14 tips for taking better holiday photos

Just picture it … you are on holiday in a beautiful location, for example the breathtaking Cinque Terre in Italy or the ultra cultural Valencia in Spain. It’s the perfect time to take a holiday photo, which you do with great enthusiasm. Yet the result just isn’t quite what you expected and you feel unable to capture the beauty of your surroundings in the way you would like.

Does this sound familiar? It’s a shame because it is always nice to have beautiful holiday pictures, whether it’s to make your friends or family jealous, or to look back at all those beautiful moments in the future.

Do not despair… taking great holiday pictures is actually easier than you might think. All you need is a number of useful tips and tricks. Are you ready to take the perfect holiday snaps? Read these 14 tips and learn to take better holiday photos.

1. Tell a story

The most attractive holiday photos tell the story of your journey from start to finish. Create a story with your photos by taking photos at important moments, such as travelling from A to B. Take, for example, a picture of the contents of your suitcase before you leave, or a picture of the view from the plane or your car window, and don’t forget to also take pictures of places and people that you meet along the way. You’ll build up a coherent and personal story that describes much more than individual photos of beautiful places you’ve been or random selfies of city highlights.

2. Take photos of memorable meals

If you scroll through Instagram, you’ll notice that taking photos of food is very popular, and this also applies to traditional holiday albums. Going on holiday is a perfect opportunity to discover new restaurants and local cuisines. Remember all these delicacies by photographing special meals before you tuck into them. For example, take a picture of that huge Italian ice cream that you’re about to eat in that idyllic square. One top tip: a great way to take pictures of meals on a plane, is to photograph your plate from above while sitting at a window.

3. Photograph the local people

Nothing expresses the atmosphere of a place quite like the people who actually live there. If you dare, consider photographing local retailers and interesting characters you meet on the street. If you find that a little too much to ask, ask waiters, guides, taxi drivers and hoteliers to pose for photos. They work in the catering or travel industry and are already more than used to tourists asking for photos. Remember to always ask for permission before taking photos of the locals.

4. Go to a local event or festival

Once you’ve booked your holiday and know the destination and dates, always check whether there are any special events or festivals taking place during your visit. Annual celebrations are not only great photo opportunities; they also offer you an insight into the local culture. In the southern Spanish town of Buñol, for example, the tomato festival, La Tomatina, takes place annually in August: a real food fight with 160,000 tomatoes. This tradition has been around since 1945 and will not only be an unforgettable experience, it also makes for great photos.

5. Find a unique way to photograph major sights

Famous sights such as the Eiffel Tower in Paris or the Sagrada Familia Cathedral in Barcelona have already been photographed millions of times. If you find yourself photographing a popular tourist attraction, give it a unique twist by using a creative composition, or consider taking a picture from further afield to involve other tourists in your shot. For example, go to a nearby rooftop bar, observation deck or hill and try to capture the attraction from above or further away. By taking a picture of your destination from above, you’ll get a completely different perspective of the place you visit.

6. Don’t overlook the details

Whether it is a photo of a Venetian mask in Venice or French sunflowers, focus on small details. This gives atmosphere to a place, and will remind you of your journey. In addition, a zoomed-in photo of beautiful details can also provide a great picture.

7. Hunt for interesting architecture

When exploring a new city or place, do not forget to photograph its unique architecture. These are the kinds of things which you will want to remember. Take pictures of the narrow streets in Rome or the colourful houses of Porto, for example.

8. Don’t forget to take photos indoors

Most holiday photos are taken outside, but there is still plenty to see indoors. Don’t forget to photograph beautifully decorated restaurants, chic hotel rooms, the interiors of churches or museum exhibits (if allowed). The lighting can be dimmer inside, so consider using a camera with high ISO capabilities.

9. Take your camera everywhere you go

Always try to have a decent camera within reach, even if it’s just your smartphone. This way you’ll be sure that you always have a camera at hand for those unexpected moments which produce the best photos. Consider also bringing a waterproof case or underwater camera so that you can take pictures on the beach, from a kayak or even under water.

10. Be prepared to take pictures of the local wildlife

If you are on holiday somewhere where you can see unique wildlife, make sure that you bring the right equipment to photograph them. For example, if you are on holiday in Tenerife and taking a dolphin or whale excursion, it would be a shame if you couldn’t document those beautiful animals in a photo. If you have a good lens or a powerful zoom function on your camera, you can take photos of animals that are normally hard to see. If you prefer not to spend money on an expensive lens for your camera, you can always rent equipment instead. Additionally, there are even lenses available for smartphones that can make it easier to take this kind of photo.

11. Take landscape photos (but don’t overdo it)

Unless you are an experienced landscape photographer, filling your holiday album with dozens of landscape photos is often a bad idea. You will quickly end up with a fairly impersonal album full of mediocre photos. If you really want to remember the beautiful places, you can usually find better photos online or on a postcard. Of course, there is still room for a number of landscape photos from a holiday, especially in a particularly stunning area. However, consider adding your travel companions into the picture, making the photos a lot more interesting.

12. Take photos with your travel buddies

Don’t forget to take enough pictures of your friends and family, even if it comes with a lot of sighing and grumbling. Years later, the photos that you most appreciate are the photos of people you love and made memories with – not landscapes, buildings, or lifeless objects. Your travel group will probably thank you for it later on

13. Let others take photos of you or use the self-timer (or selfie stick, if it’s really necessary)

If you’re always the one taking the holiday photos, then there is a big chance that you will return from holiday and have very few pictures of your lovely face. If you are travelling with friends or family, do not forget to let them take photos of you too. If you go on holiday alone, use the self-timer function of your camera or a selfie stick. Or start a conversation and ask someone to take a photo of you.

14. Capture candid moments

A great way to remember your trip is to take photos of your loved ones’ candid moments. Staged holiday photos are inevitable, but with a little extra effort you can capture a real smile or spontaneous expression. This makes for even more beautiful pictures.

Take even more beautiful holiday photos with your own spectacular holiday villa

Have you found the perfect destination for taking great holiday photos? Make this dream getaway complete by renting a beautiful holiday villa, so you will be able to make the most of your holiday and get stunning pictures. Book a villa in a central location of your favourite area and be even closer to the most photogenic places. Plus, after a long day out, you can come home to your own villa and get another beautiful background for your holiday snaps.

Would you like to learn more about renting a holiday home? Don’t hesitate to get in touch: we are always happy to help!