Whether you travel often or once in a blue moon, you probably want to capture your trip the best you can. Sometimes that can be a lot harder than it looks... But you don't need a nice camera (although it helps) you just need a few pointers. Here are 7 reasons why your vacation photos suck.
7. You always look straight at the camera
It's easy... it's simple. Just go over there, stand in front of the camera and smile. Yeah, that works. But you know what works BETTER? Showing real emotion. Even if you aren't laughing at the fact that your toddler HATES pictures, you can still fake it. Fake laugh! As a wedding photographer, I make people fake laugh all the time. People think it's stupid at first.... but you know what ends up happening? They Laugh for real. Then it makes for a fun photo. Also, by looking off in the distance it adds a little mystery to the photo. Mix it up! You're on Vacation, not at the DMV... you don't have to stand straight and look at the camera.
6. You don't look for symmetry and leading lines
Take a step back and look at everything around you. Columns on a building... lines on a dock. Use things like that to your advantage. Use them to draw people into your subject.... you! Use all that beautiful architecture to your advantage.
5. You don't bring a travel tripod or a selfie stick
Some shots are just impossible to get if you don't have a tripod. I know..... tripods are a pain. They really are. Luckily they make really light travel tripods these days that can easily fit in your backpack. Sometimes there is no one around to take your picture, or you want to be all cutesy and kissy and don't want to put some stranger through that. I recommend getting a remote for your camera so that you don't have to run back and forth with your camera on timer. Now, if a tripod is too much. Try to at least bring a selfie stick. I know.... they look stupid. But they get the job done. The classic arm-stretched-out-selfie method typically doesn't show much of the background. With a selfie stick, you'll be able to get a much wider shot, so a better image! I've done a lot weirder things than use a selfie stick to get the shot I wanted.
4. You don't look for better angles
I've got two photos down below. They were taken about 10 feet from each other, but the second one is soooo much better! No people! Before you take your shot look around for a spot or an angle (maybe somewhere elevated) where you can avoid showing the inevitable tourist crowds. Sometimes it just takes 5 seconds to find it, and you'll enjoy your photo so much more.
3. You don't look for people with nice cameras to take your photo
Sometimes a tripod or a selfie stick just aren't practical. So you typically hand off your camera the nearest person and ask them to take a picture of you. Half the time that results in a blurry picture with horrible composition. When finding someone to take your photo, look for someone with a nice camera. They will typically know a little bit more about photography than someone that is just using a cell phone. Also, as a compliment to the Asian community, they know their cameras. If you find an Asian tourist with a nice camera, you might just get a shot like the one below! He had perfect composition and it was exactly how wanted it to look.
2. You go home before it gets dark
After a full day of walking around, it's easy to be tempted to run back to your airbnb and crawl into bed early. While I am totally okay with doing that some nights... but at least one night, I like to walk around the city once the sun goes down. The crowds have dispersed and the city, monuments, fountains etc. are all lit up and beautiful. Some cities look completely different at night. Rome is especially one of them. Oh and Paris too. The Eiffel Tower sparkles around 10 pm and it is magic.
1. You sleep in
This one is ESPECIALLY hard while on vacation. If you want a good shot of a popular area without a lot of tourists, I suggest getting there around 7 a.m. (8 a.m. at the latest). When we were in Barcelona, there was this beautiful alley in the Gothic Quarter. All day, it was completely full of people. Like Disneyland lines. The next morning I woke up early and was there by 7 a.m. It was empty! I took all the time I wanted to get the shot I wanted and the morning light was stunning!! Also, this shot of me in Interlaken.. we took the first funicular up and I ran up the hill (28 weeks pregnant) So that I could get this shot before the group behind me showed up. Most tours start at 8 or nine. So by going a bit early, you beat the major crowds.
So there is my list! Where is your next trip going to be?? What else do you do to get great photos on your vacations? I'd love to hear! Be sure to comment below.