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How many times have you spent an incredible amount of time and money just getting to a place, only to find afterwards that you only have a few blurry photos to share when you get back home?

Hiring a vacation photographer is a growing trend at the moment, however for those traveling on a tight budget, here is the next best thing! Tips and advice from Vacation Photographers at TripShooter about how to take an amazing holiday photo.

Look at the light

A scene can go from ordinary to extraordinary depending on the time of day that you’re taking a photo. Although if you’re in a tour group it may be hard to decide the times of day that you’ll be visiting certain places, if you’ve got the choice, aim for mornings or evenings when the light will be richer and the shadows less.

Not perfect weather conditions? Look at the light around you – really look at it. The shadows, the highlights. Are there certain things around you that are softening the light, making it dreamy. Is it raining? Will you get reflections and light from things that glisten? By paying attention to the light, you’ll be able to turn that snapshot into a work of art.


Go with what you find

I was doing a photo session in London recently, and we’d wanted to take a photo with the couple and Big Ben. Only problem? About ten thousand seagulls swooping around between the couple and the backdrop. Luckily the couple were not scared of birds, and so we decided to work with it. They stood right in the middle of that squawking, feathery storm. And you know what? The photos were twice as amazing. Sometimes you might have an idea in your head about what would make a great photo in a place, but when you get there things aren’t as you imagined. No worries! Go with it, and you’ll get a much more interesting – and probably also authentic – vacation photo.


Be ready for all weather

This is a bit of a continuation on the previous theme, but don’t be dismal if your day isn’t all sunshine and roses. Umbrellas and wellies make great props, as do sunglasses, hats and scarves. Remember, the aim is to remember the moment, and moments are always changing. That’s why you’ll have an amazing photo later to remember them by.


Be prepared to explore

Sometimes just getting off the beaten track a little can make all the difference. We’ve already discussed it in respect of getting great photos with the Eiffel Tower. The problem with being at tourist attractions is not just that you don’t get a unique photo, but more importantly that there will probably be tens or hundreds of people just like you, cluttering up your shot. Taking the sideways and alleys and always looking around you might result in amazing little finds. A good example of this is Montmartre in Paris, where a little exploration can treat you to breathtaking unexpected views over Paris. Or the photo below, where an ugly tunnel in one direction turned into an iconic lovers nook, looking the other way.


Play with the objects around you

While it’s nice to play it straight when you take a photo of someone in a café, a phone box or a car, looking through the glass gives you the opportunity to play with what’s reflected around and frame your shot with local colour. Mirrors are also great for reflecting scenes, and the frame itself can speak volumes about the place. My favourite? Puddles. There are usually a few of them in Europe, and their irregular contours can often invoke the beautifully creative in you.


Move around

Movement is amazing in vacation photos. It gives the subject the chance to interact with their surroundings, and can be playful and even puzzling. The biggest question I always get as a photographer is how I took the photo below (from a vacation to Shanghai). The answer is, there were no special pulleys or fancy effects. The subject just – jumped. A moment in time became frozen for much longer. Other things that can take a photo from bland to wow include running, dancing, or (yes, even) rolling. Let’s clarify that last one was definitely for kids, but they had a lot of fun!


Have you taken beautiful vacation photos you want to share? Connect with us on Facebook and we’ll show the world.

Jade Maitre is a photographer and writer who is also a co-founder of TripShooter, the premium site for professional vacation photography across Europe. She is passionate about the power of images, and loves capturing authentic moments of beauty in people’s lives.

You can follow her latest photo shoots and tips about travel and things to do in Europe on TripShooter’s blog as well as via Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Google Plus.


  1. Great article on photography, and a lot of photos are down to the person behind the camera. I always look for the best light in the morning and night, and any unusual angle which may look different.
    If on holiday take more memory cards than you think you may need, as these are now relatively cheap, as you do not want to run out of memory cards and pay expensive prices in foreign countries.
    Buy 16GB or 32GB Class 10 cards for speed, and on a 2 month Africa trip I carried 20x16GB cards for both photos and video, and at end of the trip still had some to spare.

    • Thanks Murray. Agree – a lot of the time it comes down to the person behind the camera – Mike tries to tell me all he does is hit a button but there’s definitely much more skill to it than that! Especially since I can’t seem to replicate his amazing photography no matter how hard I try!!

      Great tip – we always travel with blank memory cards – we don’t actually ever take our photos off the memory cards as an extra backup in case our computers ever go down. So we always travel with spare :)

  2. Great tips! :) Also, I can’t believe people actually hire professional vacation photographers! I would just feel like they were paparazzi.

    • One way to make you feel like you’re really important though…even if just for a day :D I remember I modelled for a college photography class and we did the shoot in an outdoor park. People would stop and stare to figure out if I was anyone famous or important – there were about 10 photographers snapping away lol!

    • Thanks Karisa! Our vacation photographers are all professionals who are really great at making you feel comfortable; we wouldn’t get amazing photos otherwise! Like Megan says, some people hire a vacation photographer to feel a little bit special; others do it for the pleasure of having photos with everyone in them to remember the holiday by. The good thing is that it entirely depends on your personality, and we always make sure the photos reflect that. So hope we can convert you one day! ;)

  3. Great tips. I am by no means a good photographer so I love reading simple tricks that anyone can do. I do love playing with the light though – I often try and talk a walk with my camera before sunset when I am travelling, at least if all my other photos from during the day are duds, I will hopefully emerge with one or two good ones after my walk.

    And vacation photographers, wow I hadn’t heard of that before!

    • Glad you could pick up a few tips :) Sunset photos are always fantastic! I’m by no means a great photographer either (I tell my husband I married him for his skill in photography!!) but I’ve always managed to get a good sunset photo! The light must be right for novice’s like me :D!

      Thanks for visiting!

  4. Great tips. I’m a terrible photographer so these should come in handy next time I venture out with the camera.

    • Practice makes perfect! I was a terrible photographer, now I like to think I’m OK – been picking up a few tips & tricks from my husband who does all of our photography.

      Best of luck :)

  5. Great tips, with them it is possible to greatly improve your photos.

    • Thanks Leandro – glad to hear that the tips will help improve your photos :)

  6. Amazing article. I always liked and preferred evening lights as they give good smoothing color and background.

    • Thanks Mansi – glad you enjoyed the post. Happy snapping!

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