Every time someone tells me they think I take amazing photos I just want to hug them. It's probably one of the best compliments I get just because it's something I love to do and it's the best way I capture travel memories.

Pictures are usually worth more than a 1,000 words.

So with compliments, I also get the "how do you do it?" questions. I even got asked to share my tips at an upcoming media trip for Lake Erie Shores & Islands. So I figured I would share with you my secrets of capturing the best travel photos that will hopefully make your friends go "Holy ___!"

Change up poses/eye contact

If you or someone else is going to be the subject, change it up every time. Always looking into the camera and smiling can be boring. I don't do yoga, but I love balancing and yoga poses in my photos. Play with body movement and look into the distance or down. Doing this creates more of a mood/feeling to the image.



One shot is not good enough 

This may just be one of the biggest mistakes. You can never take enough photos. I take a minimum of 3 photos for every shot and get the same shot from multiple angles. It's just like when someone takes one group photo of your friends and you closed your eyes. Sorry, there was only one photo. Don't let that happen on the summit shot of your hiking trip.

Be daring

"Are you really balancing on the edge of that cliff?!" Yes, yes I am. And what they don't see is my boyfriend actually hanging off of the cliff to get the picture. A good photographer won't stand behind the ropes and take the same picture as everyone else. Jump the rope until someone tells you the cops are being called. I usually draw the line at death and jail.



Don't be afraid to look ridiculous

If I could count the number of times people looked at me with crazy eyes. Why yes, lady in the green sweater, I am laying in the middle of the sidewalk.

Find your editing niche

I don't own Photoshop, Lightroom or any kind of fancy editing software. A lot of my photos are edited through Instagram. My photos are known to be bright with lots of colors, so that's how I continue to edit them. Some like pale colors with a softness, whatever you like be consistent with your photo editing.




Invest in equipment

I have a GoPro, Canon 7D, ONA camera bag, and my trusty iPhone. None were cheap, but they are all great quality. Photography equipment is just about the only thing besides travel itself that I'm willing to pay bigger bucks for. I do it because pictures are going to be how I remember my life and that is really important to me. However, a lot of my photos are taken with my phone. So if you don't have money to invest, don't get discouraged. I’ve taken some award-winning shots with nothing fancier than the iPhone.

Rule of Thirds!

Super important! Very rarely do I post a photo where the subject is in the center of the image. I only do that if it is absolutely needed. Rule of thirds means that off-centered photos grab more viewers’ attention. This also goes for horizon lines, if you are shooting a sunset over water, don't make the line where they meet across the center. Move the photo so the line is slightly above or below the area.




Ask strangers

"Hi there, can you please take a picture of me dangling from the ledge next to the waterfall while looking away like I'm staring at a majestic eagle? K thanks. Oh wait, it also needs to be horizontal.” It may seem weird to ask, but most of the time they go along with it. If you get the picture and don't like the way they took it...wait for the next person to come by and ask again.

It's all about angles

Boring pictures are taken standing up. Get down on your stomach or climb a wall to get a better shot. Be fun and creative with angles, showing people a scene in a different perspective will capture their attention.




Show creativity/ uniqueness

Again, you want to stand out and make your photos different from everyone else. Take some quirky, unique characteristics you have and transfer them to your photos. It’s a win every time.

Tell a story

The best photos are the ones that make people wonder. They either wonder the story behind it or the story of it. Add some mystery, inspiration and jaw-dropping images. At the end of the day, it's your story behind them all. How do you want to be remembered?




  1. Trina Rowell on February 10, 2015 at 8:24 PM

    Nice, inspiring and helpful tips. Thanks for sharing!

    • ShaleeWanders on February 13, 2015 at 2:31 PM

      No problem, thank you for reading!

  2. farlane on February 11, 2015 at 7:18 AM

    Great suggestions. I’d add the most important one – GO! 🙂

    • ShaleeWanders on February 13, 2015 at 2:31 PM

      Yes! That is definitely the most important one 🙂

  3. brucegezon on February 11, 2015 at 11:32 AM

    Great blog, Shalee! Thanks for the tips and examples. Luv it. Keep it comin!

    • ShaleeWanders on February 13, 2015 at 2:31 PM

      Thank you!! I appreciate all the support!

  4. Rena on February 21, 2015 at 11:24 AM

    Beautiful photos and great words, I am really enjoying your blog! 🙂

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