Vacation photo tips

Vacation Photo Tips | How to Take Great Vacation Photos

We’re all for putting the phone the down and enjoying yourself while on vacation. An attachment to your phone vs. living in the moment can feel like a big ol’ ball and chain sometimes. There can be an exception to this rule though. Taking great vacation photos can be the difference between a forgotten moment or a memory you can tangibly have to remember that beautiful sunset or funny moment with your friends. This doesn’t mean you need to have your phone out at all times, but these vacation photo tips can give you an advantage. Make the most of the time you have with your phone out, so you can capture those candid shots before putting the phone down and enjoying your vacation!

We’re going to assume that you’re taking most of your vacation pictures with your phone. It’s quick, it’s easy, and the phone can fit in your pocket. Most of our vacation photo tips will take this into consideration, however, some of the tips below can also apply even if you have some heavy-duty photography equipment with you.

Vacation pictures

Playing with the settings on your phone can make or break your vacation pictures.

Vacation Photo Tips | Playing with Settings

We’re a little spoiled these days in that most phones come loaded with a pretty awesome camera. You don’t even really have to touch the settings or know what you’re doing to take a great shot. Knowing how to tinker with some of those fancy settings isn’t just for the pros! A little research on your part will give you a few tricks up your sleeve when you’re working on getting the perfect vacation photos.

  • Focus and Exposure – When you take a picture on your phone, do you know the little box that shows up when you touch the screen? This is how you set your focus point in the picture. You can move the focus point around, depending on what you want to be the central focus in the photo. At the same time you’re doing this, the camera is also setting the exposure too. Exposure is what controls the brightness or darkness of the shot. If your camera app has the option to set the exposure manually, this is worth playing around with. An automatically adjusted exposure based on the focus point can often screw with the final shot.
  • Gridlines – If your camera app has the option to add gridlines to your screen when taking photos, you should take advantage of this. The “rule of thirds” comes into play here, which is a basic photography concept you can find more info on here. The quick definition is it involves dividing your image up with lines to ensure the photo is balanced. The end product then becomes more eye catching and visually pleasing.
  • Easy Does It – Not everyone has super steady hands, and it can be a bummer if all your vacation pictures have a little bit of blur to them. Luckily, there is a fix for this! You might not have to use the shutter button on the screen to take your pictures. Fumbling with your hands for this on-screen button can be hard depending on the shot you’re taking. You can use the volume buttons on some phones as the shutter button instead. Also, if you use the headphones that came with your phone, you might be able to use the buttons on the headphones instead. No more blurry vacation photos!
  • Zoom Zoom – If you have the urge to zoom in on something to take a photo, don’t do it! Phone cameras use what is called a “digital zoom” vs. an optical zoom. This means that the camera is only cropping the image, which will only result in a poor-quality photo. Walk closer to the subject you’re focusing on if at all possible, which will result in a much better shot.

Vacation Photo Tips | The Bigger Picture

Did you see what we did there? Pun intended! Beyond playing with the settings on your camera, there’s a lot of other things to take into consideration when taking your vacation photos, like finding the right angle or perspective for your shot, or how to take advantage of natural lighting.

  • Candid Shots – We’ll get to the tips on how to get those awesome scenic shots, but first, let’s focus on the people! Posed shots are great, but who doesn’t love a great candid photo? Sneaking a shot of a genuine smile or laugh, or a loving moment between a couple when they think no one is watching is priceless. If you already carry your phone on you, you’re halfway there! Try to take your shots when you aren’t right in front of the subject(s). It’s hard to hide a camera right in front of someone after all!
  • Angling Away from the Camera – If you’re in the shot, try angling yourself or having your subject angle themselves away from the camera. This can add more depth to your shot and the landscape behind/in front of your subject.
  • Early Bird Gets the Worm – If you can, plan to take your vacation photos early in the morning or in the late afternoon when you can take advantage of the best natural lighting. This will create softer shadows in your photos and can really make the backdrops or scenery pop!
  • Get Creative – Perspective is everything and can really change how your photo comes out. When you find something you’d like to photograph, take the time to look at it from different angles to see what your options are. Look around and try to find a different vantage point, maybe going higher or lower than what you are photographing… look for a deck or hill above the subject, a terrace below it, or even lie down on the ground to shoot upward. Try tilting the camera a bit to the right or left and see how this changes the end product. Don’t be afraid to get creative!
  • Bad Weather? – This might be the perfect time to get some killer landscape/scenery shots! If you plan your photoshoot around the weather, you can take advantage of the elements. For example, right before or after a storm, the sky and clouds are going to look insane! Don’t pass up that opportunity, go grab your phone and play around with some of the settings we talked about above. Bad weather doesn’t mean you can’t look on the bright side, my friends. There’s always an opportunity waiting, if you look closely enough.
Vacation photos

A new vantage point can really transform your vacation photos!

Did you learn something new from our vacation photo tips above? We’d love to hear about it! Drop us a line on our social pages (Facebook and Twitter) – we’d love to hear your own photography tips, and of course see some of your work. If you need any assistance with your vital records before traveling, we’d love to help with that too!

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