Vacation photos have a bad reputation… I have memories of being forced to sit through hundreds of vacation photos from other people’s vacations. Ugh!
The overwhelming (or underwhelming as it were) aspect was how boring those photos were! When you consider vacation photos are a record of exciting adventures… that’s weird right?!
So anyway, the family and I just returned from a gorgeous long weekend, and I want to share my hot tips for taking your own gorgeous vacation photos.
Whether its a ritzy round-the-world or a short and relaxed beach visit, follow these simple tips to get the most out of your vacation photos and create fun, colourful memories of your time away!
Move away from boring vacation photos by giving some thought to perspective and framing. Get up with your camera, walk around and thoughtfully compose your shot.
I get it! You’re on holiday and you’re chillin out, but you can’t take every shot from your banana lounge!
If you’re sight seeing, move away from the other 167 travelers trying to take the same photo of the same scene in the same position. Instead, go for a walk and look for an alternative place from which to shoot, and try for a more unique perspective or framing.
As a bonus you might get a shot without a soul in the background cluttering up the photo!
Move yourself to take in the best angle. If you’re photographing kids get down low and shoot at eye level, this will clear the background of any surrounding clutter so your subject is well isolated. As a result you’ll also get a much better shot of the action.
Alternatively, get down even lower and shoot up toward your subject, including the sky as backdrop.
Or get up high and shoot down on your subject.
When the sky is incredible, use it as a backdrop, including lots of negative space for maximum impact.
Include foreground elements to lead the eye in.
Look for ways to frame your subject as a ways to add extra interest to your shots and really isolate your subject.
A great way to remember your vacation is to capture the unique details that give a real sense of where you were.
Not only is it fun to experiment with shooting the details around you, but they can be great for adding colour and interest to create storyboards, photobooks or blog posts when you come home. What a fabulous way to get motivated to get photos off the computer!
Related: Storytelling Travel Photography
When getting in close, use a wide aperture to narrow the focus and really isolate your subject.
Related: Shooting in Manual Mode
Wide angle lenses distort the scene before us by stretching and elongating everything. So if you have a wide angle lens, use it to zoom out and capture great stretching skies or sweeping scenes which make for fantastic travel shots.
The view isn’t everything… your accommodation is an important aspect of your vacation and without photos, you’ll quickly forget that aspect. So turn around the snap the place you laid your head every night! Also, these shots are a great way to add context to storyboards.
You can also use a wide angle lens such as 24 or 35mm to include the environment in photos of your people. Just be careful not to distort your subject. You can avoid this by ensuring they’re not too close to the lens or the edges of the frame.
Related: What Lenses do to Faces
To really jazz up your vacation photos, look for creative light.
My favourite time to shoot is during the evening golden hour. It’s often the perfect time to wander off and shoot simply for myself. But it’s also a beautiful way to frame your subjects and add interest.
Related: Shooting in the Golden Hour
Learn how to capture a starburst in the form of the sun as a way to turn a typical scene into something special.
Related: How to Capture Starbursts
These are so much fun. You can try these to capture the sunset itself…
…or use the sunset as a backdrop for a fun silhouette shot of your favourite people.
Related: How to Shoot a Sunset Silhouette
This last little bit is my advice for finding balance when on vacation.
I love taking my camera away with me on holidays, but there’s nothing worse than missing out on the fun because I’m too worried about ‘getting the shot’ or lugging around my heavy camera gear.
Instead, now I pick up the camera only for short bursts of time and then I put it away. Then once I don’t have my camera I don’t even worry about what I’m missing… I can’t photograph absolutely everything.
I sit back and enjoy whatever we’re doing. Like sitting in a banana lounge looking at the view!
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