Let’s get real for a minute. Coming up with Instagram photo ideas can be CHALLENGING at times. When on holiday the whole point is to spend as much time as possible actually enjoying your trip. But the truth is being a travel blogger can often mean being torn between gathering/creating content and just being in the moment.
That being said, slowly but surely I’ve begun to develop methods of getting that shot WITHOUT wasting time wondering what the hell I’m going to do or where I’m going to go.
So if you want to spend more time sipping Mai Tais and less time stressing about Instagram photo inspiration keep reading to learn my 19 best Instagram photo ideas for travel bloggers.
1. Take a restaurant/cafe photo
One of my favourite types of Instagram holiday photos to see are food photos! They’re surprisingly simple but an awesome way to demonstrate to your audience the culture of the country you’re in.
Top tips on how to take Instagram food photos:
- It might sound obvious but remember to take the photo before you start eating so you can actually enjoy the food and give an accurate representation of what it looks like.
- One of the best Instagram photo tricks in to take your picture during the day as the natural lighting will make your photo look x10 better by highlighting the details.
- Often you might need to move items around to get the shot. Play around and see what composition looks best.
- Talking of lighting (again) if you can sit close to a window as this is the best source of natural light.
- Edit the photo in Lightroom after to really bring out the colours (you can see my tutorial for this here ADD LINK)
2. Take a photo from above
One of my most popular Instagram posts this year was this shot I took in Seoul. I love the contrast between the old and new buildings. If you can take a photo from ABOVE eye level – whether that’s of a cityscape or a beach viewpoint overlooking the ocean. Help your audience succumb to their childlike sense of wonder.
3. Hold something against a cool background
For me, this is almost always food or drink related. Remember if you’re holding a cold drink/ice cream you have a limited time frame before it starts melting into your fingertips so plan EXACTLY how and where you’re going to take it beforehand. Bonus points if you have a cute manicure to show off.
Top tip – make sure that the item, not the background is in focus. If you’re using a phone just tap what you want to be the focus of the photo. Otherwise, on a camera double-check through the viewfinder that nothing is looking a little fuzzy.
4. Look over your shoulder
Oh hey, didn’t see you there! One of my favourite Instagram photo ideas is the over the shoulder smize. I like it because it’s kinda cheeky/flirty but in a mysterious way. Who is she? Where did she appear from? Does she want me to follow her? YOU DON’T KNOW.
You can choose to either look directly at the camera or off to the side a little if you don’t want to stare anyone down.
Top tip – this is the perfect opportunity to dig up any clothes you have with back detailing.
5. Snap a pic with your friends
I have to say I’m kind of guilty of having very few pictures with my friends in them but that’s typically because they prefer to stay behind the lens. Another point is I’m often travelling solo so 60% of the time strangers take my photos.
Top tip – if you do get a photo with your friend make sure to consider how they look too. We’re naturally drawn to looking at ourselves in photos but you gotta check your BFF looks good too #interracialfriendshipproblems.
6. Get a street shot
Whether you’re at home or travelling the street shot can give a lot of context to your location. In Korea, I loved incorporating the road markings into my photos as the alphabet is just SO different! It goes without saying if you’re getting a photo in the road be careful and make sure you snap when it’s safe to cross.
7. Grab your sunnies
Sometimes the best Instagram photo idea is sticking to simplicity. There isn’t always time for a full-on photoshoot when you have places to explore and an abundance of food babies to create.
What I love about shots with sunglasses is that they’re great for communicating moods. Do you have fun colourful glasses? Do you have fuck off don’t talk to me shades? Don’t just use them as a prop use them as a way to communicate your brand.
8. Add some movement
Jumping, twirling, swinging, hair flicking… all of these are a fun way to add another layer to your Instagram travel photos. Also what better way to show off that new dress you just bought? I mean…
- Unless you’re shooting in manual on your camera, it can be quite hard to capture quick movements. On your phone, this can be simply achieved by holding your finger on the photo button.
- Often moving halfway is better than the full movement. Instead of walking try rocking from one foot to the other. If spinning just spin halfway and back. It’s a lot easier to capture these movements well.
9. Find a photo wall
Okay so it might not be the most creative Instagram photo idea but it’s worth shooting all the same. Places like LA and South Korea are just FULL of Insta-friendly photo walls and I’m sure you can find somewhere you are too.
- It helps to have a prop for these photos I did kind of feel like my hands were just… spare. That might be something as simple as a bag you can hold or you might have your own idea you’d like to incorporate too.
- These can be pretty popular Instagram photo locations among fashion bloggers and the like so the earlier you go the less likely you are to have to queue or worry about how long you’re taking.
10. Try something adventurous
Steering a party boat in Hawaii has to be one of my most fun experiences of the year. I was sipping on my Mai Tai intently watching a member of the crew drive the boat when he offered for me to have a go. I laughed thinking he was joking but as it turned out he wasn’t. So I sat and steered/modelled for photos while he directed me on which way to spin the wheel.
I’ve also shared pictures of me bungee jumping and climbing (struggling) up 1000 railway steps. While I haven’t set out to do these things for a photo they’ve always ended up as some of my most popular posts!
They give your audience a chance to live vicariously through you and challenge you to get out of your comfort zone and out into the world. Obviously, it goes without saying that your safety comes first.
11. Suitcase pic
Want an easy Instagram travel photo you can take before you even leave the country? Get a snap of your suitcase. Either packing or all zipped up and good to go. I’ve also seen people take these at the airport but when you see me at the airport I’m wearing as close to pyjamas as is socially acceptable and running around like crazy. But if you want to factor in some extra airport time for a photo then go for it.
I’ll let you in on a little secret – the suitcase in this photo is TOTALLY EMPTY. Yup. I wanted to prepare my going away content well in advance so about a week before I was due to go away my friend helped me out with some shots! I literally just stood outside my apartment but you could shoot these anywhere.
12. Take a video
I don’t want to spend hours editing videos so I just take cute 15 sec videos that capture what I’m up to at the time. That might be walking around the city or screaming on the Bali swing. Add some music over the top and all of a sudden it becomes #dreamy.
If you have more time to play with now would be a great time to put those creative Instagram ideas to good use.
13. Hold on to your hats
I bought this hat for $5 at a local market and wore it at every opportunity I got. Partly to prevent hyperpigmentation because I am VERY serious about my skincare, but also because HELLO have you seen how cute it is?
As well as wearing the hat on your head you could also hold it over your face (lying down) or in your hands to mix things up a bit. Remember good friends lend their other friends hats for their photos too!
14. Hotel pic
You know how it goes – towel on the head, room service in hand… life doesn’t get much better! Whether it’s breakfast in bed or admiring the view there are a tonne of cool Instagram ideas you can execute without even having to go outside.
Nothing to post? Here’s an Instagram photo hack – take a photo of a photo. Woah Instagramception. Taking polaroids is one of my favourite ways to capture travel memories. You can choose to hold up the photos against a background or take a cute flat lay and throw in some other reminders of your trip.
16. Embrace the seasons
I won’t lie enjoying summer all year round is a huge perk for me of going on holiday. But I know some people actually enjoy escaping to the colder weather (I will never understand you). Different seasons open the doors to so many cool Instagram photo ideas – playing in the snow, make autumn leaves angels, bikini pics… what’s characteristic of your holiday and how can you convey that in an image.
17. Plane window
I cannot board a plane without sitting at the window. Alright, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration but it truly is the best seat in the house. You get increased nap room, nobody disturbs you and you get the best nature TV show of your row.
18. Make a mood board of Instagram photo inspiration
While it’s not cool to steal people’s ideas (at least without crediting them) one Instagram photo hack I like to use is the ‘saved photos’ feature. In my saved photos I make different collections of photos or Instagram locations that inspire me. Saving photos beforehand streamlines the whole process x100 as then when it comes to actually shooting you won’t be drawing blanks because you already have the inspiration.
This is also incredibly useful if you’re working with a photographer as they can get an idea of the angles and style of shots to take.
19. Instagram photo ideas to avoid
Other people’s kids
A hard no for me is posting pictures to Instagram with other people’s kids in them. Primarily because usually, the child can’t consent/or know what they’re really agreeing to an also because something about it just makes me feel icky.
If you absolutely must post the photo make sure at the very least you have their parent’s permission. Additionally, ask yourself why am I posting this? Is it to share an interesting story or is it to satiate white saviour complex?
Once in Vietnam, I did take a photo of this group of kids on my polaroid camera and gave them it to keep. But I overlooked the fact that there were five kids.. and only one photo. A small fight ensued and I looked on dejected as the photo was angrily thrust into the wind. This affirmed to me that kids are just best left to be kids.
Other people’s houses
There’s an ongoing debate about bloggers getting Instagram photos in front of people’s houses. So here’s my take on it – if you can get the photo without encroaching on someone’s personal space then – go for it. Because if you’re just getting a photo on a street you’re not hurting anybody.
However, if you’re knocking on someone’s door or sitting on the bumper of their car (I’ve seen both happen) you’re just being downright disrespectful.
Putting yourself in danger
Please please do not feel the pressure to put yourself in a dangerous situation for the sake of a photo – it simply isn’t worth it. Travelling the world is a great opportunity to come up with some creative Instagram photo ideas but putting yourself in danger? That ain’t it sis.
I hope you’ve found these Instagram holiday photo ideas useful and if done right Instagram travel photos can be a fun way to express your creativity. Remember to stay safe, be respectful and have fun with it.
Don’t forget to come and follow me over on Instagram for even more travel photo ideas!
More travel blogger tips:
- READ: How To Get Started With Travel Photography
- READ: How To Take Your Own Photos As A Solo Traveller
- READ: 5 Mistakes To Avoid As A Travel Blogger
Do you have any Instagram photo ideas for travel that you’d add to the list? Let me know in the comments!
Pin it for later: