vacation photo tips

Ever take a bunch of photos on vacation only to review them later and realize you didn’t capture much? Pictures from the beach are ruined by too much glare from the sun, photos near outdoor monuments and landmarks are either too dark to make out or riddle with shadows, and the few good pictures you managed to get have your family looking like blood-thirsty vampires with red eyes. It’s the absolute worse to find out that what you thought were great shots turn out to be a bunch of duds.

Unfortunately, you can’t go back in time and recreate the moment, but what you can do is make sure that you learn from your mistakes so that the photos you take going forward are better than ever. Here are a few tips:

Choose The Right Camera For The Job

You don’t have to go out and get the most expensive product on the market, however, your photos will only be as good as the camera you’re taking them on. Frankly, even though I have a nice expensive camera I tend to shoot with my phone as much as I do my DSLR. There's an old saying that, "The best camera is the one you have with you." That being said though, while you can use your smartphone if you’d like, but there are other options that are very affordable. Try to find a compact camera you can take with you everywhere. Make sure it has features that include zoom, Wi-Fi connectivity, red-eye reduction, and nighttime status.

Watch The Lighting

The light can work with or against you. An evening sunset can play perfectly in your photos but the sun at noon can give off too much glare. When taking photos throughout the day, adjust your camera settings to adapt. Use the flash in places where there is less natural light and turn the flash off if you’re outside. Shutter speed can be adjusted to increase or reduce the amount of light captured in the photograph, dramatically altering the mood.

mendenhall juneau glacier

Candid Shots Can Be Great To Capture Raw Emotion

Some of the best photos are those taken of your friends and family when they’re not prepared. This doesn’t mean you should turn into the paparazzi, however, what it does mean is that you shouldn’t be afraid to take a candid picture on occasion. These photos tend to capture their truest form and feelings about the trip instead of always posing and being forced to put on a smile.

Tell a Story With Your Images

Telling a story through pictures can help you piece together your vacation when you want to look back. When taking photos, be sure to take a few in several locations. Taking pictures next to signs, or while participating in your favorite activities are also excellent ways to capture the fun you had on your vacation.

Let Nature be Your Backdrop 

If you’re headed to a destination with beautiful scenic views you should take advantage of it. Nature can be the perfect backdrop for any photo. Look for parks, hiking trails, beaches, and bridges to name a few. They’ll look great on postcards if you plan on sending them to friends and family later.

dawes glacier alaska

Try Different Camera Angles and Orientations

While I generally love landscape orientation photos, rotating the camera by 90 degrees for a portrait orientation can add a great deal of impact to the image.

Get Ready For Close-Ups

When you’re too far back from what you’re trying to shoot it can make the picture look less appealing. Trying to get up close to your subject so you can pick up on the details. Zoom in and out features can help make this easier.

Of course, you want to make sure that your vacation photos come out better than in times before, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the fun. When taking photos of your family and surroundings remember to relax and enjoy yourself. No, the poses won’t always come out right, yes, tourists tend to walk right in the middle of the frame, and yes, sometimes the sun glare will be too much, but try to keep your mind off the distractions and on the purpose of taking pictures in the first place - to have precious memories to look back on.

No one wants to spend hours taking photos and footage of their vacation only to come home and find out they’re pretty much duds. Whether your next trip is on a cruise, at a beach, or in a popular town, you can use the above-mentioned tips to take more meaningful and better quality pictures. As a last bit of advice remember to have them printed at a quality shop for the best results.