How To Take Amazing Vacation Photos

Photographer Sean Arbabi shares tips to help spruce up your travel photography.

Woman with camera, illus. by Michael Klein, image

Try a few simple techniques to improve your photography.

Boring holiday pictures? They’re the bane of every traveler. Photographer Sean Arbabi, author of The Complete Guide to Nature Photography and a Via contributor, shares simple tricks to help your shots win oohs and aahs instead of yawns.

  • Play around Lie on the ground and shoot up. Climb high to shoot down. Do anything—just change your perspective.
  • Avoid busy backdrops Get that beautiful blue ocean instead of the telephone pole or tour bus.
  • Wait for the right light Midday sun is harsh and colorless. Shoot at sunrise and sunset, dusk and dawn.
  • Zoom in A close-up of that old pair of snow shoes on your Canada vacation, your cappuccino cup in Italy. Look for the little things that define a location.
  • Flash to flatter In direct sunlight, use forced-flash mode to eliminate facial shadows.

Illustration by Michael Klein

This article was first published in July 2012. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.

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