10 Techniques for Taking Great Photos

Vacation Photo Tips

Read the instruction manuel before your vacation for the best vacation photo results.

Make sure the mementos of your worldly adventures exist as quality and accurate reminders of time well spent.

Take these vacation photo tips into account and you’ll see; it’ll be a snap to maximize the potential hidden in your camera, your surroundings and your own two hands.


Light Issues

Lighten up! Be aware of how both natural and artificial light can affect the subjects of your photos. Early and late sunlight provide flattering light, but cloudy days are actually best for snapping pics of people. Noontime sun can have a harsh effect of facial photographs by creating unwanted shadows and lines. While it might seem counter-intuitive, using the flash while outdoors can soften the effects of bright sunlight. Also, be sure that what or whoever you’re trying to capture falls within the range of your flash in order to avoid a dark and indistinct photo.  

Divide and Conquer

You don’t have to be a professional photographer to understand a basic rule of the game. The rule of thirds suggests imagining your photo divided into a tic-tac-toe grid; instead of centering your subject, try to align it at an intersection of your envisioned lines. Remember to lock the auto-focus if you’re using a digital camera. Most cameras will zero in on what’s taking center stage. If you’re having a hard time recomposing your photo, consider taking a vertical shot for a different photographic feel.

Keep it Level

Avoid shooting your subjects, people in particular, from an upward or downward angle. This can create double chins and awkward images, so move yourself to eye level in order to create a much more successful photograph. Your friends’ and family’s vanity is at stake, after all. Posed portrait photos often work best when eye contact is made. This does not mean your subject has to look full-on at the camera. Rather, when you get down to their eye-level, you may have a better chance of capturing that candid smile or signature smirk.

Take Control

Don’t be afraid to give your subjects a little direction. After all, this is your photo shoot, so as art director, the mise en scene is totally up to you. Have fun with it. The more relaxed you are, the more loosened up your subjects will be, which makes for better photos. If you’re capturing images of landscapes or strangers, give yourself time to set up a great shot and feel free to move your feet around as you seek the perfect angle and set-up. If lighting conditions aren’t ideal, consider moving your subjects to a better spot.

Stay Positive You don't have to be a professional photographer to take excellent vacation pictures.

You may feel like you’re moving in too close for comfort, but great vacation photos contain little negative space. Fill the frame with your favorite faces or fascinating landmarks the best you can, instead of cluttering the canvas with distracting details. When in doubt, take a few steps forward and remember the rule of the tic-tac-toe grid. Aim for a clean, uncluttered background in order to flatter your primary subjects. Unintentional blunders like antlers, trees or bystanders could spoil the intimacy and polish of an otherwise good photo.

Know Your Camera

It’s easy to become intimidated by today’s advanced technology, but a few minutes spent with your instruction booklet right now will make a world of difference later. Red eye reduction, focusing tools and an array of other potentially helpful settings could prevent all future photos from landing in the realm of mediocrity. The more comfortable you feel with your camera, the more likely you’ll be ready to take that unexpected shot. Avoid tunnel vision: great shots can happen in unexpected places. Candid shots and serendipitous convergences of people, place and emotion can make for priceless souvenirs, so keeping your camera ready is key for catching these lucky circumstances.

Find more Vacation Tips 101 like Passport Tips and Tips for Traveling with Toddlers .