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Tips for taking stunning vacation photos

Tips for Taking Stunning Vacation Photos

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Taking great pictures on your travels doesn’t require fancy equipment or professional status in the photography world. With a little focus (pun intended) and a few tips, you too will be gracing the world with your photography skills. Check out these tips for taking stunning vacation pictures.


You’ve booked your flight, chosen the perfect hotel and researched your city, now it’s time to choose the right camera. Do your research, find the right camera for your needs. I use a DSLR, but they can get expensive and there are plenty of cameras on the market that are more user-friendly. The key to choosing your camera is how much of a desire you have to learn about photography. Choose a camera that allows you to adjust ISO, aperture and shutter speed. These three functions are key to achieving a great photo.

Tips for taking stunning vacation pictures

Rustic beauty in Breckenridge.


Beyond your equipment, lighting is quite possibly the most important part of photography. An over or underexposed shot can completely ruin your photo. Before you leave on your trip, practice using your camera in all lighting situations by playing around with the ISO, aperture and shutter speed. Those three functions work together to create a properly exposed photo. If at all possible, stay away from that wicked flash. It washes out skin tones, creates an awful red eye look and overall overexposes your photo.

Tips for taking Stunning Vacation Pictures.

Catamaran in Maui.

The ISO dictates the sensitivity of the image sensor so the lower the ISO, the less sensitive it is to light and vice versa. When shooting in darker spaces, you will be required to increase your ISO. The camera will be more sensitive to light; however, your photos will have a grainy look. It’s a trade off if you want to take photos in darker situations

Shutter speed is defined by how long your lens stays open. Aperture is defined by how wide the lens is. Both of these functions determine how much light is let in and for how long. The longer the shutter speed and the wider the aperture equals more light coming into your lens.


The beauty of perspective is that you are in complete control of the creativity of your shot. Try different angles, zoom in and zoom out, shoot from up high or down below. The ideas and creativity are endless. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Photography as an art is subjective and you are the artist. Have fun with it!

Creating the Moment

As a photographer, I prefer capturing candid moments. Some of my favorite shots on our vacations are the ones when nobody knows I’m taking the picture. There is a time to take that posed shot, but if you really want to capture the essence of your trip, I highly suggest being as stealth as you possibly can. When you capture your family being candid, you get genuine shots that portray the feeling and emotion at that very moment in time. You will find that the smiles are natural and the emotions are real.

Tips for taking stunning vacation photos

With a little bit of practice, some research and creativity, you will be taking drool-worthy photos of your family vacations. One last bit of advice, PRINT, PRINT, PRINT! Don’t leave those photos on your camera or computer. Hang them proudly on your walls and show off your new skills to everyone who visits.

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Michelle and her family reside in a small town outside of St. Paul. They love the quiet their little city affords them, but enjoy being just minutes…

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