Summer is quickly approaching and we all cannot wait to get out and start re-exploring the world around us. Last year (2020) was a wash for many of us when it comes to traveling. This year will be completely different with new restrictions. Doesn’t that make it the perfect time to get some photos to remember this year 5, 10, even 20 years down the road?
With so many of us hitting the road this summer and traveling near and far. Getting some great photos is on the top of everyone’s list. We have you covered with some of the best tips for you to get the most out of your vacation photos this year and for years to come.
Now is not the time to be shy or scared. You don’t have to be around a large crowd of people to get some of the best travel photos. Being out in the middle of the woods with your family will work too. Just follow our guide to vacation photos and you will be set. You will get some amazing photos you can share for years to come.
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Scout the Locations
This is perhaps the most important thing to consider when taking vacation photos. Have an idea of where you might want to go and what you might want to take pictures of. You can use Google Maps or even search the hashtag on Instagram.
Google Maps will help show you points of interest. Then you can save them on your map so you have quick access to them when you are around that location. This is really helpful when you are visiting a new city or even visiting one you have been to before.
Searching the hashtag on Instagram can be even more helpful. Especially when you have an idea of where you want to go. Just try and search the name of the city followed by photography (#NewYorkPhotography or #PhillyPhotography). You can find interesting locations or poses to try out yourself.
Scouting the location before you can is a great idea to try out. Big movie productions do it all the time. Why shouldn’t you?
Wake up early
I know, I know, who wants to wake up early while they are on vacation? That right there is the point. Most people won’t wake up that early so you will have less people to compete with.
At some popular locations it won’t matter. But at many others you could be one of the only people there and can have your pick of compositions. Plus if you did your research beforehand, you will know some of the best locations to set up.
I know waking up early on vacation can suck but the end results make it well worth it. On my recent trip on the Skyline Drive, it was worth it to wake up super early. Of course, I wasn’t able to sleep so that is why I was up so early but I got some great photos of the night sky. If I slept in and only tried for the sunrise I would’ve missed that amazing night sky. Remember you can always sleep in another day.
Stay out late
Another good idea is to stay out late. Catch the sunset, get some light trails, or grab a shot of the Milky Way Galaxy. Getting photos at the “golden hour” (hour before sunset or hour before sunrise) gives you some amazing options.
Having a tripod is one of the best pieces of equipment any photographer can own. They are so helpful for many different reasons. They can eliminate camera shake since you will not be holding the camera by hand.
A tripod is useful and sometimes the only way you can get certain photos. They are great for sunrise/sunset photos, light trails, stars, and waterfalls. While a tripod might be more useful when shooting landscape type photos. They can even be useful when shooting landmarks. You can set the camera up on a tripod and take a couple different shots and have everything line-up. Then you can edit the photo and remove most of the people out of your photos and have one that looks like the place is empty.
Pack your Patience
One of the most important things to remember when taking vacation photos is to pack your patience. Chances are it will be busy. You won’t be able to just get in and out. Or the shot you want might take a little more time to set up. Patience is the key to getting some good photos.
Some photographers will wait hours for that perfect shot or perfect subject to walk by. While you are on vacation and trying to get great photos you don’t want to “waste” hours for that perfect shot. But you should wait 10 or even 15 minutes longer to see what happens.
Always have your camera
Ok, so I’ve said a few times already that this is one of the most important things to remember. Well, this is one of the most important things to have on hand. However, it doesn’t have to be your DSLR or Mirrorless camera. It can be your smartphone. Now, I don’t think a smartphone can replace a DSLR. A smartphone can still take some pretty good photos.
Always have your camera with you. You never know when something amazing will happen or the perfect shot presents itself. You have to be ready for anything. Plus you are on vacation and you want to capture those amazing moments.
Backup your photos
It amazes me the amount of people I know who wait months to back up their photos. You should be backing up your photos every night when you are on vacation. You just don’t know what might happen. Your camera/phone could get lost. Or even worse, stolen. If you didn’t back up your photos they could be lost forever.
Every night when I get back to the room I upload my photos to my laptop and to my portable hard drive. I will even put them in Google photos. This way if anything happens I should still have at least one copy somewhere. Get yourself some thumb drives so you never have to worry.
Forget camera equipment
Other than your camera, lens, bag, and tripod, you don’t really need any other pieces of photography equipment when you travel on vacation. The more equipment you have, the slower you will be. While it is nice to have some extra stuff like smoke bombs, lights, reflectors, or crystal balls. Having that extra stuff will only slow you down.
Just pack up your bag and hit the road. Leave the other stuff behind. This is especially true if you are flying. If you have your own car it is a little easier to justify the extra space that stuff takes up.
Depending on where you are traveling, you might want to take some photos of the people of that city or area. It really helps if you are friendly. Don’t just go around snapping photos of people. Ask them first.
Of course, it helps if you try to talk and be friendly with them before you ask to take their photo. Noone likes having that feeling that they are being watched or photographed. Ask first and you will probably get the ok. And if they say no you can move on and find someone else.
One of the hardest things to do is include yourself in your vacation photos. Setting up a tripod can really help getting yourself in the photo. Or you could always ask another person to take a photo of your family and you.
Of course, you can do the infamous selfie style photo. Either way you want to include yourself in the photo. I have hundreds of photos from when I was a kid with my mom, brothers, and me in them. Barely any have my dad in them. He was behind the camera. You don’t have to include yourself in all of them but you should try when possible.
I always like to say travel and photography go hand and hand. You really can’t have one without the other. By following this guide to vacation photos will help you make the most out of your next trip.
You don’t have to travel far away to follow this guide either. You can follow these tips on a day trip to the city or a local park.
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