Don’t Spend Your Entire Vacation Behind a Camera!
Learn how to get amazing shots without spending your entire trip behind the camera.
One of the fun parts of going on vacation is getting to enjoy the pictures you’ve taken when it’s over. But most of us fall into one of two camps — we either take too many photos of the same thing and end up feeling too overwhelmed even to begin sorting through them, or we don’t take any and end up with no documentation of our fantastic trip.
But there is a way to take amazing photos of your trip — without spending all of your time with a camera in front of your face. Read on for some advice on getting great shots without missing out on all the fun that’s happening around you.
Use a real camera
Your iPhone is always handy, so it’s a no-brainer to use it to take pictures. But you’ll get much better quality images using an actual camera — and you won’t be compelled to check email or Facebook. I personally use a Nikon D5500, and I get amazing video and still images with it.
Line up your shot
“Take your time when composing a shot,” says travel photographer Wendy Connett. “When looking through the viewfinder, make sure your horizons are straight. Make sure there are no distracting elements in the background or around the sides of the frame, such as an errant elbow or telephone pole.”
Put people in your pics
A lovely landscape merits a snap or two, but what makes a shot memorable is that you and your traveling companion were there — so include him (and you!) in the pictures.
Mind the details
Naturally, you will want to get pics of the main touristy stuff you see (you can’t travel to Paris without snapping pics of the Eiffel tower, right?). But don’t forget to capture the little things — like the excellent display of pastries you drooled over (and consumed!) or the beautiful perfume bottles you just couldn’t choose. These pics will evoke strong memories, even years after the trip.
Capture the moment
Photos often end up looking stiff and a bit cheesy. Instead, catch your travel partner in the act, ideally when he doesn’t know you’re taking pictures – whether it’s trying on a hat or jumping into a waterfall.
Go for a close-up
Again, it’s all about the details so go in close and fill your frame with flowers, faces, bowls of fragrant spices you saw in a market – whatever captures your fancy! Remember, there is no right or wrong, there’s only what you find compelling.
Take turns being the shutterbug
Most couples or friends find that there’s one designated photographer. That person ends up documenting the trip but often misses out on the moment. Why not switch off and see a new perspective? Alternate days and that way everyone gets some time just to drink in the scenery.
Stop with the selfies
Okay, we know you can’t resist taking one or two, but why not also ask a fellow traveler or a local to take your picture? It’s a great opener to meet new people, and the result will look better, too.
Pick a theme
“Aim to capture what is iconic or unique to a destination,” says Connett. This could include landmarks, local cuisine, et cetera. In other words take photographs that convey the feel of a destination and what you are unlikely to see or experience at home. For example, a relative of mine took pictures of brides in every country he visited. The results were unique and unusual.
Don’t shoot all day long
If you spend your whole vacay documenting it, you’ll be missing out on those special, spontaneous moments. Remember, actually enjoying a perfect view can be more fulfilling than getting the perfect picture of it! “Limit yourself to taking photographs during early morning and late afternoon,” says Connett. “During these times the light is warmer which brings out detail and color, unlike the harsh light in the middle of the day.”
Put safety first
Never risk your well-being to get a great picture. And remember, the travel experience is more important than the proof that you took the trip. So better to miss out on a photo-op and a have a memory that lives forever in your mind.
Print the pics
Make a collage or even get a frame for those great snaps. While getting comments on social media sites is fun, there’s something pleasurable about looking at an actual picture hanging on the wall.