show up on practically every other post as you scroll through your Instagram feed. You know what we're talking about — those cheesy photos that every single tourist takes. On your next vacation, why not strive to be different? Whether you consider yourself a photographer or not, it's time to retire these outdated photos and bring something fresh to your photo album. To help you out, here are five cliché travel photos you should avoid and five to take instead.

Selfie Differently

Leave the Selfie Stick at Home

Credit: Artem Beliaikin/ Unsplash

Some people think the selfie stick is the greatest invention in the last hundred years. It’s certainly helpful, but at this point, everyone has one — and nothing screams “tourist” like trying to cram a group of people in front of a selfie stick. Not to mention, these sticks can become bulky weapons, and you run the risk of whacking an unsuspecting person in the face while trying to capture the perfect shot. Maybe that's why places like Disneyland have banned them.

We’re not bashing selfies. You can still go for the selfie (for solo travelers, it’s sometimes a necessity). Just do it differently. Find a new angle or backdrop. Play around with lighting and try to create a sun flare. Just, leave your selfie stick at home. It’ll free up some room in your suitcase.

Be Romantic

But Skip the "Follow Me To" Pose

Credit: Natalia Deriabina/ Shutterstock

If you have an Instagram account, you’ve seen this photo — a girl with her back turned, walking down a street or a beach and reaching one arm back to grasp the photographer’s hand. It's been dubbed the "Follow Me To" pose, a trend that was started by an Instagram influencer couple in 2013.

While the pose has launched a thousand reposts, it's a little outdated. You can still take a cute, frame-worthy photo with your significant other, but try inventing your own trend that you build on throughout your trip. Or, if you have someone else along with you, have them snap some truly candid photos that aren’t posed at all — just you and your S.O. exploring a new place together.

Find a New Angle on a Common Monument

No Pinching or Pushing

Credit: Ekaterina Pokrovsky/ Shutterstock

Half the time, these photos fail anyway since they’re hard to line up — making it appear as if you’re tapping the top of the Eiffel Tower, cupping the base of the Statue of Liberty, or giving the Leaning Tower of Pisa a hand. This pose is best skipped.

Instead, find a new angle on these much-photographed landmarks. Explore a side street for a different perspective. Lean out to the side. Lie on the ground if you have to! Changing your perspective is the best way to get some fresh and unique travel photos of both your loved ones and surroundings.

Make Use of Props

And Skip Outdated Pop Culture References

Credit: Nattawit Khomsanit/ Shutterstock

The Titanic pose with your significant other, walking across Abbey Road with your best friends, or striking the dip-kiss pose made famous in Times Square after V-Day. Sure, they might be a lot of fun, but they're all too common. Skip the famous poses and exercise your creativity to come up with something new.

Instead, think of your photos as a visual scrapbook by photographing objects you’ve accumulated on your travels. Hold up your ferry ticket in front of the ferry. Prop a postcard on a wall with a view of the city. Show of a handful of local coins and smile. Cheers with that beer or coffee you loved. Then snap a photo. You’ll come home with a unique set of photos instead of the same old pop culture poses everyone else has. Bonus: you'll feel better about throwing away those brochures before you leave, so they don't litter your suitcase on the way home.

Get Off the Beaten Path

Leave the Ordinary Behind and Discover Something New

Credit: MJTH/ Shutterstock

Yes, you’d probably look cool standing on top of Machu Picchu. But that’s what everyone does in Peru. You’d look a lot cooler exploring a hidden hiking trail that locals gave you the tip-off about.

We’re not saying you can’t take photos at places that are well-trafficked by tourists. Go for it! After all, those locations are busy for a reason. But save plenty of space on your memory card or phone for other pictures that get away from the typical tourist shot.

Photograph something off the beaten path. Get away from the tourist-laden streets, restaurants, and attractions and find some hidden neighborhoods or parks instead. You’ll have a blast and get a chance to experience the place you’re visiting beyond just the touristy attractions. You’ll also end up with some pretty fabulous photos.

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