Tourism Australia's Images Guide
121 MB PDF
How to take the best images for your business
Taking the best images for your business
How to capture the best photos for your tourism business
Since the invention of modern photography, tourism and cameras have gone hand in hand. So, if you want to win the hearts and minds of holidaymakers, capturing brilliant photos needs to be at the top of your to do list. From choosing the right equipment to creating content that’s fit-for-platform, we’ve covered everything you need to know about creating next-level visuals for your tourism business.
Understanding the importance of compelling imagery
Selling your services with captivating visuals can be the secret ingredient to boosting your digital presence, whether you’re using them to give a facelift to your social media channels or to inspire instant FOMO and drive more bookings. Strong imagery is also essential when it comes to establishing your business as trustworthy and professional, not to mention providing travel media and third-party directory sites like ATDW with the best possible assets to promote your service offering.
But, while taking high-res photos in the age of smartphones is simple, making the photos work hard for your business is a far more complicated task. Thankfully, we’ve outlined five simple steps you can take to capture your business’s best side.
Forming a full picture with a mood board
Before you start snapping, take some time to research and build out a mood board of visual ideas. Looking at social media can be a brilliant source of inspiration for your own photo content.
1. Visual content
Take note of how photos are framed and what attracts the most attention.
2. Aesthetic Styles
Find aesthetics and photo styles that fit with your vision, brand and type of experience.
3. Relevant hashtags
Look at relevant hashtags on Instagram to find similar businesses or attractions. You can also see what scenery is most loved by visitors of your area.
4. Rule of thirds
Frame your own photos using the rule of thirds.
A general rule of effectively composing a shot is called the rule of thirds. Essentially, by looking at an image through a grid and splitting it into nine segments using three vertical and three horizontal lines, you can work out how to draw attention to the intended focal point of the photo. The eye is drawn to intersections on this grid, rather than the centre of the image, so you should align the subject of a photo to those intersections for the most impact. Best of all, most mobile camera apps can overlay this for you!
Gearing up with the right equipment
Most of us carry a high-quality camera in our pockets these days, which is great for businesses who operate on a tight marketing budget and can’t afford professional camera gear. That said, there’s no smartphone substitute for the quality of a DSLR camera, a tripod and someone who knows how to use them. If you’re new to the world of digital photography, understanding these key principles will help you get started:
Focus is the adjustments you make to the lens to find the best resolution, sharpness and contrast for what you’re trying to photograph. You can do this in manual mode by twisting the lens, but don’t be afraid to use auto mode and let your new piece of equipment do the heavy lifting for you! Zeroing in on your chosen subject manually can take time and practice, so switch your camera to autofocus (AF) on the lens to save time and effort.
Exposure is the amount of light that reaches your camera sensor or film. Put simply, it determines how bright or how dark your pictures appear. To adjust the exposure, there are two settings you can use:
Aperture: Aperture determines the size of the hole that lets light into the camera. The larger the hole, the more light you’ll have. The smaller the hole, the less light you’ll have.
Shutter speed: Shutter speed determines the amount of time your camera’s sensor is exposed to light. The slower the speed, the more light you’ll have. The faster the speed, the less light you’ll have.
Balancing your aperture and shutter speed settings is the best way to get the right exposure in frame, but don’t worry if you don’t nail it on your first try – you can always use editing software to get the perfect amount of light in your photograph after the fact.
Once you’re comfortable with the basics behind the lens, don’t forget to focus on other key variables that can impact your photo, like lighting. Whether it’s natural or artificial, professional lighting can make a world of difference when people are buying with their eyes. If you can’t afford to go pro, check out these great DIY suggestions for capturing your services and experiences in their best light – and on a budget.
Once you’re comfortable with the basics behind the lens, don’t forget to focus on other key variables that can impact your photo, like lighting.
Seeing the world through the eyes of your guests
Too often tourism businesses rely on the same tired and outdated photos to promote their services. And with social media transforming every tourist into a semi-pro photographer, there’s nowhere for low-quality imagery to hide. Luckily, you can let your guests guide what makes your business uniquely spectacular.
Instagram reigns supreme for photo-based social media, so use it to your advantage. Not only can you use Instagram to research scenes and angles for your professional photos, but if you ask for signed permission, you can use User Generated Content (UGC) to promote your business.
Start by politely contacting the photographer to say how great their tagged or hashtagged photos are, then ask if they’d grant permission for you to republish it on your website or social channels with credit. Most people will be proud that their photo is good enough for you to want to feature it!
Finding your businesses’ aesthetic and showcasing the story
Travellers don’t often view photos in isolation when they’re shopping for their itineraries. People want to be told a story through visuals and, for that to happen, your photos need to be considered as a series – not just individual shots. Capturing an aesthetic and visual narrative that authentically speaks to the experience of your offering will drive more bookings.
Once again, Instagram is your best resource for research. Social media content experts place a lot of importance on maintaining a consistent visual identity on a business’s Instagram feed to avoid disrupting the magic of brand perception. And this same type of visual positioning can help you select which photos to use and how you showcase your experience.
For some inspiration, check out the photos on Tourism Australia’s official Instagram account. Our aesthetic isn’t city life, food and galleries (though we love those too!), it’s breathtaking natural Aussie wonders and wildlife that tell our story and position Australia as the most desirable destination on earth.
Using editing software to make good photos great
The beauty of digital photography is the ease of which it can be manipulated in programs like Photoshop, giving it a professional edge and touching-up any imperfections. Adjusting lighting issues, removing unwanted background clutter or brightening dulled-out colours are just some examples of post-editing fixes. Learning image editing software will help you maintain your businesses’ visual aesthetic and allow you to whip up great digital and social content on the go.
Just like learning how to use a DSLR, editing is an art unto itself and you may want to pay a professional to apply the finishing touches. But if you have a good eye, it’s a great skill to learn – and even the basics of digital photo editing can help you improve the visual identity of your business significantly.
Adjusting the focus for different platforms
Every digital medium has a different set of specifications and best practices for photography and visual assets. For example, Instagram photos are different from those you’ll take for your website or brochure. Set aside some time to Google the recommended specs for photos on different platforms and determine how you can adjust the same photo for use across your different marketing channels.
If you don’t have a graphic designer at your disposal, one great free-to-use resource is Canva, which offers social media and print friendly templates. You can drag-and-drop in your own images – as well as adding ready-made frames, illustrations, shapes and fonts – to help give your photos and marketing materials a professional finish without the price tag.
Putting your new pictures to work
Ready to start snapping? From grabbing the right gear to applying the finishing touches, you have everything you need to level up your digital presence with top-notch photography. If you’re ready to put your new content to work, check out our social media guide to discover how you can build an always-on strategy for your brand – plus handy tips on how to get your photos featured on Tourism Australia’s official channels and seen around the world!