How to take great holiday photos
Every month there’s a chance for a Macs Adventure traveller to be the winner of the #MacsMoment competition. To be in with a chance of winning a new item of outdoors gear – and being named #MacsMoment photographer of the month – you'll need to submit a fantastic holiday photo taken while on a Macs Adventure tour. The ethos behind the contest is not simply to show off your photography technique and win stuff, it's more about capturing the moments which form the experiences, and inspiring others. Most people love taking pictures of their holidays – and when it’s a walking or cycling holiday there are always plenty of fantastic views, attractions, gems and people to photograph. But a photo is a way of remembering a fantastic trip for many years, and in particular remembering those moments and encounters which made it special.
Capturing that open air feeling on the West Highland Way
What’s the best camera?
There are many cameras to choose, including very hi-spec – and pricey – SLRs, bridge cameras, compacts and the camera that is included on your smartphone. It will depend on price and what you plan to use your photos for. If you simply want to take photos for your own use and store them digitally many cheaper cameras and phones will be fine. If you want to take photos for creating large and high quality pictures you’ll need to spend a bit more. It’s worth asking a local independent camera retailer or larger high street store for their advice according to your budget. Also look at on-line camera reviews. Remember that if you are walking or cycling you may prefer a camera of phone that is smaller and lightweight because it’s easier to carry with you.
14 tips for the best holiday photos
Crouching down can help get an interesting angle!
1. Different viewpoint: You can take a photo standing directly in front of a landmark or landscape and at your height. But for a different perspective why not try crouching and taking the photo from lower down or climbing up on to something and taking the photo from above.
An off-centre photo on the Pembrokeshire coast.
2. Off centre: Instead of placing your main subject in the middle of the scene, move your camera until the subject is off to the side. You might find that the resulting photo is a lot more interesting with more of the background on show.
#MacsMoment photo by @rosshofmeyr: Rain or Shine, West Highland Way
3. Go closer: Moving in on your subject will often create a better photo. You might want the landmark to be huge and impressive, rather than something vague in the middle of a big backdrop.
The tiles on a building in Lisbon.
4. A small part: Why not home in on a small and interesting part of a landmark, building or object? For example the clock on a church or a beautiful door way?
5. Frame it: A window frame, door way or the walls of a narrow street or alleyway can create an interesting frame within a frame for your photo. Play about with the light and the view to see what works best.
6. Light work: It’s not easy taking photographs in bright sunshine so you could aim to get out and take photos in the early morning or late afternoon when the sun is lower in the sky. You’ll end up with warmer and softer landscape photos if you do this. If you are taking photos in the middle of the day make sure you are aware of where your shadow is. You can easily end up with an unwanted shadow in your photo.
7. Shadow fun: If you want to take an unusual photo, or have a bit of fun, why not deliberately include your shadow? You can play around with the time of day to see how long or short your shadow becomes. And why not strike a few different poses?
8. Reflections: Another great way to add an artistic touch to your holiday photos is to focus on capturing reflections rather than the object itself. Keep an eye out for reflection in water or for interesting splashes of colour.
Clouds can be just as interesting as a blue sky
9. Don’t worry about the weather: It doesn’t need to be sunny to take photos. In fact, dull or overcast weather can create a moody or dramatic kind of photo. If there are dark skies, stormy clouds, mist, fog, rain and rainbows the view will be completely different than a straightforward sunny day. So don’t overlook a mucky weather day and do take advantage for photo taking.
10. Snap happy: These days you can easily delete any photos you don’t want so you can take plenty of them in the first place. The more you take the more you have to choose from in the end.
A people photo taken without the people knowing.
11. People friendly: If you are enjoying time with your partner, family or friends on holiday, make sure you take a few photos of them, too. One great way to take people friendly photos is to take them when they do not know you are snapping them. You can often get great expressions this way. If you are taking a group people picture take lots and lots of shots. All too often you’ll find that at least one person has their eyes shut or they are not smiling so the more picture you take the better your chances of a great photo.
We were here!
12. Selfies: You either love them or you hate them but selfies can be great fun. Most people reserve their selfies for using on social media, such as Instagram and Facebook.
13. Spare kit: Don’t be left without a means of taking a photo just when your phone or camera runs out of charge or memory space. Remember to take a phone charger and spare batteries. Also think about a waterproof case or cover for your camera or phone.
14. Back it up: With photos being stored digitally it’s important to keep a back up on an external hard drive or cloud. You can also post photos to social media sites. Why not use the best photos in a photo album, too, so you can have it handy to take a look through in years to come. Browse these great photogenic adventure destinations to be inspired!
This post was originally published in 2016 and has been edited to include some updated advice.