Travel Blog

10 Top Tips For Taking Better Holiday Photographs

Capture your trip of a lifetime on film, but without the dodgy lighting. Sarah Marshall suggests some top tips for snapping great holiday photos...

Pack light

In the last few years, a number of lightweight cameras have flooded the market and models such as the Fuji X100 can deliver high quality images without the bulk. Anyone who shoots with bigger cameras should think hard about the lenses they want to carry – choose a telephoto for wildlife (at least 300mm), wide angle for buildings, and mid-range (around 35mm) for street photography.

Take spares

If you’ve spent hundreds of pounds on a holiday, you don’t want to risk losing memories forever if a camera stops working. Always travel with a back-up piece of kit – whether a compact or a second DSLR body. If you do shoot with a DSLR camera, it’s worth having two bodies to avoid having to constantly change lenses in the field.

Use the horizon

Wonky photographs always make the observer feel uncomfortable, so try to keep a straight line running through your image. Most cameras have a grid in the viewfinder to help you keep on the straight and narrow. If you still can’t get things to line up, try switching position to adjust the perspective.

Watch your background

This is one of the most important considerations and can make or break a picture. How many images have you seen ruined by branches growing out of heads? When shooting action, look for a clean background to avoid any distraction. If that’s not possible, play with the aperture (down to F2.8 if possible) to narrow the focus and blur everything around your subject.

Look for the light

Flatter your subject by placing them in good light. Although shooting into the sun is generally best avoided, it can create interesting effects when using a small aperture – such as F16 or F22.

Lighten up

When shooting portraits in bright sunlight – such as on the beach – faces can often be obscured by shadows. Avoid this problem by using a fill-in flash or the beach function on a compact camera.

Get it white

Off on a ski holiday or a trip to the Polar Regions? When shooting in snow – or at any predominantly white areas – remember to overexpose by a few stops or use the snow function on a compact camera. Cameras easily confuse the colour white and can turn it into a grey sludge.

Earn your image

Photographing people can feel uncomfortable – and if you turn up at a place a start firing shots it’s likely you’ll be met with a frosty response. Instead, spend time in a place, walk around, chat to people and then take images. Once you become part of the scenery people will feel much more relaxed and you’ll get better pictures as a result.

Don’t be put off by the weather

It doesn’t always have to be sunny to make a good picture. Some of the most dramatic shots are taken with black skies and rain clouds. The trickiest situation is a grey sky when the light is flat. In this instance, you’ll have to work much harder for subject matter to bring the picture to life.

Be aware of local laws and customs

For example, France has strict privacy laws and it’s technically illegal to photograph the iconic Eiffel Tower at night without first asking permission, as the illuminations constitute an artwork. In certain Muslim and African cultures, people also believe that taking photographs can steal their souls.

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