When you’re on vacation, you don’t want to spend the whole time snapping photos, but you do want to take some great shots so that you and the people you were with can have some great memories, and the people left at home can see what you did while you were away. So if you’re going to take fewer photos, you’ll need to also take better photos – here are some tips on how to do it.
1. Tell The Story
Rather than a lot of photos that don’t really have any context, it’s a good idea to take pictures that tell the story of your vacation instead. So take ‘establishing shots’ of the places you go and where you are staying. You really only need one image of the front of your hotel, perhaps a shot of each room if you are staying in an Ocean Florida villa, one of the pool, and just one of the beach or the city where you are spending a lot of time. Once you have those shots, you can concentrate on filling in the gaps by taking photos of the people you’re with and the things you’re doing. Try to stick to just one photo of each activity or restaurant and so on; that should be enough.
2. Start Early
In order to really set the scene, you should start taking your photos before you arrive at your destination. Get images of people packing or the trip to the airport (or the journey in the car if you’re not going on a plane). If you are on a plane, get a photo of the view out of the window or the crew member who serves you drinks (just make sure you get permission to do so – this is the same for every person you take a photo of). This is really the start of your vacation, so it makes sense to include these moments in your memories too. The same is true at the end of the vacation. Take a great final photo of everyone when they arrive back home, having had a wonderful time away, and it will be one of the photos you remember the most.
3. Know Your Camera
When it comes to travel photography advice, it is important to familiarize yourself with your camera’s settings and features. Take the time to read the manual, play about with all the buttons and camera settings, and spend hours with the camera in your hands so that it becomes a part of you. Prepare yourself by learning how to use the menu so that you don’t waste time scrolling through it when you need to make quick adjustments to the camera in the field.
Also, be sure to familiarise yourself with the limits of your camera. The camera’s performance in low-light conditions is critical. Wide open, is it crisp, or do you need to stop down for the greatest detail? Is there any kind of built-in stabilization? With your camera in hand, you want to be confident and know precisely what you’re doing. Then you’ll be able to take better photos more quickly and easily.
4. Don’t Rush
Of course, there will be occasions when a quick photo is necessary (a wave crashing over the beach, or a seagull stealing an ice cream, or anything spontaneous), but a lot of the time, you will have the chance to really think about your shot and compose it well. That could mean thinking about the shadows and the angles, where you’re standing to snap the photo, and who is in the shot (if anyone). Making sure these photographs are just right will reassure you that you only need to take one, as long as you do it right.
Finally, no matter where you have been, what you have done, or how many photos you took in the end, you’ll need to back them up. Imagine the disappointment if you found that you no longer had these wonderful images because of a corrupted file or lost USB. You can back these images up onto an external hard drive, or onto a cloud-based system – both have their pros and cons so you should read up on each and ensure that you are happy with your choice.
Ultimately, you want to spend most of your time doing, rather than spectating through a camera lens when you’re traveling (unless you happen to be a travel photographer, of course), so the more you understand how to get the best shots, the better; you’ll be quick, and you can get on with the rest of your trip with some amazing photos to enjoy as memories when you get home.