5 Travel Photo Tips for Your Instagram: From the Beautiful Beaches of Ft. Myers + Sanibel

Hey guys! I recently got back from an amazing trip to the beaches in Ft. Myers and Sanibel in Southwest Florida. The turquoise-blue waters and white sugar sand inspired me to write a quick post with a few tips to help you find and take beautiful photos on your next trip. 

Location. Location. Location.

Being in a beautiful place is not enough. More and more people are traveling these days and going to the “Instagram photo spot". Shooting at these places is great, but it will only make you blend in with a sea of other aspiring travelers. I encourage you to go off the beaten path. Ask a local where their favorite spot is to watch the sunrise. If you take the time to look around, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to find a fresh perspective on a familiar spot. 

If you find yourself in the Ft.Myers / Sanibel Island area rent a boat for the afternoon or take a charter and go explore some of the more remote islands, like Cayo Costa for incredible off-the-beaten-path views. 

Lighting is Key.

Editing can only get you so far. There’s a reason you always see so many photographers taking pictures at sunrise and sunset, this is when the light is well, magical. It’s soft, dreamy and ideal for creating a captivating photograph. If you’re taking pictures indoors, try and use as much natural light as possible and shut off any lights around you. Traditional yellow light usually produces photos with a yellow tint, not my favorite. 

Take advantage of those cloudy, overcast days. Sometimes a little cloud cover can give you that soft, beautiful and diffused light. And if all else fails, try to find a shady spot to put your subject to avoid those harsh mid-day shadows.

Gear Up.

I’d recommend investing in a DSLR camera and a couple different lenses, but don’t underestimate your smart phone. They’ve gotten pretty advanced with the shots they can capture, especially the iPhone 7 Plus. Here’s what I bring when I go on an assignment somewhere to shoot: Nikon D610 with 24-70mm 2.8f and 50mm 1.4f lenses, Sony AR7II with a 16-35mm lens and my iPhone 7 plus. One thing to keep in mind, is if you can find a camera that syncs with your phone through wifi, its much easier to go from shot to post when you’re on the move. That’s why I love my Sony A7RII. 

Focus on Composition. 

There a certain reason's some images draw us in more than others. Composition can play a big role in this. When I'm shooting I try to keep the subject as level as possible, for example the horizon line in a landscape photo should be as straight and even as possible. Another good rule is the rule of thirds and placing your subject at the intersection points and aligning the horizon line at the top or bottom third of the frame.

Tell a Story.

What story do you want to tell in your photograph? Find ways to inject local culture and a sense of awe in your photos? Look around… Is there a local chopping coconuts? Is there a palm tree that is leaning sideways or an indigenous flower blooming in the bushes? Find something to make your photo stand out and give people a sense of place. I also like to think of how my photos collectively will tell a story and make sure that I capture a mix of detail shots and wide angles.

This post was done in partnership with The Beaches of Ft. Myers + Sanibel