How to Dress for Better Travel Photos

For the past 5 years I have been traveling and taking thousands of photos. Throughout the years my travel style has evolved from dingy tomboy tees and Nikes to comfortable chic dresses and cute sandals. This change came for a reason; I wanted my travel photos to look more pulled-together and visually pleasing while continuously wearing functional clothing. I’ve spent a lot of time researching Instagrammers that are far better than me for inspiration on how to dress and how to pose (check back, this blog post will be coming soon) for gorgeous travel photos. Read below to find my secrets about how to dress for better travel photos.

In all honesty, I’m still learning the correct poses for travel photos, but once I figure it all out you’ll be the first to know. Read below for tips on how to dress for stunning travel photos!



Accessories really matter, yall. Read below for tips to accessorize and dress for better travel photos.


Bali Indonesia Fit Fab and Foreign-3692Wearing hats makes a massive difference and adds the little extra ‘oomph’ as the focal point of a travel photo. Additionally, hats hide crappy hair and makeup days that would otherwise make your photos look bad. Every time I go somewhere, I find the perfect hat to fit the feeling of the destination and I wear it in most of my photos. This is probably one of the accessories that makes the biggest difference in whether or not you look good in your travel photos.

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There are so many things you can do with your hair, but I prefer to use it to add a bit of texture to your photos. It doesn’t have to be perfectly curled, but messy beach waves can almost never look bad, especially paired with a cool hat. Braids photograph well and so does straightened hair. Just go with what you feel best in. Luckily I can just brush my hair and it will naturally dry with a little wave. If you do as well, try just letting it do its own thing. You won’t have to bring heavy products or spend time trying to look cute! If you want your hair out of your face, braids are functional and beautiful! Unfortunately I never learned how to braid.

When you’re in the process of photographing, see if you can get the wind to naturally sweep through your hair. It looks effortlessly beautiful.

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Watches can either pull together an outfit or throw it off. Don’t wear a watch that demands too much attention or is too big or bold for the rest of the outfit. Smaller watches look best on smaller wrists.


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If your skirt or dress is too baggy, a cute belt can perfectly accentuate your waist, giving you a photogenic hourglass shape! If you happen to leave it too baggy, it may give the illusion that you are larger than you actually may be. Belts are the perfect opportunity to add a tiny splash of color.



These are another massively underrated accessory that makes a huge difference in travel photos. I love wearing sunnies in my photos because they give a mysterious ‘anonymous’ element that makes strangers feel like they are part of the photo.

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Read for clothing to wear in order to dress for better travel photos.

Solid Colors

Solid colors that fit the environment mesh well with the background and don’t stand out unnecessarily. Clothes like this are a win-win because they tend to be cheaper!

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Off the Shoulder Anything

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It seems that off-the-shoulder has become widely popular this Summer, and for good reason! It gives a carefree feeling to your photos and is cute as hell for summer looks.

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Interesting/Open Backs

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These are pretty self explanatory, but open back dresses give a natural and interesting feel to your photos.

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Flowy Skirts and Dresses

Whilst shooting in open locations, it helps to have movement and flow in your clothing and accessories. Long skirts catch the wind beautifully. Additionally, in many cultural areas it’s more appropriate to dress modestly. Just make sure they enhance your curves rather than muddle them or it could make you appear to be larger.

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Asymmetrical Skirts

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Showing a bit of leg really elongates your body and making it look better. It gives a 3D element to your photos creating depth.

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Timeless/Vintage Style

When you’re traveling, try and avoid dressing in current trends (I’m looking at you gaucho pants) Although you may be slaying right now, you might eventually look back embarrassed about how you used to dress. I tend to enjoy adding elements of Pinup style into my outfits, these have stood the test of time and remain fashionable and cute to this day.


Use Patterns in moderation

Slight floral patterns in skirts  and dresses are great. Stripes are a different story. They usually don’t photograph well. Polka dots need to fit the situation. Anything that is too busy can capture all the attention and overshadow the location you’re shooting in. This can make or break your photos.


Complement your surroundings

  1. Earthy tones in nature
  2. Blues around water
  3. A pop of bright color in the city

Bikinis & Swimwear

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Stick to cute matching solid colors for your swimwear or subtle patterns that don’t look too busy. If you’re going to be in a waterfall, try and find earthy shades of green, if you’ll be by a bright blue sea, stick to turquoises and deep blues. These will look best. Interesting shaped tops and bottoms can add a bit of ‘oomph’ to your photos.



Shoes tend to be the most important part of your travel day’s comfort factor so I have a few opinions on shoes. If you have super cute shoes that tie together an outfit but are really uncomfortable to walk around in, you could carry the cute shoes in your bag and put them on when necessary. I don’t really suggest doing that if they’re big because it’s just too much effort to carry them around all day.



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I find that cute, minimalistic, brown or black sandals look best. Gladiator sandals are a personal favorite of mine, because they are comfortable and photograph well on me. Generally sandals match almost any combination of outfit you can find. I used the same pair of Gladiator sandals pictured for short easy hikes in Bali and they provided functionality as well as style. They allowed my feet to breathe and dry after I had swam around in waterfalls.

Ankle Boots

For the cooler months, these are staples in my travel wardrobe. They match dresses and pants, and most of the time are super comfortable to wear around. My favorite brand is Old Navy, and they’re super cheap too. These lengthen your legs, elongate your body, and protect your feet when you’re walking around.


I absolutely LOVE wearing Chuck Taylors and Vans with cute dresses. It gives me an edgy tomboy pinup feel and they’re just comfortable. White Chucks with jeans or shorts is one of those timeless looks that will probably be stylish forever. When you do wear shoes that require socks, try to wear the ‘no-show’ ones. Seeing socks of any kind can be distracting if they’re too attention grabbing.

Go Barefoot

Sometimes less is more. Not wearing shoes in a travel photo can make it look effortlessly pulled together. If you’re wearing unfavorable shoes, try taking them off!



Make Up Tips


Natural Looking

Keep makeup natural, but remember that photos tend to make you look 2D. In order to look more 3D, contouring a bit more heavily than you would usually gives you more depth in your photos. Make sure you don’t forget to contour your nose, or else it will just show up as a 2D area.

Lip Color

If you follow my tips above, you’ll probably have sun glasses on in a lot of your photos. Make sure your lip color complements your skin tone and it appropriate for the outfit. I tend to stick to brighter reds but sometimes those don’t look right with different skin tones.

Neutral/Earth Tone Eye Shadows

Dark colors and heavy eyeliner seem to give the raccoon effect and make eyes seem super small. Stick to lighter glittery shades to give your eyes a more open look. Pair this with white eye liner on your waterline for larger doe-y looking bright eyes.


Things to Avoid:

-Any logos, graphics, labels, characters etc.

-Patterns and bold accessories that are too distracting

-Current trends that will probably be outdated soon

-Clothing that is too baggy at the waist, this will accidentally make you look larger.

-White or tall socks you can see when wearing shoes

-Capri Pants unless you’re trying to  make your legs look look shorter.

-Showing any bra straps

Disclaimer: Links in the post are affiliate links, and I may earn a small commission if any items are purchased. This is needed to support new content for my blog. Thanks!

Do you have any tips I missed about how to dress for travel photos?

About Author


World traveler. Health nut. Adrenaline Addict. Pilot. Scuba Diver. Surfer. Lover. "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone"


  1. Great ideas! What you wear DOES make a difference! I am going to try some of these out!

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