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7 Top Tips for Taking Great Videos While Traveling

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When you’re planning a trip or getaway, you’re probably thinking about all the time you plan to spend at the beach, visiting the sights, and enjoying local wine, food, and friends. But what about all the memories you’ll want to capture while you’re there? What about footage to share on your social media?

If you’re bringing your camera along on your trip (and you should be!), taking great videos doesn’t just happen by chance. Here are some tips to get you started.

1. Look for places away from the crowds

Man with a camera doing video storytelling. Palm trees and fog in background

Have you seen those TikTok videos from popular tourist destinations where they show you the Instagram-perfect shot, and then reveal what it’s really like? Most of the time tourist destinations are crowded and people are all looking to get the same iconic shots of the location. This means that you need to be creative about how you take video in those crowds, so you get the best footage.

Imagine that you’re driving through California, for example. Whether you’re on the Golden Gate Bridge or you’re going to check out the giant redwoods, you’ll need to find vantage points away from the crowds to get the best videos possible. You can always find unique spots to film by doing online research or asking locals about some of the area’s hidden gems.

2. Watch where the light is coming from

backlit person

Make sure your videos are well-lit by considering the lighting conditions at your filming location. If you’re outdoors, try to film during the golden hour—the hour before sunset or after sunrise when the light is softer and more flattering. If you’re indoors, make use of natural light coming in from windows or open doors.

If you’re facing a light source, such as the sun, your subjects will likely be backlit and their faces in shadow. This is not ideal for taking video. After all, if you’re trying to take videos for your vlog or to show on social media, people will want to see your face as you talk about the amazing things you’re seeing.

Instead, try to position yourself so that the light source is behind you and your subjects are in front of you, well lit. This will result in better footage overall.

3. Bring a good light source

person videoing two people at a table

Even if you’re trying to avoid backlighting your subjects, there are going to be times when the only way to get the shot is by using a light source. This will help ensure you get well-lit videos no matter what time of day it is or what lighting conditions you’re dealing with.

Consider packing a LumeCube Ring Light or other similar fill light. These lights are fantastic to use on the go. A good fill light can help you as the sun goes down, help you get rid of midday shadows on faces, and create crisper videos that you’d get otherwise.

4. Consider other camera accessories

camera on a tripod

A great light source isn’t the only thing you need to create high-quality videos. There are other devices and accessories that can make getting footage more manageable.

As you evaluate accessories for your smartphone or video camera, consider the destinations and activities you plan to experience. Taking great videos requires anticipating any possible challenges you might face (i.e. filming alone, near water, while running, etc.). You may need a device or accessory to resolve the issue.

Apart from a light source, there are other popular videography accessories to consider.

  • A selfie stick enables you to record video while keeping yourself in the frame.
  • A tripod, phone stabilizer, or vibration damper will reduce or prevent video shaking.
  • An external microphone will ensure that your audio quality is as good as your video quality.
  • If you’re going to be filming your experience on a boat or waterpark, a waterproof case or rain covers for video cameras can keep your device safe.

5. Learn the manual settings before you go

passport and camera for travel article

While the automatic settings on your phone or video camera are fine in certain conditions, if you want to control how good the final videos are, you’ll need to learn how to adjust the settings. The more familiar you are with each feature, the easier it is to enhance your footage to provide the best viewing experience.

This is especially important if you’re going to be filming in different types of lighting conditions. For example, if you’re planning on visiting a cave, you might need to adjust your camera’s ISO setting.

If you don’t understand how to adjust the light sensitivity (ISO), aperture, or shutter speed, your videos will likely be either too dark or too bright.

Learning the manual settings on your video device will help you get the look you want when you’re out shooting, so play around with the settings and practice taking pictures and videos before your trip.

6. Vary the angle

A man pointing a DSLR camera at himself. That's certainly one way to make videos while traveling!

Shooting video while traveling means that you might capture anything from a peaceful ocean to a vast desert. You could video busy city streets or lush wineries. There is so much diversity and beauty in this world that you don’t need to stick to the usual point of view.

When you’re traveling—or even if you’re at home— you’ll get much more impressive clips when you look at things from a different perspective.

Look up at a building instead of straight on, off-center your subject instead of putting them in the middle, video looking down on things as well.

Changing the angle of your shots will create a visual interest that you can’t get when you look straight on. Think of the difference between a video of a tree you’re looking right at, and what happens when you look up the tree.

7. Let your personality shine

Two people creating a short travel video along the Danube in Budapest. Chain Bridge in background.

Modern technology has made it easy for anyone to create, upload, and share content. Ultimately, being successful means knowing how to separate yourself from the competition. One thing that makes this possible is your personality. When viewers can connect with you as a person, they’re more inclined to view, share, and interact with your videos.

As you’re shooting your travel footage, find ways to add personality and character to your videos. Don’t be afraid to show yourself on the camera, share personal stories, incorporate humor, or talk about topics that appeal to your interests. Thinking of your audience as your friends can help make it easier to showcase your personality.

Bonus tip

You have all that you need to now turn your footage into a stellar travel video. During the filming process, try to plan your shots in sequence. This will help considerably when you are editing your video. Use a video editor for this, as it will be much easier to piece your footage together into one composite travel vlog or video.

Final thoughts about taking great videos while traveling

As you can see, there is a lot that goes into capturing great travel videos.

By following these tips, you’ll be on your way to creating films that capture the beauty and excitement of your travels. So grab your camera and get started on your next adventure—the world is waiting to see what you discover.

ALSO READ:
How to Tell A Story In A Travel Video (Step by Step Guide)

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Written by Linda

Linda is multilingual and has been to around 60 countries. Her insatiable love of travel, cuisine, and foreign languages inspired her to create As We Saw It with her husband Dan, a professional photographer. Her goal is to make travel easier for others and to offer a brief escape to another land.

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