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5 Easy Tips for Taking Better Vacation Photos

5 Easy Tips for Taking Better Vacation Photos

We all know the feeling; you’re somewhere absolutely breath-takingly gorgeous, and all you want is to get that perfect Instagram or Instagram story, but your photos just can’t seem to do the moment justice. The good news is there are some easy ways to take your iPhone photos from “blah” to “WOW”, so you can have beautiful memories of all your favorite vacations for years to come!

Here are 5 easy ways to step up your vacay photos:

1. Lighting is Everything

You know how you can look at yourself in the mirror in certain bathrooms and resemble Shrek and in others remind yourself of a young Gisele? Yeeeeah. Lighting is everything.  It’s a fallacy that “the best lighting is in the direct sunlight” – this is only true if you’re shooting landscapes. If you’re shooting people, the absolute worst time to take photos is at high-noon when the sun is at its highest point.  The best lighting for people is always natural light, and the best times to shoot are early in the morning or at “golden hour” – the hour just before sunset. And, if it’s dark outside and you’re shooting people, always use a flash.  If you choose to use a DSLR versus an iphone, I shoot with a Sony A7II, and it is a lighting MASTER – I also love to use this lightweight tripod on my travels to keep the camera super still and capture the image flawlessly.

2. Set up the shot before you start clicking away

Make sure to pay attention to every detail in your shot before you take it. Because we’re all snapping on our iPhones constantly, it feels less important to spend time composing a photo — but the reality is the opposite! Take time to notice how your subject is composed within the frame, how level your horizon is, how the light is hitting your subject, and if there’s symmetry in your photo, etc, and make adjustments to your perspective/posing as necessary. The little details make a big difference in taking a photo from good to great.

3. Edit, edit, edit!

The secret behind all those beautiful vacation photos you see on Instagram is that it’s not all about the photo – the magic is in the edit!

A ton of you have DM’d and emailed inquiring about my editing process, so I’m excited to finally share my Lightroom presets with you! Over the last 5 years of being a travel blogger and mastering Adobe Lightroom, I’ve developed my own style of editing for my photos around the world. On my presets shop, you can find four tailor-made collections of these editing presets for Adobe Lightroom desktop (which you need an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription for), and one collection specifically made for Lightroom mobile – which is a free and easy-to-use photo editing app!
While I have always loved photography and taking photos every chance I get, Lightroom presets quite simply changed my life. Even when you think you have a perfect photo – some post-processing can take it to the next level. These presets are the exact edits I use on my photos throughout my travels!
Check out my preset collections here, and give them a shot! Whether you edit more on your phone, or are looking to really take your photography to the next level with the desktop version, these presets will help your vacation photos POP!!
PS: I’d love to see the photos you guys create with these filters! (use #jetsetpresets or tag me in them so I see them!)

4. Add more elements to your image for scale

Instead of just throwing your iPhone up for every sunset or beautiful view you see, take a second to add scale and layers to an image – this could be adding a person in the frame, or even a cocktail or wine glass. If you’re adding a person, experiment with different poses and perspectives to set the scene.

Sunday’s lookin’ up ☀️

A post shared by Christina✨Luxury Travel (@jetsetchristina) on

Eating & drinking my way through all the terrazas & plazas of this pretty city 🌵🇲🇽🍷 . One of the best things about Oaxaca is that you can explore & relax in the same day. The city is very walkable and everywhere you look, you’ll find a new favorite Mexican restaurant, outdoor market, or rooftop bar to check out! . Right outside of the city, you can go mezcal tasting, see local textile showcases, or even catch a quick hopper flight to the nearby beaches of Puerto Escondido and Huatulco. . Have you guys been to Oaxaca or somewhere else in Mexico before? . Check out the link in my bio for an awesome welcome video and Dear USA letter from Mexico, inviting you to come travel to Mexico to share firsthand the rich experiences of this country! . #DearUSA #Ad #VisitMexico #AWorldofitsOwn #FoundinMexico #MexicoLove @visitmexico

A post shared by Christina✨Luxury Travel (@jetsetchristina) on

5. Take your time!

Take your time. Don’t be afraid to wait around for just the right moment to get your perfect shot. Whether it’s waiting for cars to clear or crowds of people to pass, accept that getting the right photo takes a lot of different ‘takes’.  Using burst mode (by holding down your shutter button continually on your phone) can also help ensure you get the perfect in-action shot with nobody in the background.

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  • Jessica Tyler
    REPLY

    Hi! I loved this article and am obsessed with your presets!! The tropical collection is a dream!!! THank you so much!!

    August 31, 2018
  • Alisha Moore
    REPLY

    Great article & easy tips for taking better vacation photos. Love this tips. Simple and easy to understand. Thank you!

    September 15, 2018
  • Photoshop Editing Services
    REPLY

    Hey Christina, I would like to say that you are a brilliant photographer. I just loved your blog post. Thanks a lot for some amazing tips.

    September 17, 2018
  • Wonderful tips. So useful to me. Thanks for share.

    September 19, 2018
  • Adam
    REPLY

    Ah, these tips are amazing! I love using Lightroom and the Lightroom App – and am loving all of your jetset presets!

    October 2, 2018
  • Jane
    REPLY

    Great tips! I LOVE using your presets for my vacation photos! They make them so beautiful. Can’t thank you enough!

    October 5, 2018
  • Extraordinary article and simple tips for taking better excursion photographs. Love this tips. Straightforward and straightforward. Much obliged to you!

    November 5, 2018
  • Gomez Mariya
    REPLY

    OK. I love these tricks for photos! I bought your presets for a Europe tour in next summer. Can’t wait!

    December 10, 2018
  • Haley
    REPLY

    You take the most beautiful pictures! and I love your presets!

    January 31, 2019
  • You edit your photos beautifully.

    March 13, 2019
  • Solaiman Sumon
    REPLY

    These are great tips! Like and appreciate your blog, thanks .

    July 2, 2019
  • Adriana Escabi-Santiago
    REPLY

    Hi! those are great tips. But what are some tips for taking the best vacation pictures when traveling solo?

    July 11, 2019

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