How to take better holiday vacation photos

Updated December 31, 9999

The holidays are all about being with those you love most. Whether you take a staycation, or travel across the country to be with extended family, it's important to document this special time of year through photos. You don't have to be a master photographer or own an expensive camera to take photos you'll treasure for a lifetime. You simply need to learn a few of these easy tricks.

Learn before shooting

Editing software can sometimes fix many photographic flaws, such as inadequate lighting and poor colors. However, it's best to prevent these problems by ensuring that your camera's settings are correct before you take your picture. While many cameras have automatic exposure controls, you often have the ability to override them when unique lighting conditions occur. Even if you only have a smartphone camera, review the settings to discover what it takes to snap great photos.

Framing magic

Suppose you're standing near the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree in New York City, hoping to snap the best picture in a local photo contest. Like many contestants, you might frame it carefully, ensure that your settings are correct and push the shutter button. You may wind up with a great picture, but so will everyone else. Master the technique of foreground framing, and you can turn regular snapshots into artistic statements.

Sunlight and shadows

Sunny scenes aren’t difficult to capture, but the sun may not help you inside a museum or when you’re strolling around the neighborhood at twilight. To get a good picture in low-lighting situations, you could increase your camera's light sensitivity. When you do that, you can introduce unwanted noise into your pictures. On the other hand, if you decrease the camera's light sensitivity, you need to increase the exposure time. Longer exposures may result in blurred pictures if the camera moves during the exposure, so do your best to keep the camera still.

Additional tips

You may have noticed that light seems to have a special sort of glow during sunrises and sunsets. Take advantage of this natural phenomenon and plan some of your vacation shots around those times. Create more authentic-looking vacation shots by snapping candid moments of your companions or other people as they view scenic locations. You can also use a technique that motion picture directors use and shoot multiple versions of a subject from different angles and perspectives. When you get home, find your best shots and compile those into an album that summarizes your amazing holiday vacation.

Photo Credits: Demand Media/studioD

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