The Instagram Star's Guide to Taking Your Best Travel Photos Ever

Because, ugh, how do they make it look like that??

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(Image credit: Instagram)

Traveling is about the experience, sure—but really, who are we kidding: It's about the Instagrams. So just how do you get the perfect snap of your destination? We caught up with Instagram phenom Olivia Lopez of Lust for Life to get her tips on just how to capture the perfect moment—selfie stick not included.

1. Plan Ahead

"Most sightseeing is better experienced when you don't spend loads of time cramped or crowded around a landmark, and this especially applies to photography. If you're planning to see something tourist-heavy on a trip, try going in the morning or a weekday when it's not so busy if you can. For example: The Eiffel Tower is much more scenic (and photographable) in the early morning hours when you don't need to fight for a view amongst the selfie sticks."

2. Find Your Light

"My key to a capturing a great photo is good lighting. Whenever you're shooting a subject, make sure the sun is facing what you're photographing instead of shining behind it—this ensures your images won't be blown out."

3. Download editing apps

"People are always surprised to find that most of my images are caught on my iPhone—editing takes any photo to the next level thanks to VSCOSnapseed, or Afterlight."

4. Frame Your Images

"Framing your images with architecture, a blue sky, or nature adds an inviting element of perspective."

5. Live a Little

"The best images are moments, and I've found that some of my favorite photos capture the unplanned parts of travel. Aimless exploring allows you to absorb the details of a city you may have otherwise missed."

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Samantha Leal
Samantha Leal

I'm Sam, the senior editor at I love shining a light on awesome people doing things that matter, cool products and hacks for everyday life, and advice you'll actually use. I'm pretty much always looking for the perfect GIF for any situation. When I'm not trolling the internet, I can be found dancing like a weirdo or napping like it's my job. Right now, I'm probably eating or drinking something filled with sugar or booze. (Sorry, mom.)