Bite Size Tips – Taking Great Holiday “Snaps”


If you are new to photography, one of the first places you will go wild with your camera is on holiday. New, exotic locations, great weather and fascinating people all go into making holidays the perfect place to practice your photography. The problem is though we often come back mildly disappointed with the end results.

There are a number of reasons as to why this happens. Sometime we try too hard, some times we are a little afraid of showing off our cameras, sometimes we are just too relaxed to want to take photos. Today we are going to take a look at some tips on how to get great holiday snaps, trying to avoid more simple technical tips but concentrating on how to shoot.

Why Preparation is Key to Better Holiday Photos

One of the more common issues is not taking the right gear with you in the first place. I am not talking about cameras so much as the ancillary gear that you need. Battery chargers, electrical socket adapters, card readers and spare SD cards. Forgetting one of these can mean a long search for a shop to provide them wasting time and energy that could be spent shooting.

Last thing you need is to be hunting for batteries or memory cards. By Kārlis Dambrāns

How Much Does Your Gear Weigh?

Another common mistake is to “gear up” too much. By this, I mean taking far too much camera equipment. The temptation to shoot everything and anything in this new exotic location will be great. However, if you spend several hours a day lugging around all your camera gear, you will get tired and lose your creativity. Take a lightweight kit, perhaps a mirrorless with one lens, perhaps even a compact camera. You will find the limitations of the kit will actually make you more creative not less.

Carrying this lot is going to ruin your holiday. By Tambako The Jaguar

Get Up Early for the Golden Hour!

Yes, you are on holiday, yes you deserve a rest but by not getting up early you are often missing the best light of the day. You don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn every day, but try to get one or two days shooting in the morning golden hour. You can always catch up with your beauty sleep on the beach during the rest of the day.

The early bird catches the worm. The early photographer catches the light. By jason jenkins

Stay Relaxed

A holiday is about relaxation but for many newcomers, the enthusiasm for photography overrides their desire to chill out. Try to find a decent balance between shooting and relaxing. Don’t put pressure on yourself to get shots at every opportunity. Dare I say, don’t take your camera every time you go out. By reducing the pressure on yourself to shoot, you will find yourself being more creative and getting better shots.

Think Big AND Think Small

Wherever you go, there is bound to be an iconic shot or two available. It might be the sweeping golden beach or it might be a majestic cathedral. Of course, you should shoot those iconic locations but look at the details too. It might be the old lady crossing herself whilst passing the cathedral or it might be lizards on a palm tree at the aforementioned beach. We tend to be seduced by the amazing sights when on holiday and forget to look at the tiny details that make a place what it is.

Go Local

Getting beyond the tourist bubble will open up a whole world of new photographic possibilities to you. Do your research before going to check for great local locations and also check that they are safe to visit. Local markets, cafes and just the street life of a destination can allow you to conjure up some amazing photos. Look at the people, shot candids or if you are a more extrovert person, engage with them and shoot them directly. Good holiday photos are about capturing the details and the people of a location.

Get out of the tourist bubble and met the locals. By Meena Kadri

Tell A Story

From leaving home through airports, taxis, and hotels your holiday is a story. Try to capture that story in images. You don’t need a DSLR hanging around your neck to do this, just a smartphone with a decent camera and you will be fine. Try to capture the everyday story of your journey incorporating the friends and family that travel with you.

Edit, Edit, and Edit Some More

When you get home from your holiday, you will undoubtedly have a huge collection of images. Decide how you wish to present these to your friends. Perhaps it will be a slideshow, perhaps a gallery on your webpage. However, you do it, edit those images down to the very best and arrange them as a story. Try to aim for 20-30 images maximum that will lead the viewer on a visual journey through the location.

Be ruthless in Lightroom. By See-ming Lee

Holidays are fantastic places to shoot but they can also suck you into shooting all the time at the expense of relaxation. With some of the tips above, you will be well placed to capture some shots that go well beyond “snaps” and become travel photos instead.


About Author

Jason has more than 35 years of experience as a professional photographer, videographer and stock shooter. You can get to know him better here.

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