6 Tips for Taking Better Photos on Your Next Vacation

lago di braies

This is a guest post by Susan Guillory of The Unexplorer.

I don’t know about you, but I love taking photos on my travels. At home, I upload them to Flickr, then enjoy a slide show on my tv. It’s a great way to reminisce and feel like I’m back on the road.

And yet, it’s taken me a long time to create photos that tell a story! That’s why I wanted to share my insider tips to ensure that you come home with some great shots.

Tip 1: Take 3+ Shots of Everything

zakopane poland

Early on in my travels, I used to take one photo of everything. Why?? It’s not as if I was limited by only having so much film.

I learned this tip at a travel show a few years ago: take three shots: one far away, one middling close, and one closeup. I also try to get slightly different angles. Sometimes I don’t notice that there’s a light pole or car in my shot until I look at them later, so having different perspectives can sometimes eliminate that issue.

Tip 2: Take Your Camera AND Phone

keys creek lavender farm

This is mainly for you folks who enjoy sharing photos on social media like I do. I don’t upload images from my actual camera until the end of the trip usually (and that takes a while since I have hundreds to go through!) I like to share what I’m doing in the moment, so I take some shots with my smartphone. Phone cameras are almost as good as expensive DSLR cameras these days, so you’re certainly not going to have image quality suffer with your phone! (I have a Google Pixel, which takes pretty great photos.)

It’s also easier to pull out your phone to take a photo when you’re trying to be sly (like getting a candid shot of someone.)

Insider Tip: Wait until you’re back at the hotel where you have wifi to post the photos. There’s no sense in paying international roaming charges just to post to Instagram! Plus if you’re in another country, all your friends are asleep when you’re out having adventures. Post your travel adventure photos when they’re awake.

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Tip 3: Reconsider the Bulky Camera

death valley

I go back and forth on this. I’m a travel blogger, so taking great shots is part of my work. But I loathe the idea of lugging around a ginormous DSLR with detachable lenses. Right now I use the Sony Cyber-Shot RX100, a compact point-and-shoot with great photo taking capability. It’s not cheap, though, so consider how important it is to take really high-quality images. You might just want to print photos for an album or view online, and then you can get a reasonably priced point-and-shoot camera.

Tip 4: Survey the Scene

eiffel tower

When I’m about to take photos, I look around me. What’s the most interesting angle? Everyone gets a photo of the Eiffel Tower from a distance; it’s iconic. I chose, instead, to take shots looking up into the maze of metal. This angle creates a more unique shot, which I like. I do still take the traditional shots, but I always take a moment to see what opportunities I have to tell a deeper story through a photo.

Tip 5: Capture a Moment


I get so excited when I see a scene like this bride getting this little boy ready for the wedding in Venice’s Piazza San Marco! Capturing those slices of life is truly gratifying. Always be ready with your camera, and pay attention to people! Look down alleyways. Look behind you. Slow down, and you’ll find those moments.

Tip 6: Put the Camera Away

I’m guilty of not doing this enough (I know because my 13-year-old son pointed this out to me.) Sometimes you need to let an experience or place just seep into your consciousness rather than instantly recording it digitally. Sure, you want to capture the perfect sunset so you can share the photo with your friends, but wouldn’t you rather put your shoulder on the person you’re with and enjoy it in the moment?

These are my photo-taking tips! If you have any others, please share them in the comments below.

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