It’s that time of year, the bags are packed and you are about to head off on your holidays.  Your excited to head off an explore a new location, but you have one nagging thought at the back of your head.

How to take good photos on holidays?

Whether you are a beginner, competent amateur or professional photographer, we all have the same desire to be able to capture that memorable photo.  However the key to taking a good photo isn’t having the latest and greatest equipment, it doesn’t matter if you are latest high end DSLR or a simple point n shoot camera.

What matters is how you compose your photo’s.  Yes there are things you can do with that high end DSLR which you can’t do with a point n shoot camera, but that won’t stop you from taking a good photo.

Want to know how to take good photos on holidays? Here are 10 tips to help…

10 Tips to help you take good photos on holidays!

1) Get Up Early

For the best natural light to take photos occurs twice a day, at sunrise and sunset.  The big advantage of getting up early is that most people on holidays tend to sleep in and miss the beautiful colours which accompany the start of the day.

2) Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

You want to shoot moments, not poses.  If you ask for permission first, you will find your subject will then pose for the photo and often it will not look realistic.  Shoot first, and then ask if its okay.  Show them the photo you have taken (if you have a camera with a preview screen).  Worse case is that they say no and you delete the photo.  More often than not your subject will give you the okay.

Don’t forget the faces.  It is so easy to do, we see an interesting subject and snap away.  Forgetting about where their face is.  Yes we are trying to get photos which are not posed, but you still want to capture the subjects face so that it tells a story.  Now this doesn’t mean that they are looking at the camera, just that its an important part of the composition to keep in mind.

How to take good photos on holidays

JJ, Chinese Gardens, Sydney, Australia

3) Get down to eye level with the kids

Children and animals, all too often you see photos taken from the photographers natural stance, looking down on them.  Take the time, crouch down, or even lie down, by getting down to the level of your subject, child or animal, you will get a much better photograph.  By having the camera at their eye level, you will capture so much more of their facial expressions.

4) Look for Reflections

It is so easy to get focused on our subject, that we miss interesting and different ways to capture them.  Keep an eye out for possible reflections, be it water, a window or even a mirror.  By focusing on the reflection and not directly at the subject you can create some amazing looking, but different photos.

5) Compose Creatively and Move in Close

Look for different ways you can compose your photo.  Shoot with the subject off centre, but have it so that the background detail draws your eye back to your subject.  Turn the camera on a 45 degree angle, so that the horizon is not horizontal.  Try different compositions, this is the beauty of digital cameras, you can take the snap, look at it, if it worked keep it, otherwise delete it.

Another great composition tip is to move in close, instead of trying to capture the whole scene, get in close (either physically or with a zoom) and just focus on a small part of the bigger subject.  This is particularly true for buildings, often the interesting detail will only be seen if you get in close.

How to take good photos on holidays

Street Food, Macau, Macau

6) Be ready to take advantage of Opportunities

When you are on holidays you need to be ready to act.  You may only have a moment to capture something amazing and if you have to dig your camera out of your bag, the moment may be gone before you have the camera up.  It may be the way your children react to a new sight, a squirrel running up a tree or seagull at the beach.  Whatever the opportunity you just need to be ready to act and take advantage of it.

7) Include People In Your Photos

The difference between a photo and a good photo is often adding some people.  Get you wife, husband or children into the shot, it will help you frame the subject and often will make it more interesting.

How to take good photos on holidays

Finger painting, Chen Clan Academy, Guangzhou, China

8) Use Flash Outdoors

Yeah, this sounds counter-intuitive.  Flashes are for indoors not outdoors.  Bear with me; the flash can be a big help when shooting outdoors.  The reason is that the flash will fill in some of the shadows and even out the contrast so it’s not so harsh. This may make the difference between a ho-hum shot and something eye-grabbing.  You will have to make sure you are close enough to the subject for the flash to have an effect.  Play around with this, you will be surprised with your results.

9) Plan Ahead: Charge Batteries and Clear Cards

I know what you are thinking, that this is a no-brainer.  However it is an easy one to overlook, when you are on holidays it is important that you get into a routine of charging the batteries each night and clearing the memory cards ready for the next day.  There is nothing worse when you are half way through a tour and your battery is running low or you a madly going through the photos on your camera and deleting shots you don’t want so that you can take more.

It often pays to have a spare battery and extra memory cards with you, particularly if you are going to be out and about all day.

How to take good photos on holidays

Tower Bridge, London, England

10) Give Everyone a Camera

This is one of my favourites.  Instead of having just one person with a camera, give everyone in the family a camera.  You will be surprised with the results.  Everyone will have a different perspective and this will result in slightly different pictures even if you are all taking a photo of the same subject.

These are just some of the things I think about when when I am out and about taking photos while on holidays.

I would love to hear how you go using these tips, let me know in the comments below how your photos turned out.  Do you have a tip you would like to share, leave them below in the comments as well.

About Brendan

Brendan established to help holidaymakers with their travel photography. The site offers expert information, tips, tools and recommendations.

Always with a camera close at hand, Brendan enjoys sharing his personal experiences and what he has found over the years to make himself a better photographer.