Tips For Taking The Best Vacation Photos

If there is an occasion in which everybody thinks about taking photos, then it is the vacation. While you are traveling to a far away place which you probably won’t visit again, you will want to document every moment of your vacation. Photos will help you remember the good times you will experience and will also be a good way to share these moments with your family and friends, once you return home.

Be prepared.

Whether you are going on vacation with friends, family or by yourself, it is crucial that you leave home prepared in order to be able to take great photos in every situation. First, consider taking extra batteries and memory cards. You will be taking hundreds of photos and the more memory space you have, the better. Also, you will need a case or a bag to carry your camera and gear around. Think of getting something that is light and that provides good protection for the camera. Protecting your camera is crucial, especially if you are heading for the beach where there is plenty of sand (an enemy to your camera).

Another piece of equipment that can help a lot is a lightweight sturdy tripod. You will need it for taking long exposures, particularly at night, and it will be of great use when it comes to taking group photos. You can fix the camera on the tripod, set the self timer and join the others to be included in the photo as well.

Finally, you may want to consider some other accessories that can give you better image quality. Such as polarizing filters which will eliminate distracting reflections and will produce more intense colors, or, an external flash which will be of great help in poor lighting conditions.

Photo By martin

Be creative with poses.

Photo By adwriter

You are on a vacation and It’s all about having fun and enjoying the moment, and that should be seen, even in photos that are posed and planned. Avoid classic poses and come up with new ones. You can ask your models to jump for you, you can ask them to make funny facial expressions, or you can set the camera on self timer and join them in a dance. Experiment and have fun. You will end up with great photos as well as beautiful memories.

Take some candids.

Photo By how will i ever

Although planning group shots and posing can be fun, nothing captures the atmosphere and mood of a place like some candid photography. Try to capture what is happening around you without being noticed. Blend in, be as quiet as possible and observe. And, when you find something interesting, press the shutter release. It can be a vendor in a local market or a friend relaxing on a bench.

Find interesting angles.

Photo By SiD

The point of view of a photo plays a big role in determining the impact of the image. Don’t just point and shoot. Try to find an interesting angle of view that will provide the viewer with a fresh perspective on an old subject. Don’t hesitate to lie on the ground and to try some ant’s eye view shots to make things look gigantic.

Always have the camera at hand.

Photo By Road Fun

You never know when something interesting might happen. Try to keep the camera close in order to be ready to capture any photo opportunity that might present itself. But, that’s not enough. You also should be attentive and try to grow some quick reflexes. Even, if you had the camera on and pointed on a subject, you won’t be able to capture a fleeting moment if you don’t pay attention to what’s around you and you don’t anticipate what might occur in seconds.

Don’t be the regular tourist.

Photo By Stuck in Customs

Every body tries to capture postcard-like image of famous monuments and places they are visiting. But, try not to fall in the tourist trap of going to a monument in the middle of the day, pointing the camera and shooting. Be more creative and find a new way to show the place you are shooting. Turn around and search for interesting points of view. Avoid taking photos at midday, as the sun is usually too harsh and there are too many people around. Instead, opt for an early morning. It provides subtle, beautiful light and there will be no body in your way to ruin your postcard photo. You can also try to take some night shots, using long exposures which will produce interesting effects.

Adapt to different lighting situations.

While on vacation, you will face various lighting conditions that are tricky to deal with. But there are some techniques that can help you in any situation you find yourself in.


Photo By Ole Reidar Johansen

Usually, when going on vacation, you are primarily seeking to enjoy the sun. But, this same sun is the reason behind many photo problems. If you take a photo of a subject with the sun in the background, your subject will be backlit and thus, will be silhouetted. To avoid this effect – although it can be the effect you are seeking sometimes – You can either move your subject to face the sun (it’s not always the right choice, as the background will change as well in this case) or you can use fill in flash. This technique consists of using the flash to illuminate the shadow areas on your subject which were created by the backlight situation. You can use this technique even in normal situations to bring out details in the faces of your subjects. Try it even at midday and you will be surprised how a little bit of fill in flash can turn a normal photo into a great one.

-Sunrises / Sunsets:

Photo By mrhappy

Sunrises and sunsets are moments that can provide you with astounding photographs. They are the same as a backlight situation, but here the background is the main subject.

In this kind of situation, you will have to act quickly. Sunrises and sunsets don’t last very long. First, you have to think of composing your shot properly. In general, it’s better to allocate two thirds of the frame to the sky as it is the main subject in this type of photos. After that, to get the best results, you need to meter on the brightest point in the composition, (usually the sun or a bright spot in the sky if the sun is behind clouds).

Also, change the white balance from the automatic setting to the sunny setting (or something similar) in order to make sure you get warm tones.

Interiors & Night time:

Photo By Express Monorail

Interiors and night time shots can be the trickiest to capture. The light is usually dim and artificial if not absent. These situations create problems for getting exposures fast enough to be taken hand held and also can affect auto focusing. To avoid such problems, use high ISO values and wide aperture to be able to use reasonable shutter speeds. But, be aware of the noise that can be produced by the use of high ISO values. If you find yourself in the obligation of using long exposures, try to use a tripod or to rest the camera on a stable surface in order to avoid any camera shake that might happen.

In order to be able to focus properly in low light situations, use manual focusing or try to find an area with some contrast between light and shadow to help the camera focus on it.

Some Examples of Vacation Photos:

Photo By Matthew Stewart

Photo By antiguan_life

Photo By Fábio Pinheiro

Photo By Ric e Ette

Photo By Express Monorail

Photo By Express Monorail

Photo by MarcelGermain

  1. Augustinegeorge

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