9 tips for unforgettable holiday photos

Is there anything better than reliving your favorite vacation memories when you’re stuck at home for the season? Nothing breaks up the monotony of our lives like our favorite photos of our favorite people in some of the world’s most scenic destinations.

Whether you’re taking a road trip or traveling halfway around the world, great vacation photos are easy to find and capture. When you’re already having a good time, there are few shots worth missing. Shutterbugs of the world: this one’s for you.

1. Do a little research

A tropical vacation destination.

If you’re going somewhere totally new, a number of vacation planning apps and tools to research your exotic location will help you plan an adventure that maximizes every second you spend away from home.

Wanderlog can help you plan your route, and everything you log is available offline, making it perfect for those traveling to a remote location. Roadtrippers, Tripadvisor, and Citymapper are also full of scenic spots and local must-sees that you might want to consider planning for your vacation.

2. Tell a story

Three people at the top of a scenic hike.

When you think back on your trip, you’re going to want to remember even small moments, especially if you’re traveling with a loved one or family. Your coffee before the flight? The taxi ride for a romantic dinner? Sometimes it’s the little things that really bring us back in retrospect.

If you can, always have your camera or phone with you, not just for the group photo at the end of each planned outing. Vacation photos don’t always have to be posed and fake; Candids really are gold, and we’re seeing some of our most memorable shots arrive without warning, even in less than ideal conditions for traditional photography.


The photo should never be perfect. It just has to be awesome.

3. Bring a lightweight tripod or selfie stick

A couple taking a selfie while skydiving.

A small tripod for travel photography can be a lifesaver, especially if you are traveling specifically to take photos. If you’re going to go through all the hassle of visiting the Great Pyramids of Giza, you might as well guarantee the photo of your life.

There are plenty of tripods on the market designed specifically for taking pictures on vacation, providing a quick, convenient experience that won’t slow you down.

If a tripod is a little too fancy for your style and your crew, a selfie stick is the best thing you can grab before you take your flight. You can fit everyone into the shot without compromising the quality of your shot or disturbing a local viewer.

4. Walk off the beaten track

A car driving along the shore.

Statue of Liberty. The Golden Gate Bridge. Once you’ve done the obvious things, what’s left to do on vacation?

Local places, features, and experiences aren’t always easy to spot, especially if you’re new to travel as a hobby. Yelp really can’t do much for you: the best food, the coolest places, and the coolest people aren’t usually found on Fifth Avenue, so to speak.

If you don’t have a friend on the other side and you’re a bit shy to find out in person, sites like Culture Trip, Atlas Obscura, and even social media sites like Instagram can help you focus. on the best of what any city has. to show. Bring home a story worth telling, with the pictures to prove it.

Related: The best sites for picking random travel destinations for trips

5. Don’t be afraid of the power of mobile photography

A spread at the beach.

If you’re already a fan of travel photography, your bag is probably already packed in the next room, ready and waiting for action at all times.

Great gear and all the gadgets make travel photography great fun, but we encourage you to lean on your smartphone whenever your real camera isn’t to hand. Small format photography doesn’t have to look and feel pedestrian and random; we never want to miss a great memory, and neither do you.

6. Save the montage for the hotel room

A woman enjoying a day at the beach.

Along with our previous point, there is an admission: we suffer from acute and chronic VSCO-Cam-at-the-table syndrome. Heed our warning, editing your photos while you’re still supposed to enjoy your vacation is a waste of valuable time.

If you’re crazy like us, you also worry obsessively about losing a photo before sharing it. Leave the dirty work to your favorite cloud storage service and perhaps an external backup drive you dump your load into overnight.

You will have so much time to edit your photos when you are at home. When you keep your eyes on the horizon, you’ll usually end up having a much better time. Your photos will probably end up getting much better to boot.

7. Keep your gear and files safe

A person taking photos on vacation.

Worst case scenario: someone steals your entire camera bag while you’re out. Your photos? Gone, with all your gear.

The same rules that apply to traveling with valuables like jewelry or large sums of cash will apply here – only bring what you need to the field and try not to advertise for what you are carrying.

Insuring your equipment and even affixing every device and accessory with Apple AirTags are two surefire ways to avoid financial disaster. However, an insurance policy will not bring back any of your actual photos. Luckily, if you’re backing everything up to a separate drive or the cloud, your photos will probably be the least of your worries.

Related: Travel Photography: Essentials to Take With You

8. Get up early and stay out late

A beautiful sunrise somewhere scenic.

When you’re halfway across the country or around the world, you’ll want to soak up everything you can before the overwhelming mundanity of your ordinary life envelops you once again.

For this reason, we have a tip: never sleep in when you’re on vacation. We may also recommend that you stay out after your usual bedtime, but we probably didn’t have to tell you that.

If you’re a foodie, you’ll never want to miss a meal on vacation. If you’re sentimental like us, you also don’t want to miss a sunrise or sunset, especially if you’re traveling somewhere very naturally beautiful. Bop until you drop and see the world for what it really is.

9. Follow your heart

A group of friends on vacation.

Serendipity? Synchronicity ? Destiny? Destiny? Call it what you want. When you have a good idea of ​​something ahead of you, grab it by the hand and roll with it.

You can plan your trip anew and do all the research in the world, but nothing really replaces the feeling of being in the world, in a totally new place, and experiencing every breath completely in the moment.

Keep your eyes and ears open for exciting opportunities to explore; the recommendation of a friendly stranger, an intriguing rustic storefront, or even a literal fork in the road ahead. As long as you travel safely and don’t cause a ruckus, your trip could end somewhere completely unexpected in the best possible way.

Related: Travel Photography: Tips for Taking Better Photos Abroad

Take vacation photos that make you feel like you’re still on vacation

Great vacation photos don’t have to take you too far out of your way, and neither should they; you have quite a route to encounter, explore and enjoy, after all.

With your trusty camera already at your side, you’ll be ready for some of the best vacation photos of your life. Say “cheese.

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