Elemental Photography in the Tourism World

All tourism photography has one thing in common- an element that evokes a reaction, a feeling, or a desire to visit. When you’re in the travel and tourism biz, visual content (and visual content marketing) is a vital tool for capturing visitors.


Whether you are promoting a location, an attraction or even a hotel, the image you put out into the universe is essential. More than the vivid and imaginative words used to lure you, that first glance of an image you see, that first feeling can make all the difference. High-quality photos and video can do that. They can cause you to want to go there, be there, do that. If it’s true that, “every picture tells a story” (thank you Rod Stewart) then capturing an image that evokes a story in someone’s mind is a tourism ‘holy grail.’

Think about these elements the next time you chose or stage an alluring photo:

The Human Element 

The human element is simple- people enjoying the place. If it’s someplace that wants to attract people, then why not put people in the picture? We often live vicariously through a good photo, particularly if we can imagine ourselves in that place. The couple dining on a farm to table meal, children petting goats at a local market, lounging on a comfy-looking chair in a hotel suite after a massage, it all tells a story. It evokes a feeling.

Bonus – no need to gain photo permission if you don’t show the person’s face.

Photo credit @ola_perentia via Instagram

The Color Element 

Don’t be afraid to take your visual content to the next level. You can certainly overdo post-processing these days but ‘touching up’ your photos to enhance their vibrancy is not cheating. A photo taken with even the best camera can dull what the eye sees. Don’t overdo it but, improve contrast, sharpen images, boost shadows for a truly unforgettable shot.

speed limit sign and sunset over lake
Photo Credit @perfectionist_photography via Instagram

The WOW Element 

You know it when you see it. “WOW, what a photo. What a place. I just put that place on my bucket list.” Don’t be shy, show your drama! We see countless photos of waterfalls from far away- what about seeing it from below looking up? (As long as the visitor can actually see the falls from below looking up.) When they do, they tell the world. That’s the money shot.

The Obvious Element 

Lead with your best and be obvious about it. If it’s the only place for miles and miles like it, lead with it. How many photos of a kayak on the water have you seen? Plenty I’m sure. Lovely and alluring yes, but are they unique? When you have a totally unique, nowhere on earth can you see this kind of attraction, show it. Lead with it. People love a good hook.

And…The Video Element 

Video is currently the hottest form of visual content, and just about any actual movement will do. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Sometimes the best videos are purely organic. Shot on a cell phone as long as it’s clear, on topic and not too long. Professional video (drone is awesome) is fantastic and if you’ve got the time and cash, go for it! But, it’s still great to offer a glimpse into your world with someone telling the story. Again, the Human Element – talking, walking, feeling, tasting, smelling, touching.

Humanize it, touch up its true colors, add movement and let it WOW!

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