Tips for taking worthy vacation photos

Megan Pinckney | 7/5/2018, 1:14 p.m.
These days, you can’t go anywhere in the world and not see someone taking pictures.

These days, you can’t go anywhere in the world and not see someone taking pictures. That’s because now quality photography is available to the masses at a pretty reasonable cost. When I return from vacations, I always have hundreds of photos to reference when I’m sharing my experience with family and friends, or simply recollecting a memorable moment. Because the truth is although a personal memory is invaluable, an actual image will always be more vivid and can stand the test of time.

Long gone are those days when we had to act “too cool” to take a photo of where we are or what we are doing. Thanks to conveniences provided by tools such as the smartphone, anyone anywhere can capture a moment in time with a simple push of the button, and for that reason, it has become socially acceptable to do it. But not all photos can be treated equally. Some are simply better than others. And not all travelers are avid photographers who understand aperture and exposure settings. However, that doesn’t mean we don’t all want excellent images to show off to our loved ones. So here are some simple tricks that won’t take any actual knowledge of camera settings but will help you snap better photographs on your next vacation.


Let’s state the obvious: You can’t take a good photo without the right equipment. Choosing the right camera requires a real understanding of your needs and your ability. Sure, a large, expensive DSLR can produce really amazing images, but if you’re the type of traveler who is constantly on the move and prefers to travel lightly, that DSLR camera will be of no use to you when you leave it in the hotel room as you’re walking around a city seeing eye-catching things. Choose a camera that fits your lifestyle, even if that means simply investing in a mobile phone with a quality lens. The best camera is the one that’s near when you’re ready to take a photo!

Lighting/time of day

The time of day you choose to take photos can truly affect your image. The best time with the best lighting is known as “the magic hour,” and it takes place right after sunrise and right before sunset. The color of the sky provides the best lighting to easily capture almost any image. If you’re looking to shoot things in the middle of the day, keep shadows in mind. Try to position yourself so that the sun is always behind the camera, or so that the camera is under some kind of cover (an awning or an outdoor ceiling, for example).

Shoot what you eat

Never underestimate the story that a meal can tell. Nothing says more about a culture or a location than food. For that reason, you shouldn’t forget to snap images of what you eat while on vacation. And don’t think that only fancy restaurants are worthy of snaps, because food markets and local dives can often produce the most interesting shots.