10 Top Holiday Photography Tips

Posted In: Photography Training

If you’re just about to go on holiday here are 10 top holiday photography tips which I hope you find useful.


Every day in our lives we see so many things that we could be photographing. Usually we haven’t got our camera with us, or we may take a quick snap on a phone. Holiday times are different though as we make a point of carrying a camera wherever we go. There is more time to stop and capture a photograph, and it is nice to capture some good memories of your trip.

I often get people coming on my photography courses who are just about to go on a holiday, I work with them on their camera controls and settings as well as composing and capturing amazing photographs. Here though are some general thoughts on taking better holiday photographs.

1. Look for Beautiful Light

Don’t just look for interesting subjects to photograph but scenes that are lit with beautiful natural light. I often look for good light first and then the subject. Look how light falls onto a scene, good light will bring a subject or view to life. In Scotland we get some incredible light to work with, but away from home I love visiting Nice in the South of France where the light is stunning. See two examples below, both taken after a downpour of rain.


2. Sunrise / Sunsets

Photographers call it ‘The Magic Hour’ it’s the first and last hour of sun each day. Download an app where you can find the sunrise and sunset times and then find the best places to go and take photographs. Here are some of my favourite examples.


Sunset at English Bay in Vancouver, Canada.


Sunrise at The Isle of Arran, Scotland


Sunset at Menemsha, Martha’s Vineyard, America.


Sunset over Manhattan, taken at the top of New York’s Empire State Building.

3. Add People to Landscapes

I think that people can give some perspective to landscapes (or seascapes for these examples), they also tell stories of what people do.


Sea fishing in Sydney, Australia.


Kite surfing at Cape Town, South Africa

4. Seek Out Local Events

Wherever you are travelling to make sure you do some advance research. Find out about any local, or special events that may be happening. You’ll then find lots of subjects to photograph.


The Edinburgh Festival


A bicycle festival in Avignon, France and below ‘The Danger Run’ in Torquay, Victoria, Australia


 5. Seek Interesting Colours & Textures

I love photographing vibrant colours and textures whilst on holiday.


A peacock at Boston Zoo


A classic car rally in Leicestershire


Patterns in the sand and bright beach huts at Muizenberg, Cape Town, South Africa.


I found this old car in Avignon in France. Love the textures that are brought out on this image when it is converted to black & white.

6. Add Locality

I think that it is important to show where you are. Here’s an example of ‘Beach Rules’ a sign painted into the sea wall at Oak Bluffs, Martha’s Vineyard, highlighting its famous bandstand. Look for lots of views to capture the essence of the place, without having to replicate the generic picture postcard views.


7. Be Ready

Look for action, the moment like the example below where it all happens. I’d seen this show at Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World before so I was poised with my camera for the moment when Mickey and Minnie stand together outside Cinderella’s Castle and the fireworks go off.


Although I wasn't expecting a fox to peak its head around the corner when taking autumn photographs!

Although I wasn’t expecting a fox to peak its head around the corner when taking autumn photographs!

8. Don’t Let The Weather Spoil Things

Rain has already featured in a few of the examples on this blog. Bad weather can quite often lead to some amazing photography opportunities. So if the skies aren’t bright blue don’t worry. In Skye a gloomy day helped to bring out the textures of the mountains in the distance.



Another example from Cape Town, South Africa. With a raindrop just about to fall off of this flower.

9. Go Wide

Get up high, or find the place where you can go wide to really show where you are. This isn’t far from where I live in Loch Lomond and it’s a view that’s been often used to promote the area. It’s from the tower at Loch Lomond Shores and takes in Loch Lomond, with the Maid of the Loch in the foreground and Ben Lomond in the distance. The more that you can get into a picture like this, the more that you can fully represent the place that you’re photographing.


10. Get Up Close

Hunt around for good photographs. Crawl around like I did in this case, on the Isle of Arran, to create a photograph that I called ‘Happy Landings’.



In the city you can get some good photographs too. This was taken in Glasgow’s West End.

A Final Thought…

When you come back with your amazing holiday photographs do something with them! Don’t just leave them on a memory card. Get them printed, blown up, on a website, in a book etc. Good holiday memories deserve to be treasured!

My Photography Training Courses:

I regularly run training courses, if you would like to find out when the next ones are please fill in a contact form or call me on 01360 661029.

About Me:

I am a Family Portrait & Wedding Photographer, I also create photography and video for business offering on-line content and marketing support. I run regular introduction to photography training courses, ideal if you you want to learn how your camera works and take better photographs. I am based in Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park and work throughout Scotland including Glasgow, Stirling and Edinburgh. See more at my website – www.paulsaundersphotography.com or call me on 01360 661029.

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Further Reading:

I’ve got some tips on which camera you should buy which you may find useful. You can see more of my travel photographs at the Favourite Places section of this blog.

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