There’s something special about travel photos.

Even though it may have been 20 years since you visited Bora Bora, a wonderful travel shot can whisk you straight back there. You’ll almost feel the hot sand under your toes and taste the Hinano lager.

Or, 6 months after you visit Australia’s Northern Territory, you’ll look back at that perfect shot in front of ancient rock art and delight in the smiles of your family.

But how do you make sure you take the best images while you are on holiday?

We asked one of our photographers to share some tips.

Ian is an award winning photographer who has been on a number of shoots for us, including many destinations in the United States and Europe. He was also the man behind the inspirational footage in our Kyoto and Tokyo videos.

Here are his top tips (and his suggestions may surprise you…)

Tip Number 1

Don’t take too much gear.

This might sound strange coming from a professional photographer but according to Ian, lugging around too much gear can ruin your chances of great photos.

“Great travel photos aren’t just about what a place looks like, but it is also about how you felt when you were there,” he says.

”If you worry too much about your camera gear, you’ll just leave it in the hotel room and you will end up missing the great moments your family shared together”.

Invest in a small, good quality camera like the Sony RX100 or, Ian’s current favourite, the Panasonic LX100.

Whatever you choose, make sure it is small, easy to carry and offers great quality images.

Tip Number 2

Wherever you are, take the time to just wander around and explore without an agenda.

One of Ian’s favourite things to do while he is traveling is to wander around without a particular plan in mind.

“Where possible, I try and make sure I stay in inner city locations so that I can get out each night and just walk. One night, I’ll head east. The next, I’ll head west. Destination doesn’t matter – it is really just about soaking up the feel of a place. It is how I get some of my best shots.”

In the same vein, Ian is a big fan of eating the local food where possible and spending some time with the locals. Watch how they play with their kids and how they get around. Soak up a different way of life and you’ll find your photos are richer for it.

Tip Number 3

Sometimes, there is no substitute for taking a guided tour.

For many people, there is a temptation to just make your own way around a new city, especially if you are trying to save money. Ian, however is a fan of occasionally taking a guided tour with an expert.

He learned this lesson more than 10 years ago, when he and his wife were in Vatican City.

“We had decided we weren’t going to spend money on a tour but through a lucky chance, we were walking around, and heard someone call out “free english speaking tour beginning in five minutes.

We joined in and in that half hour tour we learned more about the Vatican than we could possibly have discovered by ourselves.

For instance, I had no idea that, although many of the artworks look like paintings, they are actually mosaics – designed that way to stand the test of time.

Or that the architects at the time used a series of perspective devices, such as narrowing of the columns and reducing the distance between them, to change the way locals felt about this new building in their midst.

That kind of information changes the way you look at a place – and will make your photos so much richer.”