The best souvenirs you can obtain from any vacation are photographs. Nothing can capture the experience and encapsulate your memories better than pictures. Use these expert tips on getting the best vacation photos for your upcoming trips with family, friends, or yourself.
1) Bring a good camera
Professional travel photographers don’t always use the most expensive or top-rated travel cameras to get those gorgeous shots. Your smartphone will suffice. But if you want to shoot crisper and sharper images, you can invest in a good camera. There are plenty of choices for affordable travel cameras that won’t cost you more than a couple hundred dollars. Choose one that can zoom in and out, has Wi-Fi connection (for easier photo sharing), and is compact and easy to travel with.
2) Tell a story
Postcard pictures are great, but a vacation is more than just the place you are going. It is also about the experience and the time you spend together with your travel companions and the locals. Try to get photographs of how your holiday began, progressed, and ended. You can take a photo of what’s inside your travel bag before leaving, the view from your airplane window (or car, boat, train, etc.), the people you meet, and the places you visit.
3) Use a list of famous sites
Of course, you want to have your own vacation photos of the popular tourist spots. But if you have limited time when touring, having a list of the places you most want to capture can be helpful. Try taking pictures of these famous sites from different angles for a unique representation. For example, you can hike up to get an aerial view of the beautiful La Sagrada Familia cathedral in Barcelona.
4) Be spontaneous
Not all of your vacation pictures have to be at popular tourist spots. Capture anything that interests you, like a family brunch at a vineyard in France. Or a group of locals chatting over tea on a sidewalk cafe in London. Even flowers along the path to your rented summer beach house, or lined up luggage at an airport queue could become interesting mementos.
5) Take vacation photos of your companions
Make sure to take plenty of pictures of your family and friends. It is not the buildings or landscapes, but it is the people you travel with who make your trip more memorable. Some might protest of having to pose for the camera, but they will be thankful later.
6) Choreograph some moments
Have more fun when taking photographs with your travel companions. You can do the same funny face, or act out a historical scene at a significant archaeological site. You can all pose in mid-step when hiking to really capture your walk and adventure. Creating sunset silhouettes can also make unique images.
7) Capture candid moments
Naturally, you won’t want to choreograph everything. It could be stressful for everybody, which could end up dampening the mood during the trip. And it could also let you miss those natural, beautiful moments. So just be ready to press the trigger anytime you see a worthwhile candid shot. Sometimes, these are the most valuable ones.
8) Take scenic shots
Don’t overdo it, though. If you see an interesting landscape or a gorgeous view from your hilltop accommodation, then take a few shots from good angles. Include yourself and your companions if possible. It can be tiresome or even irritating for some to have to scroll through scores of scenic shots in your shared online vacation album.
9) Get indoor shots too
Don’t just focus on what’s outside, inside spaces can also be great souvenirs. Museum exhibits (when allowed), beautifully decorated hotels, quirky restaurants, and church ceilings and walls are just some of the interesting interior spaces that you can capture.
10) Shoot during different times of the day
The quality of photographs is affected by the lighting of your surroundings. And capturing a place during different times in a day can tell a story of the life and vibe in that locality. Sunrise pictures are great times to enjoy the natural beauty and the solace of a place, while sunset shots are great for experiencing how ‘alive’ it becomes as night sets in.
11) Take pictures of the locals
The locals can be the best subjects to shoot if you want to capture the heart and spirit of a locality. They can give you a real sense of the place. Shopkeepers, village elders and youngsters, and people on the street are a few interesting subjects. But if you’re a bit hesitant to annoy or disrespect the locals, you can ask hotel staff, taxi drivers, tour guides or other persons involved in the tourism industry to pose for you. They will usually be more comfortable in front of a camera since tourist photographs are a normal part of their job.
12) Photograph something unique about the locality
Attending a festival, trying local food, and dressing up in local garb don’t just present great photo ops. They are also some of the best ways to really experience the culture. Keep an eye out also for interesting architecture. Another great way to capture the uniqueness of a locality is by photographing the local transportation. Riding a rickshaw in India, a ‘becak’ in Indonesia, and a ‘trisikad’ in the Philippines are examples of how similar yet different a non-motorized three-wheeled vehicle experience is in various regions of Asia.
13) Get the help of photography gadgets or other people when needed
Whatever your opinion is about selfie sticks, they will definitely come in handy when on vacation. So make sure to get a reliable selfie stick for travel and other gadgets that can make your photo shoots more successful. You don’t need to get all the equipment, of course. A durable tripod, protective casings, and just one lens will do. Also, don’t be shy to ask someone else to take the picture if a selfie stick or timer won’t suffice.
These expert tips for taking great vacation photos can definitely make the task easier. But don’t forget that a main ingredient for the perfect shot is to make sure you are enjoying and really experiencing the moment.