Whether traveling around the world or having a staycation in your backyard, taking photos is a fun part of documenting your adventures. It doesn’t matter if you’re using a smartphone or an expensive camera; think about how you can bring home the special memories from your trip.
If you’re all about sharing your journeys on social media or simply hoping to take your photography skills to the next level, these simple tips can help enhance the beauty of your photos.
Tell a story
The most exciting and memorable vacation photos will capture the story of your trip from start to finish. For instance, you can photograph the contents of your suitcase before you leave, the view from your airplane or car window, or the places and people you encounter along the way. Taking pictures at key moments will help build a narrative of your vacation and remind you of the memories.
Anything that resonates with you is worth taking a photo of. That’s why it’s important to always keep a camera near you, even if it’s just your smartphone. Also, you may want to consider packing waterproof bags and cases, which can be handy if you’re going to capture photos while being on a kayak, the beach, or underwater.
Use a selfie stick or a tripod
This tip is handy for those who are solo travelers. If you want to take pictures with your phone but there’s no one around to help, that’s when selfie sticks and tripods come to the rescue. These gadgets can help to hold and position your camera in place. All you need to do is press that self-timer button and start posing. While selfie sticks are generally used for smartphones, tripods can apply to different devices. Some tripods can hold your phone and camera and are usually sold at very low prices.
Go for natural lighting
This tip might be too obvious, but some people don’t know its importance. Light is one of the critical components in altering the style of a photograph. That’s why natural lighting can make your photos look more natural and dynamic than using artificial light. However, you might be wondering: “Where can I get natural light?” Natural lighting comes from the sun that we see everyday, and there are different times of the day when the sun will give you the best lighting for your photos.
Sunrise is the ideal time of day to get an effortlessly breathtaking photo. At sunrise, the sun is low on the horizon line, which then creates a soft and diffuse light that is less harsh and easy for you to manipulate. Similarly, sunsets give your photos a nice low glow because the sun is also low on the horizon line. Many people refer to the sunset as ‘golden hour’ because it casts a golden light. The sun’s position creates beautiful lighting, making your pictures filled with deep and muted tones.
Capture the local wildlife
If you’re spending your holiday somewhere with unique wildlife, you cannot miss out on taking pictures of the wild animals there. Make sure to bring the right gear to help you photograph it. Having a long camera lens or a powerful zoom function on your camera can help you take photographs of birds, monkeys, dolphins, or other animals that you can’t get close to.
It’s a good idea to book guided tours, like a whale-watching excursion or a nature tour, in order to increase your chances of animal encounters while ensuring the safety of your trip. Also, if you feel like spending money on buying a new lens is too much, you can always opt for other solutions like borrowing or renting equipment.
Play around with different perspectives
Taking photographs from a unique, unexpected angle can level up your photos, making them more memorable to see. Photos taken from unexpected angles can create an illusion of depth or height with the subjects, making the image stand out. Next time, try taking a photo directly upward, letting the sky be a negative space, or shooting pictures from a high vantage point.
Capture candid moments
A great way to remember your trip is to capture candid moments of your friends, family, and yourself. I know, posed photos are inevitable. However, with a bit of extra effort, you can take a shot of a genuine laugh or expression. Candid photos are better at capturing the emotion and essence of the moment. I promise that the feelings you get from looking at these unexpected photos are much more meaningful than looking at typical images.
If you’re afraid that people can’t ‘act normal’ in front of the camera, try taking a video instead, then screenshot your favorite moments in the video. I’ve personally tried this hack, and it works every single time.
Photograph the locals
Similar to the tip above, capturing photographs of the locals gives a sense of genuineness to the photos. If you have an outgoing personality, you can photograph local shopkeepers around your area or take pictures of interesting people you meet on the street. If you’re a bit more introverted, try asking waiters, tour guides, or taxi drivers if you can take a photo of them. I’m sure they’ll all say yes!
Don’t be afraid to edit
Taking photos is just the first step to making your vacation pictures look visually appealing. Editing is the next step. Even though it’s optional, filters can be a valuable photographic tool and can be helpful if you want to make minor adjustments to your photos. You may want to bump up some colors or add more highlights and contrast to the picture you’ve taken.
Nowadays, you can find tons of editing applications out there. But the ones that I always use to edit my photos are Snapseed, VSCO, and the Edit section on my phone. If you prefer to edit photos on your laptop, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is the editing software that’s worth trying out.
Prepare your equipment
Having the right equipment when traveling is essential to taking great photos. Try and plan out what type of photos you’ll want to take on your trip. That way, you can prepare and invest in the best equipment to suit your photography needs.
If you’re traveling somewhere in the wildlife, make sure to bring your 360 camera, camera lenses, as well as lenses cleaners. Meanwhile, if you’re going around water, make sure to prepare the gears for some underwater photos.
To take great vacation photos, you’ll have to put the above tips into practice. Teach yourself how to use the gadgets, practice taking pictures whenever you can, and you’ll become a professional self-taught photographer in no time! Do you have more questions about how to take better photos on vacation? I’d love to help provide more photography tips and tricks for your next trip, so let me know in the comments below!