If you awoke in the night to find your house burning down, what would you save first? If you’re like me, it’s an easy question: the photo albums. Your photos are a record of everywhere you’ve been, everything you’ve done, and all of the best adventures of your life. Nowhere do we take more pictures than when we’re on vacation, and those travel photos can become a treasured account of all of the wonderful places you were lucky enough to see — and the best way to experience those great memories again and again. With the introduction of cell phones, we’re taking more and more photos, but often there is less and less thought behind each one. If you want to make sure that every vacation photo is a beautiful reminder of your incredible travels, use some of these tips next time you pack your bags.

Intentional Digital
With digital camera, it can be tempting to snap hundreds of shots each day, knowing that you can always go back and find the best of them later. The trouble is, when you’re having a great time on vacation you won’t want to slow down and spend the time swiping through a screen. Make a deal with yourself to be more intentional with your shots, framing each carefully and committing to the picture instead of aiming and shooting continuously. Chances are, you’ll end up with better photos and you’ll be far more likely to go back and actually enjoy them later.

If you do go a little shutter-crazy, though, carve you thirty minutes every night where you wind down and reflect by curating your shots from the day so that when you go home and make the album, you aren’t overwhelmed by three weeks worth of blurry and unfocused pictures to sift through.

Focus on the Faces
The wild landscapes and exotic sights can be so exciting that sometimes it’s easy to forget the most important thing in your view: the people who came with you, and those you met along the way. Capture the sights, but don’t forget to grab some shots of the faces of the people you love as they experience it too. When you look back, those action shots and live personal moments are the ones that will transport you through the years to this moment.

With that said, be careful to avoid the cliches. Every good vacation includes a shot or two of the travelers posed in front of the classic monuments, but that shouldn’t be all you have. Look for those perfect candid moments when you and your companions are actually experiencing the place you came to visit, or create clever poses and set-ups that let you have a little fun with it. These are the photos that will be uniquely yours because they can’t be found in everyone else’s album as well.

Put The Camera Down
Most importantly of all, make sure that you are experiencing all of the wonderful sights first and foremost, and recording them in photographs second. Don’t forget to come out from behind the lens and actually experience the things you are photographing first, so that when you look back at the albums they will be a rich history of all your favorite, deeply personal memories, not just some artful landscapes.


Keep studying with this handy guide for better vacation pictures.