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Top tips for holiday photography

how to take holiday photos

Holiday season is upon us, and what a holiday season it’s going to be! For many of us, it will be the first proper holiday for some time due to the last two years of Covid travel restrictions. And perhaps you are also taking advantage of the long Bank Holiday weekend for a cheeky extra get away too?!

Wherever you go, and whatever you do, one of the best ways to preserve your holiday memories for the future is by taking some wonderful photos while you’re there. You will then be able to look back in months and years to come and remember the places you visited and the people you met. If your photos are really good, they will help you relive your lovely holiday over and over again.

But what is the secret to getting some really good holiday snaps? After all, you don’t want to spend all your holiday taking photos just to guarantee ending up with a few decent ones. No! You want to be out there enjoying every minute.

So in this article we share with you ten top tips on how to take holiday photos that you will be delighted with, and will help you to remember this holiday forever.



Always have a camera with you

Whether you are using your phone or a separate camera, try to make sure that you always have it with you. If not, you can almost guarantee that there will be something you really want to take a picture of but you can’t!

When you do spot that perfect shot, take some photos straight away as things usually change very quickly and the moment may be lost. 

Also make sure that your phone or camera is fully charged and has enough storage space for the photos you are hoping to take. It’s also a good idea to back up photos as you go, whether that’s to Cloud storage, a computer, or an app, just in case the worst happens and you lose your phone or camera.


Make your shots meaningful to you

There is little point trying to take photos that already exist elsewhere. For example, if you want a really good landscape shot of somewhere like the Grand Canyon or Table Mountain, there are likely to be much better photos out there that you can easily get hold of. The secret of how to take holiday photos with a difference is to take shots that are meaningful to you. 

By all means include glimpses of the place that you are in: we look more at this below. But add an extra dimension to them by including significant people, either from your holiday group or others you have met locally. This will bring them alive.

Also make sure that you get shots of special places and items that you come to love, even if they are completely unknown. Perhaps a local market, shop or bar, or a dog or cat that seems to have adopted you. Focus on all the little things that make you happy during your holiday and that you don’t want to forget once you get back home.


Include local interest

We have already suggested not spending too much time photographing well-known scenes unless there is also an element of personalisation in the photo. But it’s also a good idea to try and capture the essence of the place you are visiting with images of local interest. So look around and think what are the things that make this place special. 

You may be lucky enough to catch a local festival or parade, but if not there are likely to be regular activities and routines that really stand out in your mind. Also take note of any little local quirks such as street art, graffiti, decorated vehicles, unique styles and fashions, and also the local food and drink specialities. It’s these unique details that can transform fairly boring holiday photos into something exciting and memorable.

Get the atmosphere

One of the key things you want your holiday photos to do is to be able to immediately transport you back to the time and place of your holiday: to make you feel as if you really are there again.

Unless you really hate crowds, include them in your photos. Crowds of holidaymakers add vibrancy and colour to your holiday photos, and can convey a sense of atmosphere and excitement.

Another way to convey busyness and motion in a photo is to deliberately blur the shot. You can do this either by moving the camera or using a neutral density filter as you take the shot, or by adding effects afterwards. Any of these methods can help you achieve an artistically blurred shot that captures the atmosphere of your holiday destination.


Capture the detail

Always consider having a go at more detailed photography. This is where you focus exclusively on the subject of your photo. Move in close and fill the frame with your subject. It could just turn out to be the best shot of the holiday.

You may even want to try macro photography. These are shots of items that may be very small but are still large enough to be seen with the naked eye. Some examples of macro photography are flowers, plants, butterflies, bees or insects. If there is a particular species that really defines your destination, a bit of macro photography could be well worth doing.



Place your subject carefully

For most general holiday photos it works if you put your main subject a little off centre. You can then fill the rest of the shot with some kind of meaningful background – any of the ideas we’ve already looked at could work well.

Using this kind of combination means that you don’t waste space in your shot, but the resulting photograph is likely to be more appealing than if you just have your subject in the centre of the photo with not much else of interest in there.


Act natural

It can be difficult to know how to take holiday photos of one or more people and get everyone looking their best. The key thing is to do what you can to make sure everyone is as relaxed and chatty as they can be. It often works best if you can take photos of them while they are preoccupied doing something else rather than just standing staring at the camera. For example when out on an excursion or shopping trip, or round the table in a bar or restaurant.


Try a different angle

You can also get some really interesting holiday snaps if you take them from a different angle. Rather than take every photo head on, try photographing upwards or downwards for a different perspective. When visiting a city you may be able to find good vantage points for an aerial shot. But also try shooting upwards to capture high buildings or landscapes from down below.

Equally, there is much to be seen at ground level that often gets overlooked in a standard view photograph and could add interest to your shot. Another slant on this is to try taking shots that include reflected objects as well as or instead of just taking objects full on. This can create some very atmospheric and memorable shots.


Choose the best light

Lighting can be the key difference between a typical holiday photo and a brilliant one. If you have a favourite place on your holiday it could be worth getting up early to photograph it at sunrise, or wait till sunset to capture some glorious colours then.

Also consider using flash for outdoor shots. Even if there is plenty of light, flash can help to fill in shadows and blend in harsh contrasts. 

Conversely, try not to overuse flash when taking indoor shots. You are likely to get better results by using natural light as much as possible, as flash can sometimes make your subjects look unnatural, which is not the look you want for holiday photos.


Get in the picture!

It’s often said that photographers hide behind the camera. Whether or not this is true for you, it’s really important that you come away with some holiday photos that include you in them! There are various options as to how to take holiday photos with yourself in them, including using a tripod and timer, taking selfies, or asking someone else to take a shot for you. But make sure that you are in there somewhere, otherwise when you look back at the photos in future you will regret not having photographic memories of your time away.


We hope that this article is a helpful guide as to how to take holiday photos that you will treasure for years to come.

Check back here soon for more photography tips from Print Your Memory.


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