6 Ways to Improve Your Images and Take Better Vacation Photos


Have you ever been on a vacation only to return home disappointed with your images? Many people take pictures while on holiday but find they are unsatisfied with their results. You can improve your chances of capturing better vacation photos by learning the basics and applying a few simple techniques.

better vacation photos - trees in Namibia

1. Choose the right equipment

Firstly, you don’t need expensive equipment to achieve photos from your travels that are satisfying. If you’re looking to buy a camera, choose one that suits your needs and budget. Digital cameras now range from professional DSLRs to great compacts that can produce quality images. Even mobile phones can give you stunning results.

Generally, a camera with more megapixels will provide a better picture resolution and higher quality images when printed. Whichever camera you decide to use, choose a compact with a good quality lens and broad optical zoom or a digital SLR with a zoom or telephoto lens depending on the subjects and angle of view you want to capture.

For example, a wide zoom would help to photograph a wide sweeping landscape and a telephoto can be used to capture wildlife. Also consider the size and weight of your equipment and make sure you can carry your camera kit comfortably.

Lion's roar Ngorongoro Crater Tanzania - better vacation photos

2. Make mistakes

A common mistake people tend to make is to pick up a camera and shoot a scene without giving any thought to what they are actually photographing.

You can dramatically improve your images by learning from your mistakes and analyzing why an image may not look as good as the view that you saw when you took the image.

Appraise your work and think about how you could improve your images next time. It’s good to recognize your mistakes, such as poor camera technique and poor composition and improve on those things next time around.

Zhangjiajie China scene - better vacation photos

3. Improve your camera technique

A great photograph is rarely achieved without some initial technical knowledge and photographic skills. Learn the basics about your camera and how it works. Study your camera manual and read up on other technical areas such as depth of field.

Know the limits of your equipment and how to use it effectively to create the style of images you want to capture.

Handling your camera in advance of your trip can help familiarize yourself with the buttons and you will be more comfortable with how it works when you’re away. Time spent understanding your camera will help take your photography to the next level and make for a more enjoyable experience when on vacation.

town with mountains and a lake - Take Better Vacation Photos

4. Improve your composition

A thoughtless composition can let your image down. Too many different subjects can complicate a scene. Look for features, shapes and patterns that may work in harmony to strengthen your images. Take time to manufacture your shot, trust your instinct and aim for a composition that you like.

The image of trees and the towering sand dunes shows an example where the different subjects of the composition can work well together and strengthen an image.

Camel thorn trees Deadvlei Namibia - Take Better Vacation Photos

5. Focus on details

You can choose to photograph specific and interesting subjects to improve your holiday pictures. Focusing on details allows you to reduce the number of variables in the frame and concentrate on the different shapes and forms that can be found within your subject.

By shooting only a portion of a famous building or scene of nature, you can isolate an image to concentrate on the aspects that appeal to you. Try zooming in or moving closer to your subject to narrow your point of interest and make it stand out.

scenice view of a town with church steeple - Take Better Vacation Photos

6. Consider the time of day

The quality of light varies throughout the day and can have a huge impact on your final image. Most holiday snappers go on vacation for a break, rest in the mornings and go out and shoot during the middle of the day. However, bright sunlight at noon provides harsh shadows and flat lighting.

Try and shoot outside this time for better vacation photos and more dramatic light. Instead of sleeping in, set the alarm clock and get out early at least once when on vacation, or stay out late to capture the beautiful tones from the sun.

The light at this time of day can make a pleasing difference to your images. Be aware of the effects light can create and use it to capture better images. For example, look for shadows and highlights that may improve your images by providing contrasting shapes.

The Grand Canyon USA - better vacation photos


Taking photographs during a vacation is a wonderful way to improve your photography. By applying the tips above you can achieve better images while capturing lasting memories of the places you have visited that can give you immense pleasure for years to come.

Do you have any other vacation photography tips and photos? Please share them in the comments area below.

Read more from our Tips & Tutorials category

Jeremy Flint is a UK based award winning travel and landscape photographer, known for documenting images of beautiful destinations, cultures and communities from around the world. He recently won the Association of Photographers Discovery Award 2017 and the Grand Prize in the 2016 National Geographic Traveller and F11 Your Vision competitions. His pictures are represented by 4Corners images and have been featured in National Geographic Traveller, Outdoor Photography, Digital SLR Photography and national newspapers.

  • Makes me feel i really need a holiday from photography so I can try out some new photography…


  • Clover Granger

    Great tips. thank you so much!

  • sheila wood

    As with all DPS’s articles this is full of really helpful (and easy to understand) tips – I have visited some amazing places in the last few years but am always slightly disappointed with my pics – I am off to India at the end of the year and am determined (with the help of DPS) that this time I get it right!!! – fingers crossed!!!!

  • Jeremy Peter Flint

    Thanks for your comment Chris, sounds like a holiday would be the perfect way to try out the vacation photo tips…

  • Jeremy Peter Flint

    You very welcome Clover, glad you enjoyed the article!

  • Jeremy Peter Flint

    Hi Sheila, thanks for your comment. I am glad you found my article helpful. Hope your India trip goes well and that you are able to apply some of the tips to take better better pictures!

  • Clover Granger

    yeah, I like your shots. I don’t know that when can I take beautiful photos like that?

  • JenW

    Heading to Germany on the fall…plan to use these tips! Thanks!

  • Jeremy Peter Flint

    Your welcome Jen, hope you put them to good use and get some great shots on your trip to Germany

  • Jeremy Peter Flint

    Thanks, hope you can improve your pictures with the tips

  • Gary Tuwe Smith

    Thanks for these tips! You mentioned that even a phone will do. I’m considering not taking my DSLR on parts of my trip because of the weight and size. How realistic is it to just depend on my phone. I am sceptical that I will be satisfied with the results.

  • Jeremy Peter Flint

    Hi Gary, I would take both your phone and DSLR to capture a range of shots. If you wanted to travel light, take just one lens with your camera. Hope this helps!

  • Ubon Oscar Ekanem

    Good tutorials, thank you sir

  • Ubon Oscar Ekanem

    But which camera can you recommend to me for a professional use, not too expensive but at least functionable? at minimum cost

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