How to Take Killer Vacation Pics

You have it all: postcard-perfect beachside condo, window seats for the airplane and a jammin’ playlist for the journey.  Yes, there are all great components to a successful vacation, but it’s also extremely important to have a plan for photos once you arrive.  You don’t need to be a professional photographer, but with these tips, you can have some killer vacation pics to remember your trip.Version 2

Be creative, but still do your thing.

Stepping outside of the box can be a beautiful thing.  Other times, not so much.  If you try to be cute and experiment with tilting your head without the help of an experienced friend, you’re going to look like a Looney Tune.  (Trust me.  I, unfortunately, know from experience.)  If you aren’t being yourself, you’re going to look uncomfortable, and that’s not attractive.  And this especially applies to the “I’m going to try to look serious by not smiling because it’s the only way to look like a model.”  If you feel confident smiling, go for it!  Hands on hips isn’t your thing?  Don’t do it!  You do you because when you try to be someone else, it’ll look, well, off.  And vacation may not be the best time to try new poses because do you really want your tilted head and awko-taco hand-on-waist to live forever in your Italy photo album?Viva Saint Louis Angle

Be spontaneous, but it’s a good idea to plan it.

This is what we call posed candids.  After reading the tip about not letting your creativity run too wild, I’m giving you permission to think outside the box here.  Fake laughing can be overdone, but let’s be real: it’s too much fun.  I really enjoyed my photo shoot with Riley in downtown St. Louis.  We both spun around multiple times.  Was it natural?  Lol, no.  Was it 100% planned?  Oh, yeah.  But was it cute?  If I do say so myself… But it doesn’t come without some fails.  (Please enjoy the fail photo below!)Forest Park St Louis MO Spin

Here’s a better one…St Louis Missouri Forest Park

Be fancy with filters, but don’t go crazy.

Hear me out…  If the filter turns your skin lime green and your eyes bubblegum pink, it’s probably not a good filter unless you went on vacation to Mars (*cue the pity laugh).  But a classic black and white filter can add some drama and classiness to your photo.  And when a *lovely* eye infection made my eye puffy and red for my birthday party, a black and white filter, at least, reduced the contrast of the red with my fair skin.  And other iPhone filters such as Fade and Instant can even out skin tones.  But at the end of the day, you’re not Coldplay’s A Head Full of Dreams album cover, so tone the the wild colors and filters down.

Be sure you get what you want, but don’t obsess.

Don’t just take a bunch of photos to find out later that night that they were all blurry or there was a spot on your lense.  Because you may be in this location only a handful of times (if not once), make sure that your designated photographer is getting the look you’re going for in that shot.  However, you also want somewhere to stay at night and need to share the bathroom with these people, so stop right before they’re about to pull out their hair 😉Hollywood Sign Los Angeles California

Be the focus of the shot, but include your surroundings.

Your face is fabulous, but definitely be sure to capture the surroundings and background of the town you’re visiting.  Use the rule of thirds, basically meaning that you’re not centered but off to one side instead.  Those pretty flowers?  Get ‘em in there!  That metal thing called the Eiffel Tower?  You may want to include it.  I love taking my photos several steps above “tacky tourist shots” by putting my camera on portrait mode (the little person icon on my Nikon D3200) which, in essence, blurs the background and focuses on the subject aka YOU. Basically you’re like a pro, but really you just know how to use portrait mode.Goff Island Montage Resort Laguna Beach Los AngelesVersion 2

Yes, you should stick to what you’re comfortable with for your classic poses (unless you have an honest person there to tell you whether or not you look as awkward as your 7th grade brace face yearbook photo).  BUT get crazy creative with your surroundings and angles.  Happy travels!



{Did I miss a photography tip?  Share in the comments below!}

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