After spending time on planes, trains, boats, or the car, you’ve finally arrived at your vacation destination.
Now that you’ve made it, you’re going to want to capture the beauty of where you are. This will let you show everyone back home, as well as preserve the memories.
But taking photos while on vacation can be difficult, and there’s nothing worse than arriving back home and realizing the photos you took don’t do the destination justice.
Luckily, there are some basic things you can do to take your photography skills to the next level. Keep reading for 8 tips that’ll help you take professional-looking vacation photos.
1. Keep Your Camera On Hand and Take Many Photos
The best way to ensure that you’re prepared for any magical moments is by carrying your camera with you wherever you go. Carry it around with you in a bag, and be ready to pull it out at a moment’s notice.
This also means taking a lot of photos. Whether you’re using a smartphone or a digital camera, it should have plenty of storage. Don’t worry about if some of them don’t turn out well. Once you’re back home, you can clear out the bad ones. It’s better to have options!
You should also try to capture the same subject or image from a different angle. Afterward, you can look at the series of photos and choose which one looks the best.
2. Pay Attention to Lighting
When taking pictures, try to keep the source of light behind you, whether it’s the sun or artificial light. This means that if it’s a photo of a person, the sun should be lighting up their face and out of the frame.
Although the sun may look beautiful high in the sky, taking a photo with it in the background will give you a washed-out photo that won’t look good.
When clouds are covering the sun, understand that light is coming through. Taking a photo of a cloudy sky during the midday can give you an unattractive photo as well.
3. Understand the Role People Play in Your Pictures
When traveling, the people are what make the trip. The same is true when it comes to taking pictures.
Although it can be irritating when people are in the shot you’re trying to take, consider that capturing their presence can be a way to show ambiance and life. The Mayan pyramid looks great on its own but showing people climbing it will give a sense of energy, as well as scale.
When taking photos of yourself (or when having someone else do it), try to appear natural. Oftentimes, it looks better to look off into the distance or at an imaginary point than it does to pose and stare at the camera.
4. Remember the Rule of Thirds
If you’re a newbie photographer, the rule of thirds will help your photos look crisper. Imagine that there are 9 boxes over your pictures, three that go vertically, and three that go horizontally.
Subjects, whether a person, monument, or tree, should not be floating in the center of the frame. Instead, they should be off to the side.
This is also the case when it comes to the horizon line. Instead of having it in the center or towards the top, position it with the lowest grid line.
5. Keep Your Composition Clean
When on vacation, it can be tempting to try and capture the hustle and bustle of wherever you are. This can lead to taking photos that look “busy”.
Instead, try to focus on a single subject. Your photo will be less distracting, and people’s eyes will be drawn to the person, object, or thing.
You can still take pictures of crowds or other places that have a lot going on, but try to highlight a single subject in the frame.
6. Take Advantage of Golden Hour
Have you ever taken a photo in the early morning or evening and noticed how good the lighting looks? That’s because of the golden hour.
The golden hour is the period of time after sunrise or before sunset. Because of the low and soft light, shadows are less harsh during this time. This means that the photos you take will have excellent lighting.
The golden hour is the best time for taking family photos and doing portrait photography.
7. Look for Candids
When traveling, look for opportunities to take photos that you didn’t anticipate. These can be funny, awkward, exciting, or inspiring.
Candid photos give people a better sense of what a place is like as they get to see photos that appear more natural. For example, although the classic sunset photo is beautiful, see if you can incorporate someone else taking a picture of it into your shot.
Candid photos will help the people who view your photos feel as if they’re right there next to you.
8. Be Unique
It can be tempting to want to take pictures of scenes that everyone else is also taking pictures of. Try to look for a new way to capture it.
Although you should be taking pictures of monuments and other touristy things, see if you can find another less popular angle. This can also mean getting up close and personal to take a macro shot. Give people a view of something they haven’t seen before.
You can also crop photos to different dimensions, which can help highlight certain parts of the picture. Check out this guide to help you learn about Instagram dimensions: https://setapp.com/how-to/instagram-sizes-and-dimensions-guide.
Taking Awesome Vacation Photos Doesn’t Have to Be Difficult
When traveling, taking photos that you can proudly show off to others can be difficult. Yet by following these 8 tips, you’ll be able to take great photos that show how you went on the journey of a lifetime.
Do you have any other tips for taking the perfect vacation photo? Let us know in a comment below!
For more tips and guides, don’t forget to check out some of our other blog posts.