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Going on vacation is a highly anticipated adventure, whether you are traveling across the country or merely a few hours away. There is a certain rush about immersing yourself in a different area, awaiting the fresh, beautiful sights, trying new food, and spending time differently than your normal day to day in the comfort of your own home and town. While souvenirs are always fun to buy, they don’t always last forever. Photographs are a valuable addition to any vacation story, as they capture and preserve memories to last a lifetime. You don’t need to be an expert travel photographer to have your friends and family impressed. Here are a few things to try on your next vacation to capture your experience.
Before you leave:
Double check that you have everything you need. If you are taking a camera, make sure to bring backup memory cards, chargers, and any other important features to the camera. If you are new to photography, consider taking the user manual with you. If you have downtime while traveling, read through and refresh your memory on the features and settings of the camera. If you plan on taking photos from your phone, check out these tips from Apple to perfect your iPhone shots.
Have a rough itinerary. Many of the best photographs are taken spontaneously without warning. However, if you know there are certain landmarks special to the location, it’s a good idea to do some research before you leave. Researching popular destinations and calculating how much time you will need there will ultimately be helpful in maximizing your time while you are away.
When you get there:
Take your camera with you everywhere and take photographs that tell a story. From the departure to the arrival, to back home again, photographing all aspects of your time away helps create the story of your vacation. Think about the landmarks you visit, architecture, food, and local culture of your destination to craft your story. It’s also helpful to keep notes as you take photos. This will help you remember where the photo was taken, along with anything else that happened at the moment.
Lighting is everything, especially in travel photography. To get the best shots, wake up early and stay up late. Sunrises and sunsets provide beautiful backdrops to almost any subject. Travel photographer Natalie Ambrossi points out in this New York Times article that capturing sunrise and sunset shots is a great way to show the contrast of the hustle and bustle of your destination.
Talk to the locals. The locals will have the best recommendations of must-see spots and food. They’ll be able to give you the inside scoop to avoiding long lines, tourist destinations, and more. Also, never be afraid to take photos of the locals. Make sure to ask first, of course, but capturing portraits is a great way to remember conversations, local culture, and new friends made.
Think about the composition of your photos. Try getting shots from different angles, and utilize the rule of thirds as a base for most of your shots. Taking your photos from very low or high vantage points provides a unique perspective of locations.
Take candid pictures. It’s natural to have a few group photos set up for vacation, however candid shots offer a glimpse into the natural, unfiltered moments of your stay. Documenting the exciting things and beautiful sights you see should be fun and easy. Explore, have fun, and take great photos on vacation that will leave your friends and family envious of the trip!