They say a picture’s worth a thousand words, but we’d like to think a travel Instagram is worth at least 20,000. Today, your feed is a modern-day postcard. You can preserve your favorite memories and share your adventures with friends, family, and followers — all while racking up some likes, shares, and comments.
But any jetsetter will tell you ‘gramming your travels is tough stuff. You have to find a photogenic backdrop, use proper hashtags, and create a fun, witty caption. So much for a relaxing vacation, right?
Amy Seder — photographer, filmmaker, and Instagram pro — knows a thing or two about capturing the perfect Kodak moment and shares her favorite tips below. Whether you’re going to Machu Picchu or the Maldives, her advice is a masterclass in Insta-perfect vacations.
Embrace Your Inner Tourist…
Think those tourist traps are overplayed? Guess again. “Get one iconic shot — the Eiffel Tower, the Bali Gates, Times Square — something that even your grandma would recognize,” Seder says. “It immediately tells people where you are when they’re scrolling through your posts, and make them want to see more.”
One caveat: most landmarks are packed with tourists, making it impossible to take an Instagrammable shot. Seder recommends putting your jet lag to good use and visiting those high-trafficked sites at sunrise.
… But Give Your Snap An Original Twist
We hate to break it to you, but throwing a coin in the Trevi Fountain doesn’t have as much double-tap appeal as it did a few years ago. Instead, give these classic tourist destinations a unique twist.
“Every single person, whether they have five million followers or 50 followers, falls into cliches sometimes – myself included,” she explains. “But after seeing the same image done by so many people, it loses its impact and just gets dull. Strive to be different; it’s how you will stand out.”
For a fresh take, experiment with different angles, filters, and mediums. There’s nothing a Boomerang or KiraKira can’t fix!
Plan Ahead of Time… To An Extent
You should research your destination beforehand — Seder finds inspiration on travel sites, Pinterest, and, of course, Instagram — but leave room for some spontaneity.
“The best shots are often the ones that are unplanned,” she explains. “I think being original is so important, especially as the travel space gets more and more saturated. I try to plan just enough to make sure I have a good idea of what my can’t-miss places are, but not too much that I feel a lack of creativity.” After she’s done some research, Seder puts all her must-sees on a master Google map.
Be Front And Center
Ready for your close-up? Not everybody feels comfortable being in front of the camera, but posting some pictures of you will give your ‘gram a personal touch.
“I’m always drawn to photos with people in them,” Seder says. “I always shoot with my boyfriend/business partner. He knows me so well that he shoots the exact photo of me that I would shoot of someone else if I was taking photos.” Traveling solo? Ask a fellow tourist to snap a few shots of you. There’s no shame in the game!
Caption From the Heart
We love puns and emojis as much as the next Instagrammer, but authenticity always pays off. “I’ve tried to be really open and honest on my Instagram about my struggles and the difficulties I’ve had,” Seder explains. “I’m not perfect, so why should I pretend to be? I think a story is much more compelling when you know all that I’ve been through to get here, and to openly say that life is not always easy or a vacation.”
Sure, talking about your mid-flight anxiety or harrowing experience at baggage claim isn’t glamorous, but your followers will appreciate your candid approach.
Hashtag With Care
There used to be a science to hashtags; however, Instagram recently changed its algorithm so it’s hard to measure your picture’s popularity. Today, Seder uses a mix of hashtags to maximize exposure.
“The goal of hashtags is to get your photos seen by people that don’t follow you and then in turn are interested in your work, so I find a mix is key,” she says.
Seder usually uses the city or country she’s visiting, the specific beach or restaurant she’s posting from, and other travel or photography-based hashtags.