No matter what part of the globe you’re from, you’re probably going to be taking a vacation soon. Can you remember how happy you were with how your last vacation pictures turned out?

The irony is that it usually takes just as much time to shoot outstanding vacation pictures that it does mediocre ones.

So, what’s the secret to capturing better vacation shots?

It’s pretty simple, really. Here’s how to take phenomenal vacation photographs in ten easy steps: Take a few seconds before immediately snapping off 5 pictures and ask yourself these questions:

  1. Am I about to be attacked by a wild animal? (It may not be photo-related, but if the camera is also eaten, then…)
  2. Could this photograph improve if a circular polarizing filter was used?
  3. Do I have the right image in my viewfinder? Think of the view as though you were about to crop the final image. Is there way too much extraneous material in the image (or far too little)? Having up to 20% more in an un-cropped photograph is a good idea, but much more than that could begin to degrade the resolution after the photograph is cropped.
  4. Is there a better angle?
  5. Would this picture be much more spectacular if taken at another time of day or night (assuming of course, that you could return then)?
  6. If I re-position myself, could I include something in the foreground (or background) that would improve the photo?
  7. Would the photograph be more effective if taken using a portrait (vertical) perspective rather than a typical landscape (horizontal) perspective?
  8. Do I want to be in this photo? If so, use a tripod or ask a stranger to take the shot.
  9. Would the picture be better if I had people (or no people) in the shot?
  10. Are all my settings correct (at a minimum, consider: ISO, metering mode, fill flash, and white balance).

Realize that you probably don’t go on that many vacations per year. Therefore, doesn’t it make a lot more sense to take a few extra seconds before taking your pictures and be very satisfied of your vacation pictures? Otherwise, the same old mediocre alternatives are still available.

See our colorful, eye-catching Travel Prints & Posters Gallery.

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Filed under: Travel and Leisure