Today, vacations aren’t only about experiencing things in the moment. They’re about taking those experiences and documenting them.
You can relive those unforgettable moments and revisit favorite places from all around the world. It’s about telling stories and capturing destinations in photographs to share with the world.
Thanks to social media, it’s become more and more important for travelers to share their experiences with friends and followers. But, just because you go to a gorgeous place, doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to get a great photo.
Here are some tips to take gorgeous vacation photos that properly display your trip to everyone else, while also inspiring a bit of jealousy:
Look at the Simple Things
A lot of times, travelers can get too enamored by popular tourist sites. While it’s enticing to get a pic of Machu Picchu or the Eiffel Tower, you can’t ignore the rest of the city.
To accurately capture a place and the culture, it’s important to look beyond the shining lights and find beauty in the every day. Take a look around the streets you’re walking down and capture the way they wind. Get a close-up of the flowers that hang over balconies or snap a photo of locals enjoying a meal.
It’s those little things that can really invite people into a place that you’ve visited.
Don’t Forget The People
Now, if you do choose to take a picture of those locals eating a meal, try not to be awkward. Photographing a stranger doesn’t have to be creepy.
Locals are at the heart of any location. Capturing the culture and the feelings of an individual can help others get a more personal feel of the location. It may feel a bit weird at first, but capturing people in genuine moments can make for some of the most captivating photographs.
Just remember, if you want to take a close-up photo of a stranger, it’s always good to start a conversation with them first. Ask for their permission and make it clear that you are trying to get an authentic sense of the city.
Play With Color
Many places throughout the world have beautiful color palettes that help bring their culture to life or can make everyday items pop.
If you’re having a cup of coffee, instead of photographing it on a table, find a bright-colored wall in the area to be the background. Take photos of colorful buildings, doors, windows, cars, etc.
The local graffiti is perfect for those colorful shots. Places like Colombia, Germany, Argentina and Brazil are renowned for eye-popping graffiti.
Use Lines to Focus on a Subject
While a giant monument will stand out on its own, sometimes you need to guide toward the subject of a photo.
The lines of a frame can create an added layer of interest for your subject. Nearby trees, buildings and doorways can make the subject stand out, whether it’s a group photo of the family or a famous landmark.
Other natural lines can almost act like an arrow to the object.
Incorporate the horizon, a street or trail leading up to your subject. This helps frame the subject in a unique way and can help focus your audience’s attention.
Wake Up Early
Some of the best photos happen at dawn and sunrise, especially in highly populated areas. The earlier you wake up, the more chances of you getting that photo you want without all the extra tourists standing in the way.
That time right after sunrise, also known as the golden hour, is ideal for any photo. The subject is bathed in natural light without having to deal with too much glare from the sun.
The sunrise seems to photograph best over wondrous landscapes. Whether it’s Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania or the rice terraces of Sapa in Vietnam, the sunrise looks best cascading over vast sites.
Most of the time when traveling, you have pre-planned destinations to see and places you want to capture. While those photos can be great, some of the best travel photos can come from places you least expect.
Be okay with forgoing your plans and trying something unexpected. Walk down a street off of the main drag or choose a spot in the city solely because it looks interesting.
This doesn’t mean you should forget about safety. Always have some way of getting back to your house or hotel and don’t enter a dangerous area just to put something cool on Instagram.
Written for Passport Health by Kaitlyn Luckow. Kaitlyn is a freelance writer, photographer and English teacher in Milwaukee. She has a passion for capturing and writing other people’s stories. You can find her at sayhellostory.com.