Travel photography has indeed come a long way. Previously, in order to call yourself as a certified travel photographer, you must possess a high-end digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera with various lenses for different purposes just to capture a decent photo of the scenery or whatever it is you want to take a photo of.

However, all sorts of technology have come to revolutionize the way we see travel photography. While many people still use DSLR cameras which have long lenses for shooting travel photos, the smartphone is now something we can also use for taking beautiful pictures while we are travelling.

Though most use all sorts of applications which can be installed in order to improve the quality of our pictures, sometimes our trusty smartphones and its high-powered camera are all the things we need to get a wonderful photo.

Want to turn your travel photography skills up by a notch? Check out these incredibly easy tips to get beautiful photos from your travels - even if you're only using your smartphone.

  • Immerse yourself in the surroundings of the place you are travelling to

For her article on travel photography tips which appeared on The Huffington Post, Laura Grier, a professional photographer, insisted that you ought to do some research on the place you are travelling to, go to that particular place and get lost in it as well as carry with you a notebook which can serve as your journal.

She says that doing some research can help in so much when doing travel photography: "This helps us figure out what's there-what the place is about and what subjects we need to cover. Read brochures and travel books. Ask locals, Go to bookstores, or surf the web or hashtags on Instagram from that location. Talk to friends who have been there. That is how you will find the "off the beaten track" places."

It can also give us insight on how to behave accordingly in a certain place, know about particular beliefs and traditions they might practice in order to give proper respect to the natives of the place.

According to her, "The only way to discover the rhythm of life in a place, and so figure out what to shoot, is to experience it."

As a travel photographer, you must be willing to explore all sorts of things in order for you to document it properly. You must become a traveler, someone who revels in experience and who is willing to take the unexpected route; not just a mere tourist who just goes with the flow and goes for the usual fare. 

  • Always be prepared for whatever

Make sure your camera is on hand at all times, because you'll never know what you might run into.

While the monuments and structures are of course stationary, the scene itself - how the light hits it or other elements that could liven up a photo are not and usually turn out differently once you catch it aside from that one specific moment.

Sometimes, luck has something to do with this but you'll never really know when it will exactly happen so it is way better to be ready beforehand.

  • Don't be afraid to experiment

You must not confine yourself to one particular type of travel photography - whether it's portraits, landscapes or others. Consider giving it all a try. Also, try going for other angles - by doing this, you add a different kind of twist to your photo.

Grier says, "Never be satisfied with your first view of a place or the first frame you snap. It's always possible-and usually likely-that you can come up with something better. Why else would painters make sketches? Get closer, then get closer still. Try different angles, different lenses. Wait for the light, wait for the crowd, wait for a bird to land on the tree branch. Never be in a hurry to get somewhere else."

  • Utilize people in your photographs

Though people can sometimes be a nuisance for getting in the way when taking photos, turn them into an advantage by including them intentionally. Even when it comes to shooting landscapes, utilize the people who can be found in the place you are trying to photograph.

Grier points out that, "the people will give it scale and also let viewers know what sorts of people live there, how they dress, and the like. An outdoor café may be more interesting crowded with people than empty."

When it comes to shooting portraits of locals, be courteous and politely ask for permission if it alright to take a photograph of them. Asking in the native language not only builds rapport with the locals, it also shows that you appreciate them even in this small way. Carrying small amounts of money to give as token can sometimes be offered as tip after taking their photograph.

  • Be knowledgeable of the technical stuff

As a budding travel photographer, you should be well informed about the technical ins and outs of capturing pictures.

Whether it has something to do with the rule of thirds or having the ability to look for the natural light to giving your photo that additional pop of color, these little things will eventually contribute a lot of character and quality that will give your snapshot its extra oomph.

  • Don't be afraid to edit

Photographers also use considerable amount of editing in their photos so why shouldn't you? However, don't go overboard. Add just the necessary amount of editing needed to bring out the best qualities of the photo you took so hard to capture. There are a lot of editing apps currently out on the market which can help enhance your photo so choose wisely depending on your needs.

Want more tips on how to improve your travel photography skills? Here is not just ten, but nineteen tips from Independent Traveler. Now that you're equipped with these tips about travel photography, explore ahead! Point and shoot away! 

from COOPH: Ultimate Travel Photography Tips