Vacations are wonderful opportunities to take photographs that often become treasured family keepsakes. However, all too often and in spite or your best efforts, you end up unhappy with your snapshots. Learning how to create beautiful photographs to be enjoyed for years to come is not that difficult. Here are 8 simple tips to improve your photography while away on a family’s next getaway.

Action Shots

Skip the poses, try action shots. The key here is to experiment and take a lot of photos. If your camera has a Continuous Mode that takes 15 frames per second or more, set it to this mode to capture the action in motion. Ordinary moments of play can turn into beautiful keepsakes.

Good Lighting

Be mindful of which direction the light is coming from. A light source coming behind the photographer or on the side of the photographer is best. A light source coming directly into a photographer’s eye could prove to be troublesome. Harsh sunlight creates dramatic shadows, which often makes a subject too dark to view. Subjects not being well lit often get deleted and don’t make the final cut.

Change Your Perspective

Instead of the standard eye level shot, change your position. Squat, lie on the ground or climb up to photograph from a different vantage point. You will be surprised at what you can capture with a new perspective.

coconut palm tree, st martin

Rule of Thirds

Pretend your picture is a window divided into three columns and rows. Use to compose your subject on one of the intersecting lines. It’s more interesting than a perfectly centered photo. A subject to the right or left of the center will give you more diversity in your images. Overall your photographs will be less stale, since you are not using the same repeated formula. Some cameras have a Grid Display mode, which displays a grid to help compose a subject using the Rule of Thirds.

Get Close

If your photos have a lot of empty space causing you to squint to see the subject, you may have to get closer. Move closer and use your zoom feature to fill the frame with your subject. Moving in close will eliminate anything distracting in the background and bring your subject into a better view.

boat anchored off pinel island, st martin

Use Your Flash

There are times when you will need to use flash to fill in bright light and reduce blur. On the sunniest of days, faces may be in the shadow, which leads to soft focus, so use flash to counter the bright sun and properly light your subject’s face.

Capture a Beautiful Sunset

Wait until the sun disappears from the sky. Your camera will focus on the colors, instead of the fiery-ball effect from the setting sun. Many digital cameras can’t properly handle the extreme bright and dark contrast of the sun. The sky looks most vibrant in the minutes after the sun has slipped below the horizon.

oak island, north carolina

Backup Equipment

Always pack extra batteries as backup. You could find yourself a place where they don’t sell batteries for your type of camera. Extra memory is also essential for plenty of photo storage. If you are going out of the country, pack an international power adapter to power up your gear. Your camera is nothing more than an expensive paperweight without power or memory. Happy travels! May you return with beautiful photographs to help keep your family’s treasured memories alive for years to come.

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