Instagram and adventures really do go hand in hand; after all, studies show that many people actually travel for the ‘gram. Since sharing your pictures is even more fun (and impressive) when they look ultra-pro, we talked with a handful of photographers, travel bloggers, and IG influencers to get a few tips that’ll help you capture the best snapshots on your next trip. Scroll on for their insider secrets — no filters or editing needed.

1. Keep it clean and simple. Instagram influencer Sarah Funky advises keeping shots clean and simple. “Don’t overcomplicate it,” she tells us. “The more simple the background, oftentimes the better.” Funky makes her pictures look pretty by coordinating the colors in her Instagram feed and swears by sharing only your most top-notch stuff. “Quality is better than quantity, so make sure every photo has great lighting and a story behind it — even if you make it up! Aim for an excellent composition.”

Stephen Aviano, the director of photography at Travelzoo, agrees. “A clean composition is key,” he echoes. “Too much can be a distraction, so center your shot with one main focus.”

2. Make the most of golden hours. “Light plays a big part in how your pictures will turn out, and many of the best images are shot during the golden hour, which occurs twice a day,” professional photographer Alex Waltner of Swedish Nomad schools us. “Look for this kind of lighting in the morning before the sun rises and toward evening when the sun is going down.” Waltner says that taking advantage of one of the day’s natural golden hours is a legit way to get rid of sharp shadows or the too-bright light that shows up in shots midday.

Travel blogger Lindsay Stein agrees that good lighting makes all the difference when it comes to creating an image that stands out. “Yes, there are preset filters and apps that can fix lighting, but the best way to capture a quality image is taking advantage of natural light,” she affirms. “Personally, I love bright and colorful images since they really embody the beauty in different foods, cultures, and people.” 

3. Get creative with how you position yourself. Waltner’s second tip will help you score photos from all sorts of angles. The trick? Switch up your position while photographing the same thing to capture heaps of snapshots that look and feel different. “To constantly photograph from the same angle or position will become boring,” he explains. “To keep it interesting and get great pictures, change your position towards the subject. Trying bending down, moving to the side, squatting, lying down, and so on. Use your imagination!” To test this technique, Watner suggests practicing with shots of animals or kids. “Try shooting at the same level as your subject,” he offers. “Then, take some shots from above. See how you can create the most vivid and compelling picture.”

Rachelle Lucas, a traveler who has experienced more than 50 countries, reminds us that you don’t need a drone to score unusual shots. “Back in my video production days, we used to scout parking garages for one that had the best view of the city from the top. It’s an easy way to get a high angle without using a drone. Plus, it’s a great place to capture a sunrise or sunset.”

4. Always be ready. Spontaneous shots can be the best ones, so train yourself to keep your eyes out for unique structures, scenery, or epic moments that happen to unfold right before your eyes. Even more, make sure whatever camera you carry works well and is ready to go. When it comes to the right kind of equipment, Aviano suggests buying a camera with Bluetooth and using a big memory card so you can snap away without running out of storage. Lucas cast her vote for a mirrorless camera. “This kind of camera is more compact and lightweight than a typical DSLR, and therefore easier to travel with,” she explains. “Plus, most have WiFi built-in and smartphone app connectivity so you can transfer your great shots directly to your phone to share on Instagram.” 

How do you score great travel snapshots? Tweet us your top tips @BritandCo!

(Featured photo via Getty)