Travel Tips

How to Take Better Vacation Photos

Vintage camera on a floral background

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It seems that the only time we think about how to take better vacation photos is when we are looking at the awful pics from your last trip.

This is a common problem, right? 

It’s the end of your Insta-worthy vacation. You upload the SD card photos onto your laptop, and thousands of photos spill across your screen. It is an array of sticky, sweaty, sun cream-shiny faces and blotchy sunburn. There are awkward poses. Photos of the ground when you ran for the taxi. And pics of…something to blurry to make out.

Sorting through them all is painful and despite the poor quality, you feel some kind of way about deleting them considering all the memories they still hold.

Sometimes, it’s down to the camera we were using…sometimes, it’s down to the number of tequila shots we took…and sometimes, as much as we hate to admit it, it’s down to our lack of photography skills.

No need to despair though, that last one can be fixed and by the end of this post. You will be the master of taking vacation photos for Instagram, your scrapbooks, and your walls. Here are the tips and tricks on how you can take better travel photos. (Disclaimer: This post will not help if the problem is too many tequila shots!)

Want Better Vacation Photos? Choose the Right Camera

Several cameras on a gray background

Before heading off on your whirlwind adventure, think about what camera you are using. Make sure you have a camera that’s quick and easy to grab and use in those unexpected moments — like a good phone or digital camera that you can keep in your pocket. Always be ready for a good photo opportunity. 

A DSLR camera can ramp up the quality and flexibility of your photography. The only thing is, these cameras are a little delicate and rather heavy so you won’t want to carry them around every day.

This is the one I have, and I love the quality of photos. However, I usually plan which days of the vacation I will be lugging it along because it is definitely bigger and heavier than an iPhone in the pocket. But when you want to capture some truly majestic scenery, a real camera will offer a better shot.

Go-pros are great if you are going on an adventure holiday, doing sports, or you will be in the water a lot. Go-Pros have waterproof cases and steady the frame when there is lots of movement. 

Be Prepared to Snap that Instagram-Worthy Pic

Is there anything more painful than having that perfect sunset, incredible market atmosphere, or great vibes with friends — and a dead camera? 

Before you head anywhere, make sure your camera and spare battery are fully charged. Check that your SD card is working, formatted, and has plenty of space. Be sure the camera itself is fully functioning too and give the lens a good wipe with a fiber cloth now and then.


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A night in the Agafay desert is a night well spent. Just don’t let your fire go out because it gets chilly 🥶

A post shared by Dara (@likesarabutwithad) on


We have all seen the duck pout, the peace signs, the shaka hands, the awkward hands. Too. Many. Times.

So, what are some good vacation photo poses, I hear you ask? The best is always the most natural. Take snaps when your friends are just soaking in the view, messing around in the sea, or just having a good laugh. You don’t need to stage having a good time for the camera when you truly are having a good time. Catch it when it’s genuine.

But what about me?

It’s disappointing filtering through all of your vacation photos and finding that you have none of yourself because you are always the one holding the camera.

Whether you are the photographer of your friend group, or you are traveling alone, it’s good to know how to take travel photos of yourself too. If you are traveling in a group, that’s awesome. Simply pass the camera around now and then — let someone else mess around with it. You can get them to take photos of you and also gain a reem of photos from another friends’ perspective. It is interesting to see what stands out to them about the trip. 


On top of that, we know that self-timers rock. Use a tripod or simply balance your camera on something sturdy and flick on the timer for as long as you need to hop in the frame. Grab some group photos where everybody is included or just a photo of yourself.

Lastly, you can get good photos of yourself by asking other people to take the picture if you are traveling alone. Be careful not to ask just anyone though — make sure you trust the person, in case they run off with your camera! Security guards, policemen, lifeguards, and those who are working with the public are always good people to ask. What’s more, they are probably used to being asked such questions. You can also ask friends you make along the way or fellow tourists. Just be careful!

Selfie it Out

Selfie photo in front of a fountain in NYC

Who doesn’t love a good selfie? Selfies mean that you can see how you look, even while taking the photo. Now you know that there is nothing in your teeth, your mascara hasn’t smudged and the hair is in order. 

So, are there any secrets on how to take good vacation selfies? 

Of course! Firstly, shoot in really good lighting. Keep your face to the sun (but don’t let it become overexposed) and snap when it’s bright. Outdoors is generally best. If there isn’t much light, make use of the flash on your camera. 

Secondly, to keep those smiles looking natural, try looking away from the camera until the last moment, or laughing while the photo is being taken. 

Remember the Small Details for Better Vacation Photos

Lastly, take photos of the quirky things from your trip. It could be the food you ate, the whacky bartender you befriended, or the local wildlife. Signs also make for interesting photos as they can show a bit of the local language.

These are cool things that it can be nice to remember in the future, and that friends and family back at home might not have seen before. 

It’s also a good idea to research locations and spots to visit. This way, you know where to go to get the best photos. Using Instagram and checking out photos that other people have taken locally can strike up some inspiration. 

So, there you have it. A few of the tips and tricks to get you well on your way to taking better travel photos. Just remember to enjoy the experience as a whole too. Try setting up the shot, take one or two good photos, and put the camera down again. You don’t need 51 photos of Jennifer eating a kebab on the beach. Soak up the experience and enjoy your holiday!

Happy snapping. 

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