Capture Your Vacation Memories with Better Photos: 6 Tips Revealed by a Pro

Ships in port on a beautiful day

This photo of ships in port tells more of a story of the location.

The most personal and least expensive souvenirs from a great vacation are great photos. But many of us, whether we’re novice “picture-takers” or a little more experienced behind the lens of a camera, wish we could take better photos. We turned to Ginny Filer, a professional photographer and client, who offered to share some secrets so you will return from your trip with photographs you’ll look forward to viewing and sharing for a long time.

Here’s Ginny’s advice:


Lighting for vacation photos

1. Where is the light??

The key to any great photograph is LIGHT!  You can have a beautiful scene or subject, but if the lighting is poor, it will never look quite like you imagine!
The most flattering and interesting light is when the sun is at an angle- so closest to sunrise and sunset. When the sun is directly above, it’s harsh and unflattering.  Of course there may be times you need to take a photo in the middle of the day under harsh light, but find a shady spot for your subject, or position the sun so it is slightly behind your subject!


Playing with angles can create more interesting photos

2. Interesting Angles

Think about the angle of your photo!  Most photos are taking from a standing position, making them all look the same and not very interesting.
Get low!  Get high!  Look UP!  Look down.  Just do something DIFFERENT then standing with your camera in front of you!


Catch the details to tell your vacation story

3. Don’t forget the details!

Often times we focus on the sweeping landscapes or the grand sunset.  But what else is going on?  What are the little things that make up your experience?  Don’t be afraid to get close and get some interesting shots of your surroundings.   Let your photos tell the story of your vacation.


Use the Rule of Thirds

4. Rule of Thirds

The rule of thirds is a way to make your photos more interesting and pleasing to the eye!
If you visualize a grid on your photo divided into thirds, the concept is to place your subject in one of those intersecting lines.
This creates a more interesting and pleasing composition then placing everything dead center!


Look for natural frames

5. Look for natural framing

It can be a fun way to draw attention to your subject by findings things around it that give a natural framing to the subject and some context as to where you are!


Capture Your Vacation Memories with Better Photos-camera

6. It’s not about the camera

Often times people will assume your photos are good just because you have a good camera.  But like an instrument, if you are not trained to play it, it’s not going to sound good!  So don’t worry about needing to spend a ton of money on a camera.  The best camera is the one that you will actually USE because you’re comfortable with it and will carry it with you!  If that’s your phone, then embrace it!  I take a TON of photos with my iPhone and most people are surprised to learn it was not from my super expensive DSLR.  Applying the above tips will help turn any photo into a work of art!


My thanks to Ginny for sharing these great tips so we can better capture those vacation memories!


Ginny Filer is a lifestyle family and wedding photography located in the Washington DC area.  She loves to travel, run, and take photos of pretty much anything.  You can visit her work at or follow her on Instagram at @ginnyfiler

Happy traveling!

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