How to Take Better Pictures on Holiday

Heading off on holidays? Fed up with shaky blurry photos? Clare O’Regan, professional photographer, gives some excellent tips on How To Take Better Pictures on Holiday:

how to take better pictures

Unless you are a serious photographer trying to combine your family holidays with your hobby (good luck with that!) most of us own smartphones or digital cameras so you have no excuse for not snapping hundreds of pictures while away on holiday!

Tip: When at the airport before your luggages is checked, this would be a good time to take a snap shot of your luggage before it disappears into the bowels of the airplane.

#1. Check Your Pockets

Check your pockets for your camera or phone before you cannon-ball into the pool or sea!

It’s good practice to always have your camera nearby but unless it is water proof keep it safe from harm or you will never be able to prove you sunbathed next to Brittany Spears in St.Tropez.

#2. The sun is your very own studio light

No photographer would have their subject stare into a light while blocking their eyes!! Make sure when photographing your kids to position the sun behind them. This creates what is called a rim light. This works particularly well if the backs of their heads are directly in front of the sun lighting up their sun bleached hair giving a nice halo effect.

#3. Stick to the Shade

If it is a bright day and the sun is directly overhead you should shoot your subject under the shade of a tree or nearby building. Make sure to capture some of the the background, it adds context and interest to holiday snaps. This technique also works well with the flash turned on as it makes everything in the forefront of the picture really ‘POP’.

#4. Resist the Middle

When composing a portrait of your kids or spouse resist the urge to place their face in the middle of the scene.Move your camera around until the subject is off to the side. This works even better if there is something in the background to balance the main subject.

#5. Fill the Frame

If it is a holiday with a bit of culture involved be sure to step back and capture it all! Fill the frame with the point of interest. Add your family members in the pic at the bottom of the scene to remind the kids on wet windy days the places they have visited!

#6. Change between Vertical and Horizontal

Generally for taking photos of people up close the camera is held in portrait style i.e. vertical. Landscape is when the camera is horizontal. This is only a rule of thumb and can be changed when the circumstances or your creative eye demands it.

#7. Take what Catches your Eye

When on holidays in a foreign country you are bound to see different scenes from home. Don’t be shy to take a picture of shoes, shop window displays or street entertainers that have caught your eye. These make great filler photos for when you make a scrap book or a wall montage of your holidays.

#8. Give the Kids a Disposable Camera

If your kids are 5 years or older give them a disposable camera to take on holidays. It is great to see life from their perspective. Let them take a few family photos and of things that interest them – believe me, it will be completely different to what catches your eye!

#9. Asking for Photos to be Taken

If you want a family photo of all of you together and you need a stranger to take the shot, try to ask a local shop keeper, this way you can relax and smile knowing he isn’t going to run off with your expensive digital camera!

#10. Download straightaway

Try not to delete too many images unless they are duplicates. When you arrive back home download all your photos into a folder immediately or better take them to your local photo kiosk in the pharmacy and get a CD created to pop into your DVD player or PC and start enjoying your holidays all over again regardless of the rain at home!

Article written by Clare O’Regan of Core Photography. Clare specialises in family portraits and is based in Barna in Galway.

You might also enjoy 6 Unmissable Tips for Photography for Kids or Time Delay Photo Project

Do you have any tips for better holiday photos? Share them with us in the comments below.

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This website was created by Jill Holtz and Michelle Davitt, both of whom are mothers of young children. Jill and Michelle decided to create this resource themselves, and launched in 2007.