Editing and touching up travel photos can help you to dramatically improve them. However it can be a daunting prospect for beginners, and initially you probably won’t even know where to start.

Make no mistake – there is a learning curve that you need to overcome if you want to edit photos effectively. That is why when you first start out it is best to stick to the basics and take advantage of some of the easier ways to edit and touch up your travel photos.

Some of the easiest ways for beginners to start editing or touching up travel photos are:

1. Automatically improve the colour balance

girl photography tallinn, estonia

Tallinn, Estonia

Lighting conditions aren’t rarely going to be perfect when you snap travel photos, and that can lead to the colour balance being a bit off. The good news is that you can improve it by colour-correcting the photos using the automated white balance or colour balance feature in your editor.

It should be noted that the automated feature will do its best using various algorithms, but that is no guarantee that the colour balance will turn out perfectly.

That is why it can help to manually adjusting the colour settings to fine tune it further.

Read: How to Use Your Camera’s Manual Mode

The colour settings may appear daunting at first, but all it takes is a bit of experience to learn how each affects your photos. In particular you may want to start with the brightness, contrast, saturation, and exposure.

Simply put, you should look at the automated colour balance tool as a foundation and then tweak its results as necessary until you’re satisfied.

2. Crop the photo’s frame to improve its composition

photo composition, How to have a good Instagram feedAt first glance the crop tool may not seem very interesting, but it is actually one of the more potent tools for editors. It will let you remove a section of your photo and reframe it, which can help you to tweak and refocus its composition.

For best results, you should use composition techniques such as the rule of thirds as a guideline when you crop your photos. It will help you to balance the composition and position the subject better.

Keep in mind that the crop tool can be used in other ways too, such as to remove any unwanted element that is near the frame, or to resize your travel photo.

Read: How to Really Grow A Large Following on Instagram

3. Straighten the photo by rotating it

On many occasions you may not have time to make sure your camera is level before you snap a photo and it will turn out a bit tilted. Although it is a minor issue, it can make your travel photo look much less impressive, and less stable and balanced than it should.

Read: A Travel Camera Buying Guide For First Timers

The good news is that it is an issue you can fix easily when you edit your photos using the rotate tool. In fact, some editors may even have a specific tool to straighten or level photos and you can look for that if you want.

Essentially all you need to do is rotate your photo slightly until it is straight. The best way to do that is to find a reference line that you can use to straighten it – such as the horizon.

From time to time, there may not be such an obvious reference line in your photo. That can be make it a bit more difficult, and you should look for other strong lines or even implied lines that link elements together.

Once you’ve straightened the photo you may need to crop it slightly to remove the uneven edges.

4. Apply (simple) filters to colour grade the photos

TRAVEL GIFTS Old-camera-and-photos-on-vintage-wooden-backgroundOne of the easiest ways to stylize your photos and alter their appearance is by using the filters in your editors. The options available vary from editor to editor, but most tend to stock at least some simple filters.

While some of the more advanced filters may stylize your photo to mimic a certain look, simple filters should not be overlooked either. In most cases they will alter the colours of your photos in a certain way and provide beginners with an easy way to colour grade travel photos.

As with the automated colour balance, filters can act as a nice foundation to give your photos a specific look. However, to make them really unique you may want to fine tune the colour settings after applying a filter as well.

5. Clone part of the photo to remove unwanted elements

One of the more powerful ways to edit your travel photos is to remove unwanted elements and directly alter the composition. That includes unwanted objects, people who are in the way, or even blemishes and other issues.

Removing unwanted elements can be tricky – but the clone tool is normally a good place to start.

Essentially the clone tool in your editor will ‘clone’ part of photo and duplicate it over the element that you want to remove. The trick is to find a similar part of the photo to what should appear behind the element and clone it.

Some editors may have automated tools to remove elements that simplify this and attempt to guess the best parts to clone. For example, in Movavi Photo Editor, you can learn how to remove a person from a photo easily with its object removal tool.

If you want you could start with automated tools initially, but knowing how to manually remove unwanted elements will give you more control over how your travel photos turn out.


As you can see each of the ways to edit and touch up your travel photos that are described above are relatively easy to apply. By starting to use them to edit your travel photos, you’ll become more familiar with your editor, its tools, and what they can do.

That experience will help you delve deeper and experiment with more advanced ways to edit and improve your photos. If you stick with it, edit more and more photos, and are willing to try out new things – you will quickly start to find that you’re able to edit your travel photos more effectively.

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Isabel Leong

Isabel Leong

An explorer at heart, the world is Isabel's playground. She enjoys seizing every moment exploring every hideout and doing the unimaginable, like bungee jumping in Phuket and couchsurfing in Europe. If she had wings, she’d definitely be soaring right now. Also a fitness trainer, if she’s not at the gym, you can find her doing yoga or rock climbing! Read more about her on belaroundtheworld.com/about.