All vacations must come to an end, but photographs are forever. Many travelers enjoy documenting their journey, and thanks to advances in digital photography, a good camera isn’t difficult to find, and a great one can often be found at a very reasonable price. However, whether you use the latest DSLR or your smartphone camera, the biggest determinant of photo quality is the photographer. By following these tips, you can be sure your vacation photos will please your social media friends and the family members who will be flipping through your albums.
Obviously, good vacation photos begin at home, where you should be sure to pack everything you need, along with a few extras. A spare battery and an extra memory card can be crucial, and if you will be traveling with your computer, be sure to bring the cables for backing up photos on the go. Naturally, a good photographer knows his or her tools, so be sure you’re experienced with getting the most out of your camera. High-end professional or upscale amateur cameras can create incredible pictures, but they won’t do much good if you don’t know how to use them, so study up on topics like aperture, focus, and shutter speed, as well as your camera’s specific settings. And unless you’re traveling specifically for photography, don’t weigh yourself down too much; a couple of camera bodies along with 12-60mm and 50-200mm zoom lenses will give you plenty of range. Likewise, if you’ll be spending a lot of time in the water, consider purchasing an underwater-ready camera, many of which have become very affordable in recent years.
After you’ve mastered your tools, begin mastering the basics of composition. When taking pictures, think about what the viewer will see; landscape photos in particular can seem rather bland, so try to capture images where things are happening in both the foreground and the background. Don’t be afraid to walk off the beaten path to get a great picture, but also consider the setting; many parks and wildlife reserves will offer advice on restricted areas on their websites. Finally, be sure that you’re including people in as many pictures as possible, ideally by getting a good mix of posed pictures and candid shots that capture your friends and family having fun on their vacation.