10 Tips for More Memorable Vacation Photos
‘Tis the season for vacations. Am I right? It seems like this time of year I’m hearing about everyone’s fun vacation plans or stories about a recent trip. I’ve taken my fair share of weekend adventures this year such as this one looking for lady slippers, and this one to Madeline Island, and this one camping along Lake Superior.
When I’m packing for a trip, and when I’m on a trip, there are certain things I do and try to remember in order to take memorable pictures while on said vacation. I wanted to share some of my tips so that you too can hopefully create some memorable photographs on your next vacation. Whether it’s a day, weekend or week-long trip, here are 10 tips to help take more memorable vacation photographs.
*Disclaimer: These tips are just things I personally try to do while on vacation and are in no way inclusive of everything to remember. Some of these things may sound really simple and like they should be common sense, but they are all things I’ve either learned the hard way or have known others who have learned the hard way.
Since these are my personal tips, a lot of these apply to nature-based vacations (camping, hiking, etc), but can be applied to all types of vacations.
1. Before your trip: things to do/bring
Charge camera batteries
This sounds like common sense but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought my camera batteries were full and they weren’t. Charge them. Just do it. Oh, and bring your camera charger if you’re going somewhere with power. If you’re not, there are devices for your car that you plug into the cigarette lighter. My husband and I have one, and that has saved us on more than one occasion.
Bring extra camera batteries
Bring all your camera batteries, even if you think you don’t need to. If you only have one, it might be beneficial to pick another one up, especially if you’re going somewhere without electricity or going on a long trip.
Bring all lenses (if applicable), tripod, other tools
If you have a camera with interchangeable lenses, bring all your lenses, even if you don’t think you’ll use all of them. This goes for all your camera equipment you think you might use, because you never know when you will. Just trust me, it'll be worth it.
Bring your camera bag so you can easily carry your camera on all your excursions. I have a camera bag that can also be turned into a backpack. I love it.
Extra memory cards
I’ve told stories before of how I’ve forgotten my memory card in the computer, or wherever. Because of this, I have multiple ones, and I’ve never regretted it. It’s great for those times when 1. they break (yes, they just do) 2. You forget your main one 3. you fill up one. I highly recommend having more than one, and bring all of them.
2. Do the 'touristy' photos
It’s always fun to go to the main attractions and take a bunch of photos. I’m all for that. For example, the picture below of the Grand Tetons. This barn is off Mormon Row and is a very common barn for people to photograph. It’s gorgeous so of course I was right there taking pictures along with everyone else.
3. Do the touristy photos creatively
While you’re there taking pictures of the main attractions, (as I say and try to encourage often), get creative! What different angles can you shoot from? What else is near you that you can include in the picture? The possibilities are endless. Take for example the picture of the Grand Canyon below. This tree is near one of the first overlooks along the trail we were walking on, so it’s a pretty common area. That being said, I love how you can still tell that you’re looking at the Grand Canyon, but the tree framing the canyon provides a unique and interesting perspective.
4. Take the path less traveled
Almost every trip we take, my husband and I like to go exploring off the beaten path, quite literally. We have discovered wildlife (a wolf, moose) and some amazing landscape views this way. And, because we aren’t along main routes, there aren’t as many people, which means we can take our time taking picture and just enjoying the views.
*The picture below is SUPER old, and was taken with my very first camera. It’s not edited or fancy, but it still remains one of my favorite pictures to this day.
5. Visit places at different times of day
Most people while on vacation are out and about during the day. Makes sense. However, real magic can happen by visiting some landscapes, main attractions, etc, at different times of the day. For example, taking picture of a mountain range results in a beautiful picture. But it’s a whole other picture when taken during sunset. Grab your sweatshirt, bug spray and a chair and find a spot to watch the sunset or sunrise. Take pictures. Get beautiful photos.
6. View the area from air, land, sea
If you have the opportunity to explore your vacation spot in other ways (besides on land), take advantage of it! I will be honest and say that I don’t do this one as often as I should, (although I have been known to wade in the water for a picture). I’m not a flyer, so I don’t have many pictures from the air, but as a geography major who loves looking at maps, I LOVE pictures people take from planes. The closest I got to an ‘aerial view’ was by climbing up a public retired fire tower (which was still a little nerve racking). A few years ago, my husband and I were lucky enough to be able to go out into a boat on the Snake River to explore the Grand Tetons. It was amazing and resulted in the picture below.
7. Don't forget to take pictures of people!
This is another one that’s common sense to a lot of people, but for me, I honestly have trouble with this one, hence why it made my list. Take pictures of the people you’re with! You’re on vacation with them for a reason, right (note that I’m also telling myself this)? On a solo trip? I hear selfies are really in these days...
8. Careful who you ask to take your picture
When you’re on vacation, it’s common to want to get a group picture with all people in your party. Most of the time you can find someone who is willing to take a picture, and everything is fine. However, I’ve heard horror stories (which I’m sure are rare) of people getting their camera stolen or broken. I know this is common sense, but use your best judgement when handing someone your camera and/or phone.
9. Remember the details
While you’re busy snapping away and enjoying yourself, it’s easy to take pictures of the buildings, the mountains, etc. But what about the cool window of the building, the design of a rock, or the flowers at your campsite? As I've mention many times, remember to pay attention to the little details and GET CLOSE. I find that as I’m looking for the ‘little things’ to take pictures of, I remember more of the trip when I’m back at home.
10. Yes, it's worth hauling your camera around
In order to do all these things, you need to have your camera! Another ‘duh’ moment. That being said, there have been day trips or even just quick afternoon trips that I’ve decided I just wanted to ‘enjoy my afternoon’ and not worry about taking pictures or hauling my camera. That decision is always a bad one, because even though I have a (so-so) camera on my phone, there is always something that I have wanted to photograph. Have there been times that I’ve gone on a hike or for a drive that I had my camera and didn’t take anything? Of course. But I felt comfort in the fact that I at least had my camera in case I wanted to capture something.
What tips do you have for taking more memorable vacation photographs? Do you have a traditional picture you take wherever you go?
Make sure you never miss a post! Sign up for my weekly newsletter by clicking here. Psst...newsletter readers also get special discounts, offers, sneak peeks at new photos and more! And I hate spam as much as you do, and will never send you anything other than Ld Nature Photography related items.