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15 Fresh Tips for Capturing Stunning Photos from a Train

Traveling by train offers a unique perspective of the world, allowing you to capture stunning landscapes and candid moments through your lens. Whether you’re traversing the Swiss Alps, Mexico’s Copper Canyon, or the scenic routes of Japan, here are some updated tips to help you get the perfect shot from a Moving train.

1. Choose the Correct Seat

Selecting the correct seat is key to getting the best photos. Aim for a window seat to avoid obstructions. If you can, research the route ahead of time to determine which side of the train has the most scenic views. Some trains offer seat reservations, so plan ahead and book the ideal spot.

2. Timing is Everything

Golden hours—early morning or late afternoon—provide the best lighting for photography. The soft, warm light during these times reduces harsh shadows and highlights the natural beauty of landscapes. Plan your journey to coincide with these times, and you’ll be rewarded with stunning, atmospheric photos that capture the essence of your trip.

3. Clean Your Window

A clean window is crucial for clear and crisp shots. Carry a microfiber cloth to quickly wipe away any smudges or condensation that might obstruct your view. Train windows can get quite dirty, so giving them a quick clean can make a big difference in the quality of your photos.

15 Fresh Tips For Capturing Stunning Photos From A Train &Raquo; Landscape Shooting From A Train E1718723557751 1024X681 1

4. Be Aware of Shutter Speed

To freeze the motion of the passing scenery, use a fast shutter speed—at least 1/500s. To show the motion of the scenery zipping by, use a slower shutter speed, something like 1/30s, but do experiment with various shutter speeds.  Depending on the situation, a fast shutter speed helps prevent blur and keeps your images sharp, even when the train is Moving quickly, whereas a slow shutter speed will introduce blur and can give you very interesting results. If you’re shooting in Manual mode, adjust your ISO and aperture to compensate for the different shutter speeds.

5. Stabilize Your Camera

Minimize camera shake by stabilizing your camera. Rest it on the window frame or use a small tripod (I love this brand) or gorilla pod. For smartphone users, pressing your device firmly against the glass can also help reduce vibration. Stability is key to achieving sharp, clear images while on the move. If the train you’re in is rather bumpy you may be better off not touching the camera to the window or frame.

6. Embrace Reflections

Train windows can create fascinating reflections that add depth and layers to your photos. Use these reflections creatively by positioning yourself to capture them intentionally. Sometimes, reflections can add an interesting element to your composition, making your photos more unique and visually appealing. Consider picking up a lens hood like this one to fend off those reflections you don’t want.

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7. Focus on the Foreground

Including elements in the foreground, like passing trees or rail tracks, can add a sense of motion and depth to your images. This technique helps create a more dynamic composition and gives viewers a better sense of the journey. Experiment with different focal points to see what works best for your shot.

8. Play with Composition

Use the rule of thirds to balance your shots. Positioning points of interest off-center makes your photos more dynamic and engaging. Try to include leading lines, such as train tracks or distant horizons, to guide the viewer’s eye through the Image and create a more compelling composition.

9. Keep an Eye on the Weather

Weather can significantly impact your photos. Cloudy skies can add drama and mood, while clear days offer crisp, vibrant views. Be prepared for both by adjusting your camera settings accordingly. Overcast days may require higher ISO settings, while sunny days might need lower ones to avoid overexposure.

10. Shoot in Burst Mode

Capture multiple frames in quick succession by shooting in burst mode. This increases your chances of getting the perfect shot, especially when the scenery is changing rapidly. Burst mode is particularly useful for capturing fleeting moments and ensures you don’t miss any key opportunities.

15 Fresh Tips For Capturing Stunning Photos From A Train &Raquo; Train In Move 1024X679 1

11. Experiment with Different Lenses

Using a variety of lenses can enhance your train photography. A wide-angle lens is great for capturing expansive landscapes, while a telephoto lens can bring distant details into focus. Don’t be afraid to switch lenses during your journey to capture different perspectives and add variety to your photo collection, just be aware of dust when changing out lenses, especially outdoors..

12. Mind the Glare

Glare can be a common issue when shooting through train windows. Reduce it by using a lens hood or a polarizing filter. These tools help minimize reflections and improve the clarity and contrast of your photos. Experiment with different angles to find the best position that reduces glare.

13. Tell a Story

Look for moments that tell a story—locals boarding the train, children waving from a platform, or a solitary figure lost in thought. These candid shots add a narrative to your journey and make your photos more meaningful. Capturing these moments can also provide a more personal and emotional connection to your travels. You may even like to pick up a copy of my book.

15 Fresh Tips For Capturing Stunning Photos From A Train &Raquo; Man In A Train 1024X686 1

14. Edit with Care

Post-processing can enhance your train photos, but it’s important to edit with care. Adjust the brightness, contrast, and saturation to bring out the best in your images, but avoid over-editing. Subtle enhancements can make your photos stand out while maintaining a natural look. Use editing software to correct any minor flaws and highlight the beauty of your shots.

15. Enjoy the Ride

While capturing stunning photos is exciting, don’t forget to take ample time to enjoy the scenery and the experience. Sometimes, the best memories are the ones you don’t capture on camera. Put your camera down occasionally and soak in the beauty of your surroundings. This balance ensures you have both great photos and wonderful memories. 

The term “travel photography” is made up of two words, travel and photography.  Spend as much time traveling as you are photographing.

Travel photography from a train is a fantastic way to see the world differently. Keep these tips in mind on your next rail adventure, and you’ll be sure to come away with a gallery full of memorable shots.


Be sure to get your copy of 60 AFFIRMATIONS for Travel as well as my most recent book in my new The Mindful & Intentional Travelers seriesTravel Activity Book for Adults: GRATITUDES Edition.

If you’d like to join me on a future small group experience (all of my trips have been 5-star rated by past clients), be sure to download a list of my upcoming trips, including to Mexico’s Copper CanyonNorthern SpainFrance’s DordogneIndiaVietnamAntarctica, and others.


This blog post may contain affiliate links for which we get a small commission, but of course, there’s no additional charge to you. These fees help us to continue bringing you great content like this.

The post 15 Fresh Tips for Capturing Stunning Photos from a Train appeared first on Continental DRIFTER®.

For more than 15 years, I've been organizing and leading small-group cultural tours around the world. These trips are specifically designed for active Baby Boomers and have all been 5-star rated and reviewed by my past clients.

Just some of the locations I continue to lead trips to include Antarctica, Cuba, Mexico's Copper Canyon, Cambodia, India, Vietnam, and throughout the Mediterranean (Spain, Italy, France, Portugal) and others (Armenia & Georgia and Finnish & Swedish Lapland).

During these trips, I love to share off-the-beaten-path locations and unique experiences, such as olive oil and caviar tastings, wine and spirit tastings, foodie tours and market walks, cooking classes and demonstrations, and when possible, I always introduce my clients to the local people, often getting into their homes and places of business to see how they live and work. We use expert local guides to be our interpreters, offer local history, answer questions, and provide us with insights into the local customs and more.

My YouTube channel, The Continental DRIFTER® ( is where I share travel and photography tips with a large list of mature travelers who have remained loyal to my brand throughout the years.

I always say, "Life's too short not to travel!"

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